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In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey talks about the importance of writing a personal mission statement. This is advice I would like to parrot before even beginning on how to write a business mission statement. Why? Because your business is lead by you. And I believe your business should reflect your values to the world around you.
I highly recommend this book to anyone seriously considering starting their own business. The seven habits are simple, effective habits that actively change how you act in the most positive manner possible. Doing this allow you to pursue honest business. Check out the book below!
Now, for the real meat and potatoes, let's dive in and learn how to write a business mission statement!
What Exactly Is a Mission Statement?
At the end of the day, a mission statement is simply a formal declaration of a business' aims and values. The purpose of a mission statement is to have a simple way of explaining to others (customers, investors, and potential employees) the mission of your business. Why does it exist? What does it value?
The mission statement should be clear, concise, and contain actionable words. In fact, the mission statement should be so clear that a toddler could pick it up, read it, and know what your business aims to do.
Furthermore, this mission statement is not just for other people either. It's also for you! A well written mission statement creates a sense of identity for you and your employees. It is a valuable way to find fantastic employees. Why? Because a great employee shares the same values as the company they work for. How would you know if they shared the same values if the values really aren't all that clear?
A well-crafted mission statement acts as a guiding force for your business. It allows you to each day reflect on how your business is, or isn't staying true to it's values... Which in turn are your values.
How To Write a Great Mission Statement
Now that we're all on the same page about the purpose behind a mission statement and what exactly it is, let's dig into how to write a business mission statement!
When it comes down to it, there are really four steps to writing a fantastic mission statement:
- Get inspired
- Explain what your business does
- Explain core values of your business
- Polish the mission statement
To get inspired is the first step to write a business mission statement. As the creator of the business, I'm sure you know exactly what your business does and what it values. Picture that while searching for inspiration. Searching for inspiration is good not because it allows you to copy others, but it allows you to gather words that "hit the right notes" that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
Check out existing businesses that you support 100% and look for their mission statement. This will also give you an idea on how that business stays true to its values stated in the mission statement. Also, I found a great list of mission statements here.
Explain What Your Business Does
Next, come up with a concise way to explain what your business does in as few words as possible. Again, a well-crafted mission statement should be short and to the point. Think of it as something that anyone should be able to memorize.
Explain Business' Core Values
Now for the fun part. Really think about the values of your business, and come up with an eloquent way of communicating this to others. Take time doing this to. This is not something you want to rush. It's easy to look at how short mission statements are and think they can just be whipped up in a few minutes, but there is a lot of thought that goes behind the words in mission statements.
Remember, words convey meaning. The English language is beautiful in the sense that there are thousands of different ways to say the same exact thing, yet each way evokes a unique emotion. Choose your words wisely. Let your words explaining your values resonant and inspire you, and likewise inspire and resonate with others.
Lastly, invest a lot of time in polishing the mission statement. As an entrepreneur I would argue striving for absolute perfection is a costly mistake that inhibits a lot of progress. However, when it comes to your mission statement, I urge you to strive for perfection here. Read it over and over. Share it with others. Edit, read, share, repeat until perfection.
Let your business' mission statement be a guiding force for your business. When difficult choices have to be made, reflect back on your mission statement and see which choice better aligns with your business' original values.
Catch you on the flip,
P.S. If you are wanting to, or have ever wanted to start a business, but are lost on where to start, click here and check this out