What is a mission statement for an entrepreneur? What does a mission statement really do?
Almost every business has one and chances are you have even crafted one for yourself. Beyond ending up as a pretty-looking couple of sentences; a mission statement can be a very useful tool. However, if you don’t watch yourself, it can end up being a waste of time.
So, how do you construct the best mission statement for your business? How can a written mission statement actually help you as an entrepreneur and decision-maker?
How to write a mission statement
According to Forbes, your mission statement should clearly and quickly answer four questions:
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- Who are you doing things for?
- What value do you bring?
In two sentences or less answer those questions. Upon delivering your mission statement, anyone should be able to recognize what it is you offer and how you operate your business.
Pitfalls to avoid
Avoid getting overly flowery with your language, keep the message clear and focused. Your mission statement should be quick and complete. If someone asks you what your company’s mission statement is, you should have it ready to go. You can impress people with big words and unique prose some other time.
If you have employees, a simple and direct mission statement is even more advantageous. As we’ll uncover later in this article, a good mission statement can be incredibly useful and act as a framework for your whole operation.
So, to summarize, keep your mission statement short, concise, memorable and focused.
A Bad Mission Statement
“To create a shopping experience that pleases our customers; a workplace that creates opportunities and a great working environment for our associates; and a business that achieves financial success.”
-Albertson’s – Grocery Store Chain
From just the mission statement, can you tell this is a grocery store? We can tell it’s retail but that’s about it. The problem that sticks out the most with this mission is its vagueness. Most retail businesses (and any other business) should have a goal of achieving financial success and pleasing customers.
A Great Mission Statement
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
-Google – Technology Company/Search Engine
Twelve words and not one wasted. Clear and concise, this is exactly what Google does in all facets of the company.
Why a write a great mission statement?
There are several reasons to sit down and work out what your mission is. You have even probably already picked up a couple of reasons why on your own. But, beyond explaining your business and your operations, there are some other reasons to get a great mission statement written worth mentioning.
Helps Decision Making
No matter what decisions you’re making on any given day, if you’re getting stuck, look to what your mission is. A clear statement of what and why you do what you do makes an excellent framework for how to operate.
Aligns the Company
With a great mission statement, it’s much easier to get everyone in the organization on the same page. This is especially helpful for new hires. A complete understanding of what you do and how you do it in a clear summary is one of the best jumping-off points any employee can have.
Your mission tells the world what you’re doing right now to sculpt out the desired future for the company. It also acts as your guide, making sure everyone has a clear picture of your company’s direction.
Living your mission statement
Even if you write out the best mission statement any company has ever used; it doesn’t do anything just hanging on the wall. You need to incorporate your mission statement into your company culture. It should be on the top of everyone’s mind, including your own.
Don’t let your company mission statement be just a meaningless jumble of jargon that doesn’t mean anything. Figure out what your company is, what you do, how you do it and why. After that, make your mission statement and follow it day-to-day.