5 Tips To Crafting A Powerful Mission Statement

By Alison Copeland | September 10, 2015

whatsyourmission

Writing a mission statement can be one of the most perplexing and daunting processes that any small business or startup has to face.  They may seem inconsequential when you’re trying to keep abreast of your competition and cash flow.  However, without one, how can you be confident about the business you’re in and the direction in which you’re heading? 

Whether you’re a creative professional, entrepreneur, change-maker, artist or small business, these five tips will help clarify your goals, determine your direction and shape your strategy when it comes to writing your mission statement.

1.  Begin With The End In Mind

In The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, self-help guru and author Steven Covey suggests that individuals begin with the end in mind, by visualizing what they want their end goal to be and working towards it.  When applied to business, this powerful habit results in a higher level of performance and provides business owners with the inspiration and motivation to succeed.  After all, if you don’t know what success looks, feels, smells and tastes like, how will you know if you ever achieve it?

2.  Get To The Root Of Who You Are And What You Do

If you can answer the following questions in a fluff-free and dynamic way, then you’ll be half-way to developing an authentic and effective mission statement.  It will be authentic if the questions are answered honestly, and it will be effective if it functions as your roadmap; navigating where you want to go, how you’re going to get there, and how you’re going to treat people as you make the journey.

  • Who are we? Why do we exist? What do we care about?
  • Where are we now? Where do we want to be tomorrow? How do we get there?
  • What’s unique about what we do?
  • What problems are we trying to solve for our customers?

3.  Keep It Short And Sweet

Can it fit on a t-shirt?  Does it tell your story simply?  Is it transparent?  Like a good conversation, a mission statement respects people’s time and attention and uses plain language (i.e. no buzzwords, jargon or ambiguous terms).  Cirque du Soleil’s mission statement is a great example of keeping it short and simple: “Our mission is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people throughout the world”.

4.  Strike The Perfect Balance

If it’s to be taken seriously, your mission statement can’t be all things to all people.  It should be focused enough to provide direction, but broad enough to encourage growth and evolution based on changes in customer demand.  With that in mind, which of the following  Walt Disney mission statements do you prefer?

“Our mission is to make people happy”.  Or “Our mission is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.  Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world”.

5.  Create A Feedback Committee

Once you’ve created your first draft, you’ll want to get others to perfect it.  Share it with other employees if you have them or crowdsource the opinions of people you respect.  Are they staring at you blankly?  Or do they get it?  If you can’t agree on a perfect statement now, then settle on an imperfect statement and come back to it later.  But you must come back, because your mission statement will be the words that you live by.

Crafting a mission statement that packs a punch is not for the faint of heart.  If you’re short of time and don’t have a professional writer on your staff, consider hiring one or getting a freelancer to write the statement for you.  If you need to brainstorm to help kick off the process then get in touch, I’d be delighted to help!

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