When starting a new business, there are many items that must be worked out, taken care of and secured. To me, one of the most important is defining your mission. Why? Simple – because the mission for your business should be the foundation you build everything upon and for making almost, if not, every decision.
The mission for a business will generally mirror those of the owner(s) because what drives them is what will drive the business. So, with that idea, the concept of defining a mission is a deeply personal endeavor. If you have already gotten your business started, or even been in business for years, the importance of creating a mission is just as high and can make just as much of an impact.
Long or short, the length (almost) doesn’t matter; just the content. As an example, energy company ConocoPhillips has a very short mission statement – Use our pioneering spirit to responsibly deliver energy to the world. This is short and straight to the point. People reading this, and even the company itself, can be reminded about what drives them. The reason I said that length “almost” doesn’t matter is because mission statements can be too long; such as H&R Block’s. The message can be lost if no one wants to read through it.
When looking to write your mission statement, there are a few points you should think about before you get started.
- Be honest and write from the heart – The last thing you want is for people to read your mission and not believe it truly represents you or your business.
- State your ideal situation – If you want to be the best, world-famous, put your customers first, grow to be the biggest company in your industry, then put that in there. This is as much about what you want to be, as it is how you want to be seen.
- Don’t limit yourself – Your mission statement should remain the same throughout the life of your business. Therefore, if you only sell baked goods, but in the future you would like to expand into coffee, then don’t just state you want to be the best baker in the world.
If you need inspiration, I found www.missionstatements.com, which has a multitude of examples for almost every type of mission statement to get the creative juices flowing. Once you have put together your mission, get some feedback from those you trust and then start using it as your guide and post in for the world to see.
Finally, because the mission can be short and covers a broad level of what you do, other items can be created to help clarify who you are and what you are about, such as a vision and values, but I will save my thoughts on those for another time.
As a small push to get started, and if you are feeling brave, please write a one line personal mission statement in the comment section below.