Sometimes it’s the smallest tasks that give a businessperson the most trouble. Ask an entrepreneur to write a page or two about his business, and chances are he’ll create an interesting, informative description. Ask him to create a short mission statement, and the difficulty begins.
Mission statements are only supposed to be a sentence or two in length, and when you have an endeavor to share with the world, it’s incredibly hard to condense it into such a limited number of characters. Here are some tips for making it easier:
- Avoid the Generic: Every company says it provides quality products/services. Every company says it provides top-notch customer service. Every business says it’s a leader in something. But what’s unique and special about your business? Make that your mission statement. Otherwise, your words won’t help your customers and employees distinguish your mission from the next company’s.
- Work Backwards: It can prove difficult to condense your mission into a couple of sentences. Instead of aiming for short right away, write a longer statement first and then whittle away at it until it’s the right length. You may even benefit from asking a trusted person or two to help you decide which non-essential words to cut.
Answer Four Questions
Your mission statement should answer the following four important questions:
Whom do you serve?Be specific. If your business serves an easily defined audience, such as parents of infants and toddlers, include that in your statement. If your audience is very broad and inclusive, use adjectives to make it more identifiable.
How large is your target audience?If you serve customers in a particular community, include that in your statement. Broader audience? Be sure to mention that you serve customers statewide, nationwide or internationally.
What does your business do? Provide insight into the scope of your services. Include a range of the products and services you offer.
What is the value?What value do your customers get from your business? How does it help them? For example, your business might help your clients enjoy a sustainable rate of return.
- Revisit and Revise: Your business will change and grow as time passes. Be sure to revisit your mission statement periodically and revise it accordingly. You want it to remain a true representation of your endeavor.
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