Writing a mission statement is one of the best things you could do for yourself as a new entrepreneur.
You need something to aim for, like a North Star. That’s where a mission can be extremely valuable. Here’s why.
As you start and grow your business, you’ll be confronted with all kinds of traps and distractions to keep you busy and not productive. It’s completely normal to feel a little lost.
Busy is doing everything at once as it comes up. Productive is working methodically to achieve a specific outcome. That means knowing what’s important, what’s not, where to spend your time, and where to establish boundaries.
By crafting a mission statement for your business, you can more easily prioritize and guide your activities. And, seeing the world and the decisions in front of you through the lens of a clear mission statement will help you start gaining strategic clarity – the ability to define a vision for the future, seeing clearly what is and is not a part of that vision.
Here’s how to write a mission statement.
A business’ mission statement explains a company’s reason for being, explaining why it exists.
They tend to follow a pretty simple formula: “We do X, so that Y.”
- Microsoft: “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”
- Lyft: “To reconnect people through transportation and bring communities together.”
- PayPal: “To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
- It can be a statement of fact or something you’re striving to be or do. As long as it has meaning for you, either works.
- They can be inspirational, but they need some specificity in order to be useful. It’s an art, not a science.
- Notice, some of those examples above don’t say much about their core service or product, specifically. It’s about something bigger, which helps you tell a bolder story about your offerings and, in the long run, gives you wiggle room to innovate.
- Use the reflection questions below to help you brainstorm.
- What got you into this business in the first place?
- What change do you want to see in the world?
- Who is your business for?
- Why does your business exist? What’s your reason for being?
- How would you fill in the blank? My mission is to ______, so that ______.
- What adjectives would you use to complete the following sentence? I want my consumers to see, hear, or feel ______.
- How would you complete the following sentence? The problem I’m solving for my consumer is ________.
Now, write your mission statement.
Take a few minutes and write down a draft of your mission.
Don’t get hung up on the “perfect” words or phrasing. Just write something down and then feel free to change it. Better yet, write multiple versions of the same mission statement and see what emerges when they’re all on the page together. As humans, there’s something about writing that has a powerful impact on our ability to clarify our thoughts. So, I encourage you to write it down.
- On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you about the mission you’ve defined?
- What would it take to move it up +1 or +2 spots?
- What mission would be 10x bolder?
- If you were brave, what would your mission be?
By the way, crafting a mission statement and learning how to apply it as a filter for decision-making is one of the first activities I do with my clients. What we’ve done here is only the beginning. If you’re interested in learning more, contact me.
What’s your mission statement? Share in the comments.