You’re a small business owner, and you want to take your business to the next level. It’s time to learn how to create your mission statement.
A mission statement reflects your business’s goals and values with few words. You use a mission statement to show potential customers what makes your company stand out.
I’ve created many small business mission statements over my 30 years in business. I’ve written mission statement ideas, revised them, scrapped them, and conducted research. I’ve even met with an expert in creating mission statements.
To save you from spending a lot of time with trial and error, here is a list of things to keep in mind as you create your business’s mission statement.
7 rules about how to create a mission statement
Take a look at these seven tips I’ve learned that can help you develop a great mission statement.
#1: You need a simple mission statement
Use one sentence as your mission statement. Being short can be more beneficial than a full sentence that uses proper grammar. Conciseness is often more memorable and can help build brand awareness more efficiently. If it’s longer than one sentence, your mission might end up too wordy.
Try to avoid big, fancy words, especially if they do not fit with your brand. Eliminate all superfluous words. If potential customers can’t memorize your mission statement, you’ve missed the mark.
#2: Your mission statement should be original
You should try not to outsource your mission statement. Your mission statement is your message to the world and your customers. For an authentic mission that reflects your company’s values, you should write it yourself.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a mission statement, do some brainstorming. Write down your business’s purpose, goals, and values. Use the list to come up with a concise and honest mission for your business.
#3: You can’t include everything
You’re the business owner. You’re in charge. You’re the expert on your business. And, you probably have a lot to say about it.
But you can’t include every detail about your business in your mission statement. You’ll have to leave some details out. Choose words that are memorable and fit with your brand. When it comes to your mission statement, a few key words or phrases can have the most impact.
#4: Your mission statement needs to be honest
Your mission statement should clearly tell what you’re doing at your business. When a customer sees or hears your mission, they should think, “That’s what they do, alright.”
In other words, you can’t brag about being the best in the U.S. if you’re not. Your mission must be realistic.
#5: Don’t make your mission statement too broad or narrow
Many entrepreneurs like to experiment, which means they might lose their focus.
Just like the guardrail on a highway keeps cars on the road, your mission statement should keep your business on course. The next time you have a new business idea, see if it falls between the guardrails of your mission statement. That keeps your mission statement from being too broad or too narrow.
#6: The statement can’t do it all
Others might say your mission statements needs a ton of information about your small business.
You can create different statements on their own, but don’t make your mission statement do all the work. It’s alright to put in some of your passion and originality into your mission statement, but don’t forget to keep it short!
#7: It’s OK to change your mission statement
It’s OK to try a new mission statement and throw it out in a few days. It’s also OK to have a mission statement for years and then replace it.
Change your mission statement as it is necessary. The longer you are in business, the more your business will change and grow. Your mission may not be the same as when you started. Your mission statement should evolve with your company.
Mission statement example
Throughout the years, I’ve had several mission statements for Patriot Software, my accounting and payroll software company. Some of them have worked, while others didn’t quite hit the mark. Let’s take a look at the difference between two mission statements.
If you look at the seven rules above, you’ll see that Patriot’s statement fits each rule. But, it took me several tries over a 12-year period to make the mission statement that simple.
I could never remember it. None of my employees could remember it. And, it uses phrases that people don’t usually say, like “to process their critical data.”
It’s ideal to squeeze some passion, core values, or competitiveness into your mission. But as mentioned earlier, the elements have to be real to your brand. Keep the seven rules above in mind as you create your business’s mission statement.