Question: What is your #1 tip for writing a really powerful mission statement for your company?
Question by: Terry
Commit to Forward Thinking
"When writing a powerful mission statement for your company, think about statements that are applicable today and that will still be applicable to your company years from now. A powerful mission statement speaks volumes to the vision of the company. Your mission statement should be something that your company strives to do every single day, regardless of how big your company grows."
"It's great to say that you're going to be 'the best carpet company ever,' but that's not really measurable, or actionable. Instead, you can say you'll be 'the number one carpet company in sales in the Western United States.' It's clear, it's concise, and it gives you something to aim for (and reason to throw a party when you achieve it). Then, aim higher. There's power in achievability."
Mantra, Not Mission
"Let me borrow Guy Kawasaki's wisdom here: write a mantra, not mission statement. A mantra is three or four words long and its purpose is to help employees truly understand why the business exists. The ultimate test for a mantra is if your telephone operators can tell you what it is. If they can, then you’re onto something meaningful and memorable. If they can’t, then, well, it sucks."
Model Your Company's Mission Statement
"If you want your company to be similar to Apple or Zappos, look at their mission statement and see how you can incorporate what they are doing into your company. Obviously, your statement will differ from these large organizations’ statements because you offer something different -- so be sure to convey that appropriately."
Be of Service
"When writing your mission statement, ask the question "How can I be of service with my product?" Once you figure out the answer, incorporate that into your mission statement and you will have a winner. The goal in writing a compelling mission statement is to think about what you can give, not what you can get. Write the mission statement separately, then the rest of the web site copy."
Focus on Your Core Values
"Declare your reason for existence and your business purpose, then encapsulate the two by asserting the core values of your organization. Deliver on the principles and or beliefs that guide your work in the industry and help external stakeholders rally behind the "Why" instead of the "What.""
Think About the Product
"While you may have some idea for how you want to run your company, you also have to think about the impact your product will have on customers. How will it affect their lives, and how can you craft a mission statement to incorporate the product's impact on their lives? There needs to be some relation to what your mission is and what your product offers."
Start With the Audience
"Before writing a powerful mission statement, think about your intended audience. Too many mission statements are general and get lost in translation. By focusing your mission on the audience that will be most receptive to your company, it will be more effective in reaching them."
"I'm a big believer in making an emotional connection. If you get too formal with your writing, you establish more distance -- even a disconnect -- with your audience. I love that people feel the emotion that I exude in person through my writing. The response is always infinitely greater when you pour your heart into it, and people see that."
What Are You Really Doing?
"The reason most mission statements fail is because no one's entirely sure what the company really DOES. That sometimes happens, as it has in our case, because a business is small and growing. Take it as a warning sign that it's time to work on the business, not in it! Ultimately, if you don't know what you do, neither do your clients. And no amount of highfalutin wordplay is going to mask that."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.