Writing a mission statement can be really helpful for small businesses because it forces you to explain in a nutshell what the purpose of your business is and what makes it unique.
You may already know this inside your own mind but you also need to be able to express it succinctly to potential investors, your staff, customers, prospects and suppliers.
It can also be really helpful in keeping your business strategies on track.
For example, preparing marketing strategies is much easier if you have a mission statement.
Writing a mission statement answers the question of 'how' you're going to achieve the vision for your business.
It bridges the gap between the lofty ideals of your vision statement, and the detail of your action plans.
They are usually made up of three parts:
The key thing is that it doesn't need to be too long - in fact, the shorter the better.
The best way to start is to write three separate paragraphs which answer these questions and then keep editing and honing it down until it comes together as a succinct mission statement.
Let's take a dental practice as an example and start by answering these questions. We might say something like this:
1. What your business does for a living
We offer a holistic approach to dental hygiene which includes educational services, check ups, dental procedures etc
2. What your customers can rely on you for
We will always offer our customers a quality dental service with a commitment to excellence in a modern well equipped dental surgery. We will always consider the comfort and well being of our customers first. Our staff will maintain a high level of skill through continual training and commitment to lifelong learning. We aim to exceed our customers expectations.
3. What internal values you and your staff will adopt to accomplish the first two of these questions
Our team are committed to excellence, service and professional integrity.
You might actually be quite happy with this as it stands but if you want something more punchy and memorable, then it may need editing to something like this:
"A holistic and cutting edge dental service committed to providing professional excellence in dental care"
There is no particular right or wrong way when it comes to writing a mission statement, the important thing is that it works for you and you find it inspiring.
These questions might help determine whether you've got it right:
A lot of people get confused about the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement.
Your vision is an ideal picture of what you want your business to look like in the future.
Your mission is more a description of what you do and how you do it.
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if you get them confused. It's just semantics.
You are the one that will be using them so do whatever works for you. You could even merge the two together if that seems to make more sense.
If you're applying for business finance, you won't be penalized for confusing your vision and mission statements, as long as your logic is apparent.
You will be judged on whether you have a well-thought through business concept, not whether you know the difference between vision and mission statements.
So avoid getting caught up in semantics and remember that they are designed to give you focus.
Business Coaching Questions:
Return from writing a mission statement to writing a business plan