Corporate mission statements are an integral part to a business plan. A mission statement defines a company in a concise matter while communicating the overall concept and ideals externally (to customers, suppliers, community members, competitors) and internally (to employees and shareholders).
Writing a mission statement is no easy task. While only a short paragraph is needed, the content and word choice make the statement extremely complex. The mission statement should be written in a clear, concise manner free of jargon. The statement should define where the company is now and where it plans to be in the future. Most companies are constantly evolving and should consider revising their mission statement to reflect their new achievements/goals every five to seven years.
Before beginning to write the statement, choose an area with little or no distractions for maximum concentration. Leave a time block of about two hours to complete the task. Keep handy any information on the business compiled to that point so that it is easily accessible when hitting a writing block. Do some research beforehand of the mission statements of other successful companies (easily found on most corporate websites) to define the tone and message they project.
There should be two or three other employees/members of management participating in this exercise as well. It is important to seek the opinions of others and how their view of the company. If this is an individual business, seek the help of trusted individuals with knowledge of the business to assist in drafting a mission statement.
Begin by brainstorming and answering a few questions about the business to determine what content is most important to include. Don’t focus on the actual wording as much as just writing the ideas.
Why is this business important to you? Discuss how the idea came about and what is the drive to keep it going.
What is the purpose of this business? Describe what needs the business will meet both externally and internally.
Who is the target market and why would they be interested in this product/service? Define the customer and their specific needs relating to the business.
What distinguishes this company from the competition? List the advantages of choosing this company over the others.
What are the company’s ideals? Describe what values will be projected internally and externally.
After answering these questions thoroughly, there should be enough material to begin formulating several drafts. Concentrate more on content than word choice at this point (words can always be changed later). Start with your company name and describe what it provides to whom (i.e. Melissa a Graphics provides innovative and effective graphic design services to non-profit organizations). Starting with this basic statement makes it simple to build on other important aspects such as the company’s values and what separates it from the competitors.
Include information on where the company is now and where it intends to be in the future. Try to eliminate any jargon or statements that cannot be proven (i.e. We provide the best graphic service in the world). Keep the statement as concise as possible while still communicating the important information. Some companies have a statement of one sentence, some a paragraph and some have separate statements for internal and external purposes. Choose what works best for a particular company.
Decide on one or two drafts that best reflect the company. Compare these drafts with the other statements drafted from other employees/individuals. Make changes as necessary and be sure to provide a draft back to the others for feedback before finalizing.
Once the mission statement is complete, make sure to share it internally and externally. Creating a better understanding of the business through the mission statement creates a successful (and profitable) atmosphere.Once the mission statement