How to Write a Meaningful Mission Statement
Scores of business planning and strategic experts will state that a mission statement is mandatory for your company direction and fundraising. Other advisors suggest writing a mission statement becomes a meaningless few sentences collecting dust somewhere in your office. Is a personal and corporate mission statement necessary for success in today's hostile business climate?
Do You Need a Mission Statement?
The answer depends on whether or not the mission statement you compose has significant meaning to you, or is just another corporate exercise in futility. A mission statement can guide your company in good times and bad. A meaningful mission can act as a moral and corporate compass. It can help you make decisions aligning with your values and goals.
Speaker and author, Laurie Beth Jones of "The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life" states, "It is the key to finding your path in life and identifying the mission you choose to follow. Having a clearly articulated mission statement gives one a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of one's activities."
3 Keys to a Meaningful Mission Statement
- Pass the Mother Test: A mission statement must be a concise paragraph describing what your company does and for whom. Show your mission to your mother, if she does not understand it, start again.
- Self-Igniting: Your mission is for you and your business. It does not have to be an earth moving statement. It can be whatever inspires you.
- Value Alignment: Forget the money. A meaningful mission goes beyond the dollars and cents. If your small business is creative, focus your mission on creativity. Try to be what your core competency is.
Sample Mission Statements
The Elephant Sanctuary: "A Natural-Habitat Refuge Where Sick, Old and Needy Elephants Can Once Again Walk The Earth In Peace and Dignity." One powerful statement that evokes emotion and instant attachment to the cause of this organization.
Sun Microsystems: "Solve complex network computing problems for governments, enterprises, and service providers." A simple mission statement identifying who their market is and what they do.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream: A product mission stated as: "To make, distribute & sell the finest quality all natural ice cream & euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment." This mission inspired Ben and Jerry to build a cause-related company.
Joe Boxer: "JOE BOXER is dedicated to bringing new and creative ideas to the market place, both in our product offerings as well as our marketing events. We will continue to develop our unique brand positioning, to maintain and grow our solid brand recognition, and to adhere to high quality design standards. Because everyone wants to have fun everyday, JOE BOXER will continue to offer something for everyone with fun always in mind."
Each sample mission statement conveys the business founder's core beliefs and values. Anyone who knows or has met, Nicholas Graham of Joe Boxer, knows his company is about being zany and fun. What CEO would call himself the "Chief Underpants Officer?" It is all about your mission expressed through your business.
Edited by Alyssa Gregory