Why do customers choose to purchase goods or services from a specific business? In some cases, it’s purely about price, or because few other options exist – but what if the business in question isn’t the cheapest option, and is competing against others? How do they get their share of the market? Well, they often focus on making connections with their customers, appealing to them emotionally, and building loyalty. They also create a positive culture in their business, so employees can radiate outward that positivity, and further attract customers.
All of this doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes work and creativity, but if you’re looking to do it, a great way to set the wheels in motion is by being very clear about the values of your business and its purpose. And while you might be thinking: “I feel pretty sure about the values and purpose I’ve brought to my business,” you might not have solidified what your business is really all about in the minds of your customers, or even in the minds of your employees. There are multiple ways you can convey your purpose to others, and build brand loyalty and profitability in the process, but a great way to start is with a mission statement.
What Is a Mission Statement?
What sounds more appealing to you: “To build giant stores that people can wander around for a while looking for cheap home goods,” or “To create a better everyday life for the many people”? We’re going to place a pretty safe bet that most people will say the latter, which is the actual mission statement of Swedish furniture and home goods store IKEA.
Or how about these: “To develop a network of coffee shops in every major market, and change the basic model of cafe culture,” or “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time”? The latter is the mission statement of Starbucks, and you can see that’s been carefully crafted to evoke a certain feeling as opposed to simply stating what their money-making venture is all about.
So, then, if we want to define a company mission statement, we’re not going to talk about a simple statement of your business’s desire to be the best in your field, make the best product, etc. A mission statement is a way of both showing how you stand out from the crowd (usually for your values), and a way of making a connection with your customers. That means it’s also usually a balance of conveying your public image and being a part of your internal communications.
That can be a tall order, especially when you consider that it’s usually boiled down into a sentence or two – but that’s actually a good thing. Creating a mission statement can actually be beneficial not just because it can inspire customers and employees, but also because the act of writing it can help you to distill in your mind the values and purpose that you bring to your business.
Why Is a Mission Statement Important?
So that makes this one little statement sound pretty weighty, and it is. The vision that you come up with for your mission statement can help you and your team make big-picture decisions, but it’s not just that. Mission statements are important because:
- Customers love a company with values – In fact, A 2020 study by global communications agency Zeno Group found that if consumers think a company has a strong purpose, they are 4 times more likely to purchase from the company, and 4.5 times more likely to recommend the company to family and friends.
- Employees want a sense of purpose – According to a recent Gallup poll, Gen Z and Millennials (who make up nearly half of the full-time workforce in the US) value belonging to a company with a strong moral compass.
A Closer Look at Purpose
Ok, so we’ve said a lot now about what mission statements need to convey, why they can be so helpful for your business, and we’ve even shown you a few examples…but how do you go about crafting yours? Before you put pen to paper, you need to consider more than just the definition of a mission statement, you need to really look at its purpose. Consider this list of the purposes of mission statements, which should help you as you brainstorm yours. Mission statements should help:
- Guide your business forward – By identifying your purpose, you can better understand your goals
- Focus your energy and attention – Once you isolate the most important part of your organization’s purpose, you can make sure everything you’re doing aligns with that, which can help you refocus if things become too scattered
- Spark new ideas – Writing your mission statement could help you see your business with new eyes
- Shape company culture
- Establish consistency
- Send a powerful message to the public
- Drive action
How to Craft Your Mission Statement
Once you’ve thought about all of the above, it’s time to get crafting! Follow these steps for getting your mission statement down on paper, and out into the world:
1. Explain what your business does
Yes, we said that your mission statement should be so much more than just a simple description of your business, but it still needs to incorporate the basics of what you do. After all, prospects need to understand what you offer in literal terms, too! Think of answering questions like:
- What product or service does your business sell?
- Why would customers buy it?
- What problem do you solve?
2. Identify your business’s core values
Now it’s time to get a little less literal and to think bigger. It’s time to brainstorm on the topic of your company’s core values; a good way to do this is to list words that you think pertain to these values. Think words like: empathetic, transparent, remarkable – anything that evokes positive emotions and reflects your values.
3. Make a connection
Next, you’ll have to make a connection between your core values and the product/service you offer. Remember Starbucks and their mission statement? It might seem tough to connect coffee and light bites to a core value, but they managed it by making a connection to community building.
4. Now mix!
At this point, you might have two separate statements about your purpose and your literal offerings, so now it’s time to condense them down into one. Do this by boiling things down to the what, who, and why of your business:
- What you offer
- Who you’re offering it to
- Why you do what you do (your core values)
5. Refine it
You’ve probably got a pretty good statement of your core values and purpose (both in the literal more figurative senses) by now, but don’t stop there. Fine-tune it, cut out the fluff, and make sure it outlines the purpose of your company offering, and demonstrates the common goals the company is working to achieve as clearly and concisely as possible. Have other people read it (especially your team members) so you can get feedback on how evocative your statement really is. Remember: your mission statement should reflect the unique voice and culture of your company.
Mission statements can be incredibly powerful tools: they can determine how you begin, how you grow, and where your future lies. Think carefully before creating yours, so you can craft one that inspires both your team and your customers – and remember that the act of doing so can help you to think more deeply about the path of your business, as well as how you want the public to see you. Follow the tips above (and check out some other company mission statements) and you’ll be able to craft a statement that reflects your unique vision and purpose – and we want to see it!