Whether you are an experienced mission statement writer or not, writing a mission statement can seem like a challenge. First, it’s important to understand the value of a mission statement if you wish to write an effective one. You could be forgiven for thinking that they are just a sales hook, or some platitude or excuse for an organisation’s existence. This may often be the case, but the truth is that, at their best, mission statements can have a large impact on customers and staff. When used in internal and external documents, a mission statement can influence how the organisation is perceived by the wider community.
A mission statement clarifies what a company does – and why it does it. It explains a company’s values, what purpose it seeks to serve, and how it plans to achieve its goals. A good mission statement is a guiding star for the business, in other words. It motivates management and staff toward a shared goal; it’s also an open letter to customers of what they can expect.
The Process of Writing a Mission Statement
So how do you get started when writing a mission statement? The first thing to do is to look at the business objectively. The key word here is clarity, and the clarity of your mission statement comes from boiling down everything that your company is and does, until you are left with the very essence of the business.
When creating your mission statement, get some blank paper and start doodling. Think about what your business does. Work is done not merely for money, but as a service to clients, and ultimately the community. Consider any positive feedback you may have heard from clients and staff.
Ask yourself a series of questions:
- What was the intention of starting this business?
- What do you like about the work?
- Is there any work your company has done that you are especially proud of?
- What are the company’s future goals? Why?
- How has the business helped people?
Write it all down – there are no wrong answers. If you are writing a mission statement on behalf of the owner or the executive management, perhaps type up a little questionnaire for them to fill out.
Once you have all the information, write the mission statement. Write it several times – you won’t get it right without getting it wrong a number of times first. Try to reduce the word count as much as you can, while still including everything you feel is essential. A mission statement is usually no more than about 30 words in length, so there’s no room for waffle.
When writing a mission statement, you may find that two phrases say similar things. Combine them into one phrase, or even a word. Remember to keep your language as simple as possible. Simplicity is clarity.
Below is a quick check-list of the things you will probably need to include:
- Acknowledge the stakeholders
- Have a clear declaration of purpose
- Note company values
- Describe the primary activities of the organisation.
- Mention company goals.
Once you think you are done writing a mission statement, get some fresh eyes to look at what you have written. Writers of all levels benefit from showing their work to others for clarification. They may say they don’t understand a sentence. If you get this feedback from several people, it probably suggests the writing is not plain and simple enough.
If you need assistance with writing a mission statement, we will be happy to discuss it with you.