How to Write a Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement is similar to finding the ingredients you need for your favorite recipe. There are a few key things that you want to keep in mind and this is going to be something you’re going to have to take your time with.
The easiest way to understand how to write a mission statement
In the same way if you were writing on your favorite recipe, you can’t leave off any key ingredients or else your recipe might come out the wrong way. If you make a cake and forget to leave the flour out, you’ll end up with a pile of mush. While it might smell good, it doesn’t have the foundation it needs to stand on. A cake has to rise with flour and yeast in order for it to be firm, grow and reach its full capacity. When you write a mission statement, it’s a similar concept. It’s important that you think about where you want to take your company and how you want it to grow. That means the first area you want to focus on its strategy.
Strategy is your plan of action and the course that you want to take to help your company and your employees get from points A to point B. If you are using that recipe, this would be the time when you look at your instructions. It’s important to understand the key ingredients you need.
Key Ingredients / Core Values of a Mission Statement
With your mission statement, it’s the same way as you knowing what you would get from the grocery store for your recipe. Because you have these key ingredients, when you plan a mission statement, you also want to ensure that you have the key ingredients for your company. These are your core values. With the company’s mission statement, as you work on your strategy you want to actually plan out the different areas that you’re going to focus on:
- Maybe you’re thinking about long-term growth
- You may also want to have high sales
- You want to think about things like making sure your employees are treated fairly
- You may also want to make sure that your company is environmentally friendly
These are just a few examples of areas that you would use as you develop a strategy. Your mission statement is based on your core areas and strategy because there are some companies where a strategy will be important.
For example, when you look at a company like Exxon or Shell Oil and you think about the different types of oil spills that have occurred over the years, this going to have a bad impact on the environment. The way that companies can help to change how people see their company is to make sure that the mission statement says something good about what they will be doing. That means that companies like Exxon and Shell may want to include in their mission statement wording that promise they will do everything they can to protect the environment.
Here’s another point: your mission statement is about a promise to deliver. Let’s look at another example.
The promise to deliver
Companies like Starbucks, which uses a lot of cups, have a promise to deliver in their mission statement.
What do cups have to do with anything? Good question. Because they use a lot of cups and lids on a daily basis, they want to ensure the public that they’re not going to be using a lot of plastic and Styrofoam which is hard to recycle. Their mission statement may include something along the lines of ensuring that they protect the environment and keep it safe. They’re making a promise that despite what you see, they know the products might look bad, but they’re already working to make them better.
Long term goals
Promises in your mission statement aren’t the only thing that’s important, it’s your goals. A company has to think about what their long-term goals will be. Facebook’s goal when they first started was just to have a million people using Facebook, but now their goal might be to have Facebook in every country. They may want to mention this in their mission statement.
A company like Amazon may want to change their mission statement to say shipping for everyone. They may want to do this now because they’re going to start using drones for delivery services.
Focus on the big picture
As you think about the future of your company, these are parts of your goals that you want to tie into your mission statement. You don’t want it to be short-term goals like buying that new printer. Those are really small goals and aren’t relevant to the big picture of your company.
For example, when you have that recipe to make the cake, it’s not important to add toppings that you like. Maybe you want sprinkles or icing. Maybe you want ice cream or whipped cream. Everyone is different, so sometimes it’s important to put out a few toppings and let people decide how they want to decorate their own slice of cake.
With your mission statement, you’re showing the core, key ingredients and letting people see how you will deliver in different areas. Just like that icing or sprinkles, they can use in different ways, but that doesn’t change the core.
Everyone starts out with the same slice of cake. You want to ensure that the public knows the goals of the company. As you write out your mission statement try to focus on a few key areas:
- long-term growth opportunities
- environmental awareness
- ethical standards
- and profitability
As we mentioned, these are just a few key areas that you can focus on, and by looking at these areas you can come up with a few different sentences about them. Next you want to try to tie them into one or two brief sentences that sum up what your company will be doing. If you’re not focused on using environmentally friendly products, then don’t mention that, for example. Focus on what you plan on doing with your business.
Always factor in what the future of your company might include. That way people will understand your ultimate goal and whether or not they want to invest in you and buy your products or use your services. With your business, your mission statement is going to reveal your core ingredients, and let people know what your company plans on doing in the future. As long as you deliver that consistent slice of cake – that’s not mush, they’ll decorate it the way they want to!
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