Many companies think that the second a consumer comes to their website, they’re frantically searching for a mission statement in an effort to know who the company is and what they do. In reality, consumers and potential clients don’t care about your mission statement. They care about the experience they have when working with you. So if you’re planning on focusing marketing around your mission statement, you may be missing the mark.
While there may be a few clients who stumble upon your mission statement (and even fewer who actually read it), the main purpose behind your mission statement should be communicating your aims and goals to stakeholders and employees, keeping them focused on the direction your company is headed and how they can contribute.
Inc.com lists 5 tips for developing an effective mission statement. These tips are an excellent resource and can provide guidance in crafting a relevant statement for your organization. We’ve summarized below and have also added a few of our own thoughts.
- Find a key theme. The more specific and narrow you can make your theme, the more powerful your mission statement will be. An ineffective example would be “Our goal is to provide great care to our customers.” A more effective way to communicate this would be “Our mission is to provide our customers with the level of care they would receive from a close, dear family member.” “Care” is the theme, and adding specifics communicates to your caregivers what is expected of them.
- Keep it short. – For years, Pepsi’s mission statement was “To beat Coke.” Many companies require employees to memorize their mission statement. The real goal should be to write a mission statement short enough that it’s easily remembered.
- Consider the long term vs. the short term. A long-term statement will use general language that states your propose. A short-term statement will have to be updated more often to stay current but it allows you to be specific to your goals.
- Test it out. Don’t blindside your employees with a new statement. Where appropriate, involve employees in the brainstorming and drafting processes. By doing this, your employees will feel more connected to the company direction.
- Revisit it often. If you play your cards right, your company is going to grow. Your mission statement should change as your business changes in order to stay relevant and useful.
Of course, these are only guidelines. And really, that’s all you need. Nobody knows your business better than you, and only you can determine the kind of company you want to be. As you work with your team to craft your mission statement, be sure to determine your goals and direction first. In this way, your mission statement will be much more purposeful and will clearly set standards for your employees to follow.