Although just a brief summary of your company’s mission, a mission statement can be surprisingly hard to nail down—in part because many business owners aren’t entirely sure of their business’s true purpose. Your business does have a unique purpose, it’s just a matter of being able to articulate it and distinguish it from your “About Us” description. This post will go over the difference between these two depictions of your business, and then provide some specific formulas to build upon as you develop your authentic, memorable mission statement.
The Purpose of About Us
No doubt, you’ve come across websites with some variation of an About Us page. While sometimes called by a different name, it almost always focuses on company facts. Who started the company, when, and why? Who makes up the current team, where are they located and what do they do? How do they do it?
These are all questions answered through About Us, which is designed to inform an audience about the company and its operations. While some of these questions are also addressed in mission statements, the main focus differs.
All About the Mission Statement
In a nutshell, a mission statement is a brief summary of the objectives and values of a company.
The description of objectives should definitely include what the company does for its target market. However, it may also extend to employees, owners, the community or even the world. These goals are tied closely to what your business is known for—your brand.
Then, there are company values. If objectives are the “what” part of your mission statement, values are the “why”. For example, Adidas strives to provide top-of-the-line sporting goods because it values continuous improvement and the passion for sports. Apple provides unique products because it values innovation and personalization. Clif Bar is committed to providing organic products because it values sustainability. The values of a good company are not simply added to their branding; they form the brand and that business is known for those values because they live them out.
This is where reputation comes into play. You may have several core values, perhaps too many to cram all into one brief statement. So as you decide which ones to highlight, think about those most closely connected to your brand and reputation. This will give you a foundation to build on, possibly using one of the following formulas.
3 Mission Statement Formulas
Now that you fully understand the intended purpose of a mission statement, it will be easier to know what elements to include. It’ll be far easier to craft a memorable statement with the help of specific formulas. Consider three.
1. Goal + Means + Date
As discussed, expressing what your company hopes to achieve is essential. Your goal is what puts the mission in your mission statement. You’ll also want to mention how you work towards this goal every day. In other words, specify the smaller objectives through which you’ll achieve what you’ve set out to do.
Lastly, set a target date. Why is this necessary? Anyone can say they hope to achieve a, b, c, and d without any real intention of doing so. You don’t want people to conclude that you’re just saying what sounds good. To avoid this misconception, set a time frame.
Careful research was likely necessary to set the date in the first place. Plus, much effort will be required to succeed. Therefore, a time frame is an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment and determination while also holding yourself accountable.
2. What You Do + For Who + With What Result
This formula is pretty straightforward and is probably the easiest to follow. If your company’s objectives have no time limit or you don’t wish to delve into pain points and such, this is a great formula for you. It’s also an excellent starting point from which you create a more powerful version.
Simply state what you offer, who your target audience is, and how what you offer helps them.
3. Business Name + Target Customer + Achieve or Reach or Improve + Positive Outcome
Starting off with your business name has a couple of benefits. One, it’s more formal and professional. Two, if your mission statement is memorable, which it should be, your business name will also be unforgettable.
Then, as with the last formula, you should identify who you serve or assist. (The more specific your statement is, the better.) Next, you have a few options. You could simply mention your goals and explain your plan for reaching them, as with the first formula.
Or you could go a different route. You might mention a challenge or pain point that’s common among your audience and explain the solution, the relief you provide. You could also expand on the primary ways your offerings improve the lives of your target audience.
The latter two ways can be especially effective since customers remember and gravitate to the businesses that care about them most. Your genuine care and concern won’t go unnoticed…if what you assert is true to life. See how it all comes full circle, right back around to reputation and branding?
Crafting an Authentic, Powerful Mission Statement
Now that you know what a mission statement is and how to create one, here’s one last word of advice. Be concise. Of course, there’s a lot to say about your business but you don’t need to say it all here. In fact, the average mission statement is no larger than an average paragraph.
To stay within that realm, you should be willing to cut out details that aren’t absolutely necessary. Make sure that every word counts so you get the remaining, essential points across clearly. If you do this and use a formula to guide you, your mission statement will serve you well!