10 Simple Steps To An Epic Mission Statement
December 21, 2017
So you know what a mission statement is.
You’ve got over the bland, corporate terminology that it is!
And you understand that it’s really bloody important to have one for your business, even though you’re just starting up.
So let’s get into the steps of how to actually do it!
By the end of this, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to start crafting your brand mission statement.
The problem of process
Business theory tells us we need to create mission statements for our brand. Great.
But not quite how to go about doing it. You know. Like the exact steps, rather than vague concepts.
Cheers for that ‘business theory’.
The process is usually a mystery and puts people off of doing it for their businesses because they don’t know where to begin.
But it’s really simple. And I’m gonna show you how.
Research (but not too much...)
A lot of people get put off of the perceived amount of research they need to do to create their statement.
Research is important. And on a whole different topic, is extremely important to the success of a business.
Knowledge is power, as they say.
But for this, keep it to a minimum. To be honest, this is more about you. Your brand. Your business. You don’t need much research for that. You just need to do a lot of soul searching.
Be completely honest with yourself about what your business is, why it exists and where it is heading.
Answer from the heart and you’ll get a mission statement a million times better than any research could get you.
So with that in mind, here’s a simple, effective step-by-step guide. Time to work those brain cogs!
1. Define your story
Your story is one of the most important foundations to your business and brand. It sets the tone for who you are and what you’re about. It’ll define why you exist – your passions, your drive to succeed.
Your story will be unique to you. By knowing yours, you’ll know where you’ve come from and where you’re going (and your customers will too!).
Write down how and why you started your business, what experience you bring to the table and what your vision is for helping people.
2. Develop your personality
Your business personality defines your brand. It may or may not be the same as your own personality. Remember – your business is a different ‘person’ to you and must appeal to your audience.
It’s there to be their best friend, their teacher, their role model. It’s the blueprint of how you present yourself to your audience – look, feel, tone of voice. How you connect with your audience.
By knowing your brand’s personality and sticking to it in everything you do, you’ll build trust and empathy from your audience.
Think about yours. If your brand was a person, how would you describe it?
3. Decide on your values
Your brand values represent what your business stands for, what it believes in. A constant code of conduct, giving you guidelines on the WAY you do business. If something goes against your values, it doesn’t belong in your brand or business.
Make a note of everything you feel passionate about in your business. What do you want it to represent? What do you want it to stand for?
4. Make your promises
Your promises are the way your audience experience your values every time they interact with your brand. They need to be specific, relatable and relevant to your audience.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO PROMISE!
Promises are another vital component in building trust. Whatever you promise your customers, make sure that everything you do delivers on them. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
What can you categorically promise your audience? What will you deliver to them each and every time at every touchpoint?
5. Agree on your reputation
Your reputation is how you want people to FEEL about your brand – what you want them to say to others about you.
Every activity you do in your business should result in making your audience feel the way you want them to. The better you make people feel, the more they’ll share it with the world!
How do you want your audience to feel when they come into contact with your brand, when they think about your brand? Energised? Safe? Serene? Inspired?
6. Understand your solution
Your solutions, be they products, services, free content, must always solve a specific set of problems. Problems are based on wants, however what someone wants might not always be what they need.
They NEED your product. But they WANT a better life in some way – more happiness, less pain. Your job is to connect the dots – take them on the journey from wants to needs. All your activity should be aimed at doing this.
What are your audience’s desires? What do they need from you to make their dreams a reality?
7. Curate and create
Now that you have all the answers, time to start crafting your statement. It’s all about the wordsmithing.
Distill your answers into words, phrases and ideas that explain your existence.
What you do.
Why you do it.
And how you do it.
Write them all up on a whiteboard, stick ‘em on some post-its. Get them all in front of you so you can see everything.
You’ll start to see certain words, certain ideas come through above others.
These are the ones you wanna grab hold of.
You’ll start off with a paragraph of an initial mission statement before whittling it down. That’s all good. It’s all a process of honing, chiseling and polishing until you come up with the final statement.
8. Choose your words carefully
When you have a complete idea of everything you want to include in your statement, it’s time to choose the exact words you want to convey it all.
Think about the meaning of each word. How can they be interpreted?
Do they restrict your vision i.e. by a certain technology or product/service?
Are they complete i.e. do the terms you use imply everything you do or can they be open to interpretation?
Be selective and be deliberate. When you only have 10-20 words to play with, every single one of those words have weight.
Every single word counts.
It’s kind of like creating a tweet to summarise a thesis. Stupidly difficult, but not impossible.
I always think about the Mark Twain quote – “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Long-winded waffling is easy. Perfectly crafted brevity takes time.
9. Sleep on it...
Stepping away from our own words for a time always seems to give us new-found perspective on them.
Don’t try and perfect in a day.
Not even the greatest copywriters would do so if they had the option.
Revisit over the next few days. It’ll be good for your brain to mull things over and piece everything together.
10. Commit to it!
There comes a time when you just need to get on with it.
Nothing will ever be 100% perfect.
Think about all the hard work you’ve done up to this point.
You’ve gone through every defining question about your business. You’ve whittled down a mass of ideas to a few core guiding principles. You’ve spent a good couple of days arguing in your head like a crazy person about whether you should replace the word ‘inspiring’ with ‘exciting’…
You’ve done 90% of the work and have attained 90% of the result.
That last 10% left to do really isn’t worth your time and effort.
The gains won’t be worth the amount of time you put in.
So tick it off!
Mark it as complete!
You now have a mission statement for your brand!
Now it’s just the small task of building your entire business around it…
But what a business it’ll be!
What stage are you at?
Just starting to think about why you do what you do? Are you currently covered in multi-coloured post-it notes? Have you spent the last two days hammering your face into a thesaurus?
Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments below!