For many businesses, a mission statement is a boilerplate block of copy that explains what you do, in what region, and for how long. But it can be so much more…
When a mission statement explains why a company does what it does, the words come alive, capturing the reader’s attention with a memorable call-to-arms. It no longer checks a box. Instead, it engages every member of your audience—giving meaning to your employees daily tasks, recruiting talent and enticing customers to join in.
Put simply, it shows everyone their role in the story of your business. If you know anything about our MKF, you know how important ‘story’ is to our marketing—and how powerful it is when relating to customers.
I’ve written a lot of mission statements over the years. And whether it was for courses, projects, non-profits and businesses, it was often tedious. I spent a long time thinking about what we hoped to achieve and selecting the right words to convey it clearly and dramatically. It took hours, sometimes days of reflection and refining. I didn’t stop until it felt fresh, concise and exciting.
I got the hang of it after a while. I had a sense of all the elements and their correct order.
I recognized them all in Donald Miller’s Mission Statement Made Simple (a part of his Business Made Simple guidebook). The exercise breaks down the three components of a successful mission statement.
First, it sets up the conflict. It might seem counter-intuitive to bring up conflict in a mission statement. You want to think positive, optimistic thoughts, right? But without conflict, there is no ability to change.
It also clearly states the destination. This allows you to show your audience how your business aims to solve the problem and exactly what success looks like.
If raising the conflict introduces drama, then highlighting the stakes builds upon it. It’s the last component. What happens next when you’re successful? Or what happens if you fail? It reaffirms the goal and spurs the audience into action.
See it in Action
Conflict: At MKF strategic marketing, we know many business owners aren’t able to grow because they don’t have the resources or experience.
Destination: We believe with the right business insights and marketing help, they can set up a system that earns money while they sleep.
Stakes: Instead of working overtime on things outside their expertise, owners can focus on their passion while the bottom line grows.
At MKF strategic marketing, we know many business owners aren’t able to grow because they don’t have the resources or experience. We believe with the right business insights and marketing help, they can set up a system that earns money while they sleep. Instead of working overtime on things outside their expertise, owners can focus on their passion while the bottom line grows.
Be specific about the persona
You’ll notice that we highlighted a single person: ‘Business owners.’ You want to avoid saying general entities like ‘businesses’ because it can make the grammar of your mission statement awkward. More importantly, it’s easier for employees to be inspired if they’re helping a human being. And your main audience is much more likely to see themselves as the beneficiary of your mission. However, if we were to be targeting our message to a marketing director at a small business, we could change the noun to ‘marketing director.’ If your company markets to a wider range of people, find the most common denominator. For example, a financial investment company might call them “savers” or “retirees.”
Add dates and locations
If being a trusted, established company is important in your sector, be sure to include the date of your establishment of your business. Also, delineating the regions you work in adds clarity and a sense of familiarity with your reader. For example, you could say “Since 2018, we’ve set up automated sales funnels for thousands of Sacremento business owners.” In our case, we wouldn’t want to use this as we can (and have) provided business insight to companies all over the world—as far as Thailand.
Phone a Friend
The Mission Statement Made Simple module gives you instructions for completing a mission statement as an individual, as a group or with a facilitator. As a certified guide, I can lead you and your team through the mission statement exercise. Getting all the thought that goes into it down into three-five sentences is not an easy task. If you need a hand, give us a call and we’ll work with you to craft a clear and compelling mission statement.