Writing Your Mission Statement

In my last article I discussed how to develop your unique value proposition (UVP). That prompted a question from a reader asking what the difference was between a UVP and a mission statement. That’s a good starting point for this article. What is a mission statement? What is its purpose? Do you need one? What happens if you don’t have a mission statement?

Getting back to the reader question, a UVP is an outward focused statement that you aim and develop for your customers. A UVP is how you want your customers to see your company. On the other hand, a mission statement is an inward focused statement that helps employees and key stakeholders understand why you’re in business. It should act as a guiding principle for a business and the people who own or run the business.

Some writers have said that a mission statement is more important than a business plan. Some businesses have neither a business plan nor a mission statement. These are both two important documents that every business should have. So, how do you develop a mission statement for your business?

Your mission statement should be a short paragraph written in simple language and it shouldn’t contain industry jargon or business buzzwords. A good mission statement should express why your business exists and what you want it to accomplish. Your mission statement should motivate, encourage innovation and inspire commitment in the people who work in the company as well as the different groups with which the company wants to interact.

A mission statement has three basic parts. These parts include the vision, the mission and core values. The vision is the 10,000-foot view. It’s why you’re in business and defines your objectives. The mission is a statement describing how you will achieve your vision and these two statements are closely related. Core values define your key behaviors and guiding principles as you carry out your mission. It provides limits on how business leaders conduct their affairs while carrying out the vision and mission of the company.

To write your own mission statement, first gather your team and include all employees, and any key stakeholders. Ask them to answer the following questions:

1. Why are we in business?

2. How are we going to tackle these needs?

3. What core values guide our path?

A good way to do this is to create a worksheet or use a whiteboard and ask each person to answer the three questions. Let everybody have a chance to answer the questions, regardless of what each person says. As you start to get answers to the questions look for commonality and themes in the responses. This will give you the basis of developing the sentences for the three sections of your mission statement.

To keep your mission statement simple, make it short. Use just enough words to capture the gold nuggets of your statement. Avoid using qualifying statements, as these are unnecessary. Wordsmith what you have until you have it in a succinct form that’s easy to read. It may take several drafts to get it just right.

Your goal is to write statements of vision and mission that are easy to remember. You can test its effectiveness by asking your team members to tell you the mission of their business. If they can’t tell you both, you need to rewrite the mission statement. The mission statement guides the day-to-day activities of each person in the business. For your statement have an impact in your business, it must be short and simple, and it must capture the spirit of what you want to accomplish.

Examples of Mission Statements

Ben and Jerry’s Product Mission Statement: To make, distribute, and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the environment.

Sierra Club Mission Statement: To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

My website contains links to all the articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with lead generation, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by showing them how to do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.

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