Designing A Strong Startup Mission Statement
This daunting task may seem inessential, but it’s worth the effort.
By Tanisha Lele
Writing the right mission statement can be quite a task. One wrongly-placed word, and you could lose a potential buyer or employee. A mission statement is the only chance you have at defining your startup’s goals, work culture and ethics. It is also the only opportunity you have to create a good first impression.
Here are the basics of putting together a solid mission statement to guide your startup to success.
What is a mission statement ?
A mission statement is the ‘why’ of a business strategy, meaning it is a brief statement about the company’s purpose and goals.
Why is it important to have one?
A mission statement defines a company’s goals in more ways than one and talks about what the business does for its customers, employees, and owners. It is a representation of a firm’s public image, and helps marketing teams to define the company’s brand strategy.
In order to write a good mission statement, one must keep a few things in mind:
- Define what the business is willing to do for its customers, employees, and owners.
Start the mission statement by speaking about what your organization has to offer to its target customers and how it is going to be beneficial for them. Focus on stakeholders and their requirements.
In a way, make the readers feel that you are putting them before yourself. Don’t undervalue your business, but showcase the strengths that your customers can make the most of.
After you’ve established what you are willing to provide to your consumers, talk about what you have to offer to those who may choose to be a part of your journey and help you cater to those customers: your employees. Emphasize your ideal work culture and list the values and ethics you wish embody at your organization. It’s also important to explain how working with your company would be advantageous for them.
Finally, write about what the business means to you as the founder or owner, and what you are hoping to achieve through your entrepreneurial project. Be transparent about how you are benefiting, but humanize this section by sharing your greater goals and aspirations.
- Steer clear of filler and fluff
Substance makes writing richer. It is a mission ‘statement’ that you are writing and hence it cannot be too long or flowery. Keep it short, precise, and to the point. Be clear with your communication and avoid using words that indicate self-flattery.
For example, phrases like “We are the best service provider in the city” are red flags to consumers. Such sentences only come off as overconfidence, something that may not go down well with most readers. Instead, let the customer form their opinion about you on their own, through the mission statement and your company’s business practices and customer service.
- Explain how you stand out
Talk about your USP and focus on what makes you unique. Your mission statement should capture the essence of what sets your company apart, be it the product, values, or end goal.
- Take employees’ opinions into account
Getting feedback from employees and engaging them in the process of crafting a mission statement can make a difference in how the statement resonates with them. In addition, involving them in the process will ultimately contribute to a more nuanced and complete mission statement.
- Delete, edit, polish and revise
Sometimes, penning down a mission statement can take a lot of time, but that’s alright. Don’t settle for an imperfect mission statement just because you feel you need to hurry – setting the right tone could make the difference between closing a deal and wrecking one.
Be prepared to make a lot of changes. Ask people you trust to review it for you. Take their feedback seriously. Continue making changes. Better the language. Try to shorten it. And above all, don’t be afraid to delete certain things and make these changes.
- Don’t hesitate to start from scratch
Your goals can change over time, and so can your aspirations. There is no harm in framing a new mission statement that suits the current iteration of your business. It may feel difficult to restart, but is a necessary step that needs to happen alongside pivotal changes in business operations.
Writing a mission statement that suits your startup perfectly seems like a lot of work, especially for founders who may not be geared toward writing, but the guiding force it provides for all stakeholders in the company is worth the effort.
Header image by Ian Schneider on Unsplash.