Yesterday, we started talking about how your business can fail and what you need to ensure you do not fail.
There are four important questions (though not exhaustive)that you will need to answer in order to craft a good mission statement.
The questions are:
“What do we do?”
“Who are our customers?”
“How do we plan to do what we do?”
“Why do we do what we do?”
Step 1: Describe what your company does, and keep it simple.
The first thing you need is to define what type of business your company is into. Do you provide services, manufacture your own products for sale, or just sell other people’s products?
Using the examples above, it’s clear that Bizilla’s business is about “connecting people who want to sell a business with people who want to buy one.”
What Amazon does is “sell goods to everyone.”
What Google does is to “organize and provide universally accessible information.”
What we do at Nigeria Online Business is“provide information, inspiration, insight, tools and guidance.”
So, think of the unique service your company as a whole offers to the world and write it down in a language that is simple enough to understand.
Remember, it also has to be believable. If it’s not, there’s no pointing crafting a mission you don’t believe in. It just won’t stick.
The whole point of a mission statement is to define a purpose that your business is going to live by.
So, if I wanted to describe what my imaginary shoe company does, for example, I can start by writing that I want “to provide shoes.”
Keep it as simple as you possibly can.
Step 2: Define clearly who your customers are.
This is the point where you define who you are in business to serve.
Some businesses like Amazon provide services to everyone. Here at Nigeria Online Business, we serve“aspiring and experienced online entrepreneurs.”
At Bizilla, their customers are “those who want to buy businesses (buyers) and those who want to sell (brokers and sellers).”
Google’s customers are “everyone in the world” since their search engine seeks to provide universally accessible information.
Even if your mission statement does not directly state who your customers are, you should still be able to answer this question just by reading the statement. This would guide a lot of the efforts within the company to build the business.
So, let me try to tailor the mission statement for my imaginary shoe company. Let’s say I decide that women are my customers. I’ll continue by saying “To provide women’s shoes”.
Step 3: Define your uniqueness
This part is a little tricky because you are not necessarily looking for a detailed description of your business’s operations. Instead, you are looking to include a word or phrase that communicates the uniqueness of your business.
For most people, this could mean including the unique value your business provides to the market. This often comes in the form of qualifying words or expressions like: excellence, quality, innovation, leadership, teamwork and integrity.
It’s very important to focus on what your business is really good at before you decide which value you include in your mission statement.
For example, Amazon believes the customer is more important than anyone else in its business, so they have reflected this in their mission statement.
That’s why Amazon’s mission statement contains the qualifier: “most customer-centric”
Here’s the full mission statement again: “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
So, to Amazon, being customer-centric is what makes them unique. That’s why they want you to see it in their mission statement.
So, continuing with the mission statement for my imaginary shoe business, I’ll include my unique angle to it and edit it to read: “to provide quality and affordable women’s shoes.”
Step 4: Describe why your company does what it does.
This part of your mission statement reflects the passion behind your business.
It’s true that most people go into business initially just to make money. However, to create a legacy there must be a “why” behind your mission.
Why does your business do what it does?
In order to answer this question, you might need to really think back on why you started your business in the first place.
Amazon’s “why” is to help customers “find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Google’s “why” is to make information “universally accessible and useful.”
Our “why” at Nigeria Online Business is to help entrepreneurs “exploit business opportunities, make money, create jobs, and impact millions of lives in Africa.”
So, applying the same rule to my imaginary shoe business, I’ll reflect my “why” as follows:
“To provide quality and affordable women’s shoes so every woman can find a shoe she loves.”
There you have it, a full-proof process for crafting your mission statement!
The experience is beautiful and magical.
As you can see, when your mission statement is finally done, it creates beautiful magic. Nothing beats a business whose actions, thoughts and attitudes are focused on a single defined purpose.
I can’t say enough about the importance of a mission statement.
A mission helps to ensure that all the decisions you are making about your business is intentional, focused and leading to an end goal. Without it, you are probably going around in circles.
A mission is a vital ingredient for the magic your business needs, no matter the size of your business – big or small. Unfortunately, most businesses hardly have one on paper.
Put in the effort to craft a good mission statement for your company today and you’ll improve your odds of success, and watch your company become your dream.
Don’t craft your mission tomorrow, or next week, or next year.
You should have done it yesterday.
But since you didn’t, please do it today.
Yes, right now.
And yes, on paper!