I’ve been receiving requests from the up and coming entrepreneurs and the struggling solopreneurs for help with their business plans. When I ask them what their mission statement is, I often get a response that indicates that they are making it up each time they are asked.
Is a mission statement a marketing tool?
Is it a superfluous write-up to please financial institutions and overly anal business customers?
Let’s talk mission statements and the purpose they play in your business.
Yes, some businesses do create a mission statement as a marketing tool. It is helpful in marketing and far from superfluous. The primary purpose of your statement is to help keep your potential customers – and you – focused.
How do you create an effective mission statement?
Well, a solid mission statement is a 2 to 3 sentence communication that quickly and concisely tells three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How what you do will benefit your customers
Longer statements lose customers’ attention or confuse them as to your primary focus. Take the following into consideration when creating your mission statement:
Make your statement active and in the present. What will you DO for the customer NOW? Don’t speak about what you are looking to accomplish in the future. This is a goal. Confusing your mission statement with a goal will leave the customers wondering “who are you now” and “when should I come back”.
Discuss your core purpose and values. Keep the statement brief and to the point. You can create a Code of Ethics or Pledge of Values to go into greater detail.
Define the market you service. It should be clear upfront for potential customers if your products and services meet their needs. Plus, defining your market will save you time in dealing with inquiries from customers outside of your primary business. Not all business is good business (read one of my previous posts, “Why ‘Everyone’ Isn’t a Good Market” for more detail on that topic).
But which comes first, the mission statement or the business plan?
I think that you will find that you create the rough draft of your mission statement prior to performing your market research. However, as you continue to evolve your business plan, you may find that you fine tune the message in your mission statement, too.
I recommend you create a statement using the criteria above prior to performing your research. This gives focus for your research. Then, re-read your statement upon completion of your plan and make sure that the two are in synch.
Once you have a fine tuned mission statement, you can go back and refer to it as you make strategic decisions for growing your business. Without it, you are at risk for making random decisions that pull your focus, energy and marketing dollars in different directions. Is this the dream that you had for your solopreneur start-up?
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide