After developing your business plan, a mission statement is often viewed as next most important step in launching and sustaining a new business. Without an overall goal or philosophy, it’s easy to lose focus and forget why you established your business in the first place. While serving as a reminder to you, a mission statement also tells your customers, employees, vendors and the community who your business is, what you do and why you do it.
A mission statement should be kept relatively short but can convey a lot of information in just a few sentences. Starting with clearly stating what business you’re in, a mission statement can then go on to detail what products or services you offer, what your company culture is like and how you plan to serve customers.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when writing a mission statement:
What does my business do?
If you can’t pare down what your business does in one sentence, then you might be in trouble. The clear and concise rule is most important here, because this is your chance to attract potential customers. Consider Trip Advisor’s mission: “To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.” Short, simple and informative.
Who are my customers?
Most successful businesses have a niche that they serve. You want to attract customers who need your product or service — whether that’s a consumer or business. Research has proven that the more a company defines its target market, the better. Be honest about who you’re trying to attract and stay focused.
What do I want my company to look and feel like?
Company culture is important for attracting both customers and employees. Do you want your company to feel fun and innovative? Or perhaps it’s more important to highlight your experience and professionalism. Culture is defined by your values and beliefs. Your company doesn’t have to try and change the world, but it does need to inspire.
What is my customer service strategy?
All businesses say they focus on customer service, but what makes yours better? Is it a personalized experience, immediate response time, “the customer is always right” philosophy or something else? Southwest Airlines’ “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit” is a good one to study here.
What sets us apart from the competition?
Maybe it’s customer service or your company culture, but think about what your business does better or faster than any other. Walmart saves people money so they can live better, and Coca-Cola inspires moments of optimism and happiness. At the end of the day, what do you do?
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