4 steps to crafting a mission statement
Many business owners would agree that taking the plunge and starting your own business requires courage and planning. Lots of planning. And a great place to start setting goals (and telling the world what you’re all about) is with a forceful mission statement that customers will love.
Related: How to write a business plan in 5 steps
How to write a mission statement in 4 easy steps
Are you ready to write your business mission statement? There’s no need to get fancy — keep it short and to the point.
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- Why do you do it?
- Bring it all together.
The first three steps are more like questions you’ll need to answer to develop a great mission statement. Step four is where you summarise them into a single, riveting sentence.
1. What do you do?
To get started with your mission statement, you need to be crystal clear about exactly what your business does. This shouldn’t require too much brain power but be wary, there is a knack to writing it well.
Start by getting inside your customers’ heads: think about the specific problem your business solves for them.
- What’s the benefit you provide to them?
- What’s the need you’re fulfilling?
For example, let’s look at the Jetstar mission statement:
“To offer low fares to enable more people to fly to more places, more often.”
At first glance, you’d likely write something along the lines of “we are a commercial airline.” That’s factually true.
But the real problem Jetstar is solving — the need they are fulfilling — is that they enable people to fly from one place to another.
Jot down what your business does for your customers.
2. How do you do it?
After describing what you do, the next step is to be clear about how you do it. How do you solve a problem customers have?
With our Jetstar mission statement, we know that they “enable more people to fly.” How do they do it? Well, they “offer low fares” that’s how.
It’s pretty straight forward, right?
Again, the trick is to think of this from your customers’ perspective. Don’t try to explain how your business operates in minute detail. It’s about capturing your core benefit in words that customers quickly grasp.
Make a note of the key thing you do that helps make the most difference in the lives of your customers.
3. Why do you do it?
This is the final element of your mission statement, and it’s your opportunity to make a big impact.
Another way to frame this is, what value are you bringing to your customers?
This part of your mission statement is a great place to inject your personality, to add a little spark and really nail why you started your business in the first place.
Why does Jetstar offer low fares? Ultimately, the value to the customer is that with low fares, they can “fly more places, more often.” It’s a statement that gets you thinking about travel, freedom and opportunity. And it sounds better than saying you ‘sell seats on a plane to make a tonne of money.’
Capture why you do what you do. Don’t be boring. Make your customers stand up and take notice. Inspire them.
4. Bring it all together
The final step to writing your mission statement is combining your answers from each of the above questions into a short, sweet and snappy sentence. Take your time and don’t rush it. You’ll probably go through more than a few sticky notes to find the mission statement that sticks (see what I did there?).
Mission statement examples
It might be helpful to read some mission statement examples from the world’s most well-known brands.
To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
To help bring creative projects to life.
Now, let’s look a little closer to home with two mission statement examples from brands well-known in Australia.
To deliver the best in convenience, value and quality for our customers.
A2 Milk Company
To pioneer the scientific understanding of the A2 protein type so more people can enjoy the nutritional goodness that only comes from real and natural milk.
The mission statement examples for these companies clearly spell out the ‘why’ for each of their business strategies. Check out more inspiring company mission statement examples here.
Does my business need a mission statement?
The short answer is yes. But don’t write it, slap it on a poster and hide it away in a dusty corner of your break room. Put it out there for the world to see.
Aside from keeping business owners on track, there are other benefits to having a mission statement.
It makes employees more committed
If you have employees, having an inspiring mission statement can impact how they think and feel about their jobs.
If employees are motivated by your mission statement, 54% of them are likely to stay in your business for five years and 30% are more likely to become high performers.
It can turn leads into customers
From a customer perspective, mission statements are one of the most powerful messages you can share with them. When effectively written, your mission statement will communicate your intention, create a connection and help your customers answer that critical question of ‘why should I buy from you?’
The bottom line is, having a clearly defined mission statement is good for your bottom line.
Boil your business down to its essence
Whether you’re starting a new business or you are reviewing your current goals, mission statements are a good way to make a great impression with only a few words.
A clear and concise mission statement tells the world what you do, how you do it and why.
One final note to consider is that as your business grows, you’ll reach the goals that you initially set out to achieve. You could also change your business strategy or take a new direction. If this happens, review and update your mission statement to ensure that it reflects your business’s new outlook.