Create a Business Plan Mission Statement

Your mission statement defines the purpose of your business and the approach you want to take to achieve success. Crafting a mission statement forces you to take a long, hard look at the key parts of your business, making the process a fundamental part of business planning. If you’re still not convinced that writing a mission statement is worth the trouble, consider these factors:

  • If you’re starting a business, a compelling mission statement can convince potential investors that you know who you are and where you want to go. A great mission statement doesn’t make up for a poor business plan, but an ill-defined or uninspired mission statement can make investors think twice about putting money on the table.

  • If you’re a company of one, a clear mission statement keeps you focused on what you do best. A mission statement helps keep you on track if you run into problems along the way.

  • If you run a growing business, a strong mission statement can help turn employees into team players. When everyone pursues the same purpose, your team stays pointed in the right direction.

  • If your company has run into trouble, a decisive mission statement can help you set the direction you want to take to turn things around. A mission statement reminds you of what your core business is and why you went into business in the first place. Sometimes that reminder is enough to set the course for a recovery.

  • If you have to decide between two courses of action, a strong mission statement can help guide you. Often in business, there is no single right answer. A mission statement can help you evaluate your options when no easy choice exists.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, a solid mission statement communicates the purpose of your business to people inside and outside your organization. It tells them who you are and what you do.

If you’re part of a small organization — which includes a business of one — you can write your own mission statement. Getting an outside perspective never hurts, of course.

If you’re part of a medium-size or larger company, enlisting help is essential. You get fresh ideas and insights, and you encourage a sense of ownership in the mission statement, which helps forge a stronger business team.

Whether you move ahead on your own or enlist some outside help, get a head start on the process by jotting down your initial responses to the eight fundamental questions.

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One good way to answer these questions is to assemble a group of creative, energetic people, making sure that the group represents all major areas of your business if you’re part of a large company. Schedule several brainstorming sessions (for information on brainstorming, following this approach:

  • Session 1: Discuss the importance of a mission statement. Ask your team members to answer the eight questions. Use a white board or, if some teammates work remotely, a shared document service, such as Google web apps or Citrix Online, so that everyone can see the answers and the ideas as they emerge.

  • Session 2: Discuss your answers in a free and open conversation that gives all responses a fair hearing. Begin to build consensus on the best answers to each question.

  • Session 3: Begin to outline your company’s mission. If your brainstorming group is large, you may want to select a smaller group to work on the mission statement.

  • Session 4: Review, revise, and polish the mission statement draft.

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