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.
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.