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Elements of an Effective Mission Statement

Your mission statement serves as a guide for day-to-day operations and as the foundation for strategic planning and future decision making. Make sure that your statement includes the following criteria:

  • Focuses on satisfying customer needs: Focus the business on satisfying customer needs instead of spotlighting your product or service.

  • Based on your core competencies: Base your mission on a competitively superior internal strength or resource that your company performs well in comparison to your competitors. For example, McDonald’s core competency is providing low-cost food and fast service to large groups of customers.

  • Motivates and inspires employee commitment: Your mission statement should be motivating. Don’t base it on making more sales or profits but on employees’ significant work and how the mission contributes to people’s lives.

  • Realistic and clear: Avoid making the mission too narrow or too broad. A mission needs to contain a purpose that’s realistic to avoid mission creep, or expansion outside of your intended boundaries. Many organizations can go off on tangents that aren’t core to their purpose and are unrealistic because their mission isn’t clearly defined.

  • Specific, short, sharply focused, and memorable: Write a precise statement of purpose that describes the essence of the business in words your employees and customers can remember you by.

  • Clear and easily understood: Develop and write your mission statement so you can quickly and briefly tell people you meet at a party or on an airplane why your company exists. If you keep that concept in mind, your statement can automatically be short and comprehensible. Make sure to give your company team a profoundly simple focus for everything it does as a business.

  • Says what the company wants to be remembered for: In the end, a mission statement leaves a lasting impression. How do you want the world to think of you? Your statement can provide simple insight into why you do business.

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