How to Create a passion-filled mission statement
Do you have a mission statement? It's one of those "pre-requisites" while starting a business that we check off the list, just like your business name, LLC, mission statement, CHECK! But we don't put much more thought into it. I was guilty of writing my mission statement down and putting it in a drawer to never be found again when I first started my business.
But I want to change the mindset on mission statements because your mission statement should be so much more than some words on paper.
Your mission statement is the heart of your business and why you do what you do. I'm a believer of having a mission statement that is written down on paper, but is also stored in the front of your mind. Most importantly, your mission statement needs to mean something deeply to you. When hard decisions arises, your mission statement should be what you look back on to make sure you are aligned and making the right decision for you and your business. Your mission statement is a great tool to keep you on track with your goals and with your passion for starting your business.
Your mission statement should be the building block for your business and it's what everything (your branding, marketing, processes, experience, etc) should be built around.
So how do you get started creating one? First I have three tips on what a mission statement should be:
1. Easy to Remember
If you have to look at a piece of paper every time you go to say your mission statement, it isn't the right one for you. I think we were taught that a mission statement should be some eloquent, long paragraph that sounds fancy and impressive, but if you can't remember it, then it doesn't do much for you or your business. Use words that you would normally use in daily conversation and simplify it as much as you can. If a long, wordy mission statement works for your business and you can remember it off the top of your head, then that works for you. If you need it to be short and sweet so that you can easily remember it, that is fine too!
Remember that your mission statement is for you personally! Your viewers will see and hear it, but it should be most important to you.
3. It needs to mean something
Your mission statement looks at why you started your business and why you keep it going, even through hard times. It needs to be something that personally means something to you. I look at your mission statement as a tool to keep you on track. So it needs to motivate, encourage, and excite you, and it also needs to call you out when you do get too far off track!
4. Your Mission is Your Why
I look at your mission statement as the why of your business. If you're in the creative industry you've heard a lot about finding "Your Why" the past three - four years. For the sake of simplicity and clarity, I treat a mission statement as your why. Our minds are already busy and distracted enough to remember all of these embellished "tools" like "your mission, your why, your unique value, your ideal client avatar, etc" when it can all be encapsulated into one easy to remember sentence.
Now that you have the tips, let's move on to creating our mission statement. I've taken a lot of inspiration from Donald Miller's "Oneliner workshop" from Storybrand. And if you haven't read his book "Building a Storybrand" do it!! It's a super easy read and brings so much clarity to your mission as a business and how your marketing should support it. (And if you're an audio book lover like me, he is the narrator, which in my opinion makes it even better!)
1. Define what you do and who you do it for
This is pretty self explanatory, but what do you do and who is your target audience (who do you want to serve and who do you love to serve)? You can get as specific or general as you would like with both of these.
Example: Hayley Bigham Designs is a graphic design studio that creates branding and logo designs for small business owners. (Note: my target market is more clearly defined on paper, but I go more general for my mission statement and that's ok)
2. Define your customer's main pain point
What is the major problem that your customer has that you solve with your offering or services? Narrow it down to one! This is normally where the passion comes in. Your customers are struggling with something specific, and you created your business because you want to solve it. If you are a business that found a gap in an industry, this is your place to say how you found the gap and why you filled it. Normally it has to do with issues and problems that the other offerings didn't fix.
Example: Small business owners feel ill equipped and uncertain when they have a logo, brand, or marketing material that works against them or doesn't connect to their audience and ultimately loses them money and rapport.
3. Define what you do to help solve that pain point
What is your solution to their problem? And how is it different and/or better than your competitors? This isn't just your offering, but also your experience. How do you want your customers to feel about working with you? Answer that and then backtrack to how you create that feeling.
Example: I partner with small business owners to create authentic and custom branding with their business in mind, so that they feel empowered and equipped
4. Define how your customers life changes in the better after working with you (Your why)
What is the end result? Storybrand calls it the "transformation". What does the transformation look like for your customer when that problem/pain point has been solved? What is the "happily ever after" that you help them achieve?
Example: They are confident to reach their dream customers through the branding we create together, which grows their business and their personal growth.
5. Put it all together!
Now we put it all together. This is where simplifying comes in. Take the main points that you are trying to make with each question and bring them down to their simplest form. And don't forget to put it in your own words. Once you have your mission statement created, ask yourself: would I word this the same way if I were saying it to my best friend?
Example: Small business owners want their branding to look professional, reach the right people and grow their business. Hayley Bigham Designs is a design studio dedicated to equipping and empowering small business owners with authentic branding so that they feel confident in reaching their dream customers.
When someone asks you what you do, instead of fumbling over your words and being overly general (you know most of us do this when we are put on the spot about our businesses, especially if they aren't main-stream), recite your mission statement! You've worked so hard to create it for it to go back in the drawer or in the depths of your google drive. Be confident and practice saying it to your friends and family and clients. They will appreciate the clarity and knowing what you stand for.
Each time I sit down with a potential client for a branding consultation, I recite my mission statement. It is also the second page on my inquiry pdf document and shows up several times on my website.
So with that, do you have a mission statement? Did you have to go dig it out of a drawer or your google drive? Can you say it from memory? If not, I encourage you to go back through these questions and create a new one.