The Mission Position – Formulating Our Mission Statement

Our mission statement has to be the most intensive thing I’ve worked on so far, and for good reason. The mission statement is the very essence of why you are in business; it captures your business idea and puts your values and practices in print and in full public view for both you and your customers, so it’s probably best to not mess it up. Thankfully, I was able to find several useful resources (both online and in print) that helped to minimize the amount of pain involved in the process of beginning to hammer out the actual statement.

The first book I used was Business Plans for Dummies by Paul Tiffany, PhD and Steven Peterson, PhD, which devoted roughly four pages to why you need a mission statement and how to go about formulating it. The main point this book tries to get across is that your mission statement needs to be to the point and easily understood. Dummies also recommends using the mission statement to capture the essence of your business in 50 words or less, which I think is a rather daunting task. However, they gave a couple examples of well known companies that were able to create quality mission statements with less than 50 words. Because I’m not exactly a wordsmith, I gave myself a bit of latitude and decided to limit myself to four sentences.

The second book I used was The Mission Statement Book by Jeffrey Abrahams, which lists “301 corporate mission statements from America’s top companies.” Thankfully, in looking through this book I was able to see that most companies don’t limit themselves to 50 words and are still able to pull off good statements (that made me feel much better about my sentence limit). This was an interesting resource to see how diverse mission statements are; there really weren’t a lot of similar statements. That being said, after reading 25 different statements, my eyes started to gloss over – 301 statements may be a bit much.

The third and final resource was the one I ultimately used to help me begin to write my mission statement. It came from Entrepreneur.com and gave a very helpful outline to formulate the mission statement, asking 10 questions about the purpose of the business, the customers you expect to serve and why they should use your product or service. The questions really made me reflect on my business ideas and my values and philosophies, which was kind of refreshing and reaffirmed why I’m doing what I’m doing (or at least attempting to do).

So, now I have the basic ideas and wording behind my mission statement, I just need to rearrange some things and change a couple of words to include more radiant and inspired words. And I swear, if I have to spend one more minute looking through the thesaurus for a more personable word for “customer” I think I’m going to just make up a word and hope that it catches on.

I think once I finally have a mission statement that I’m proud of, it will be time to unveil both the statement and the business idea it’s supporting. Hopefully I can get it done tonight, but I’m running out of caffeine. Let’s hope for some divine intervention.

Comments

  1. Hey Brian! How cool!!! You might want to consider the number of letters, spaces, etc. in the length of your business name. It can be hard to get personalized items done (i.e. magnets, keychains, pens, etc.) if you have too many characters like Beginning Bridges, Inc. Also, remember to share your ideas with anyone and everyone that will listen. You are liable to learn a lot this way and it may even help you define/refine your business plan. What you think will work should be shared and the questions that arise should be thought about carefully! The more you share, the more you will learn! Your mission statement will grow and change as you do. Don’t sweat getting it perfect – just get it down on paper!!! Best of luck to you!!! Tricia

  2. Thanks for the comments and ideas. The naming process has been a bit more intense than I had hoped, so while the mission statement is being finalized and the rest of tbe business plan is being started, the naming of the business has been put on hold. I agree with your comment about sharing ideas with anyone who will listen; I think only positive things can come of that. Believe me, it is a goal of mine to use this blog as a forum for people to bounce ideas back and forth. I would like to be able to unveil both the name and the idea of the business at the same time, so it may be a few days before I finally publish everything for feedback. Thanks for the ideas and I hope you enjoyed the reading!