How to create a Mission Statement (and why you should!)

24th March 2020

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Today I want to talk about something that I believe is critical to the success of your business, but.... it might make you roll your eyes.

You know, It’s really unfortunate when something as important as this gets such a bad wrap, because this simple act of creating a clear of compelling Mission Statement really helps solve, a big problem that every business faces.

The problem is - If you confuse, you lose.

What does that mean?

It means, if you you confuse your customers and they don’t understand what your product is, or what it can do for them, they won’t buy from you.

If you confuse your employees and they don’t understand what their job is, or why it’s important they won’t feel engaged, work hard or stick around.

If you confuse potential shareholders and they don’t understand what the opportunity is, or why it’s necessary in the marketplace, they won’t invest with you.

Whatever it is, people have to ‘get it’. They have to understand. If they don’t understand, they feel uncomfortable, they don’t buy, they don’t invest, they don’t stay.

If you confuse you lose.

So how do you not confuse people?

The first step is being absolutely clear in your communication.

And one of the most fundamental things to be clear about is 'Why' your business exists.

Very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. I'm not talking about 'making money' or running a profitable company—that’s a result. Why is all about your purpose. Why does your company exist? What problem does it solve? And why should anyone care?

If you can’t answer these questions in 10 seconds. Chances are people are confused about your business and you’re not as successful as you could be.

Clarity.

That is the purpose of your Mission Statement.

Your mission statement answers the question ’why’?

People always need to know why. If you’ve got a three year old, you’ll know it’s the only word that comes out of their mouth for about 12 months and, even though we stop asking out loud as we grow older, we never stop asking that question.

But how do you write a Mission Statement that answers the question ‘Why?’

Well, there are a lot of books and videos out there now about how to do this, and I encourage you to do some research because I think this is important, but I want to introduce you to the simplest method I’ve found for creating a clear and compelling Mission Statement

In his book ‘Start with Why’ Author and Speaker Simon Sinek gives a simple way to write an answer to the question ‘why’?

Here it is:

"To (contribution) so that (impact)".

That’s a mission statement.

Your ‘contribution’ is where you describe what your business actually does. What is the Contribution to the world that it makes?

The ‘impact’ describes how the problem is solved. What is the impact on people’s lives.

Let me give you an example.

Simon Sinek’s ‘Why’ is :

‘To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world’

His contribution is ‘to inspire people’.  His impact is ‘together, we can change the world’.

Now, I have to tell you, this is exactly the kind of thing that I used to roll my eyes at too. I felt like it was all touchy feely, woo woo, and didn’t really serve a purpose.

It was only after I’d already been in business 6 years that I took a business partner who insisted we define our Mission Statement.

That was for our company Funscape that builds family entertainment facilities like rock climbing gyms, trampoline parks and laser tag centres.

We talked for a while about what our Mission might be and in the end came up with the very simple mission statement:

“To create places where people have fun”

To ‘create places’ (contribution) where ‘people have fun’ (impact)

Now even though this is a really simple and broad Mission Statement and to be honest, at the time I kind of just went along with creating it.

After a while I noticed a few things started happening.

First, I started to notice that my team really seemed to like it. They would say things like…’ hey, I know how we could make this place more fun…’ and I started hearing them say it to each other, sometimes in fun, but often as a kind of ‘guide post’ that they’d be aiming towards.

Also, when people asked that ‘gem’ conversation starter “What do you do?” I started replying with my company’s mission statement… “I create places where people have fun”

At first it was just to have a more interesting conversation, but eventually It became how I defined what I do…

Having a clearly defined mission improved my team’s focus and gave them something to believe in. It improved my focus and helped me quickly and clearly explain to other people what my company was about.

After a couple of years our mission statement has literally become the yardstick for how we make decisions in our organisation. We constantly ask, hey is this going to make things more fun, or less fun…

That’s what I believe a mission statement should be. Not something you write on your website on the ‘about us’ page and never look at. It’s the thing you have hanging over your desk. It’s written on the meeting room wall and it’s the thing you refer back to when you make big decisions.

It’s how you begin to create clarity for you, your team and your customers.

So here’s your task for today:

Write down what your company does, what’s it’s contribution, what exactly is it that you do.. Write down what the impact of that contribution is on people, the market or the world.

Now put it in the following format:

“To (contribution) so that (impact)”

Then stand back and read it and see if you get a little flutter in your chest? Did it hit the mark? Are you saying ‘yeah, that’s it’? If not, that’s ok. Sleep on it. Come back tomorrow and tweak it. It might take a little time, but work on it. Like everything that’s worthwhile it’s probably going to take some time and effort. But I promise you it’s worth the effort.

For some inspiration here are 51 mission statement from the worlds most successful companies: https://www.alessiobresciani.com/foresight-strategy/51-mission-statement-examples-from-the-worlds-best-companies/

Notice anything? That’s right…. Every one of them has a mission statement…. and so should you.

Now go write one and send it to me when you're done ;-)

Brett Baker :)

PS. The Mission of The Funpreneur is:

"To help business owners implement elegant systems that grow revenue, reduce stress and create freedom for them to do the work they love"

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