Can you remember the official wording of the statement, or are you just filling in with your general impression concerning what you do on a daily basis?
More importantly, if you reread that statement now, does it inspire you?
Most people think of a mission statement as an outward-facing document meant to inform prospects, customers, and investors about what they do. Because of that, top-level executives often craft mission statements in a vacuum — for most employees, it has zero bearing on the work they do or the mindset they bring to work each day.
But if even your own employees aren’t excited by your mission statement, why should anyone outside of your company care?
But this view of my work only tells me what I do. It doesn’t tell me why I do it.
Imagine you’re having a bad day at work. You know what you have to get done today; but you’re not feeling motivated.
But as you slide into your office seat, you see a simple statement tacked above your desk that reminds you of who you’re serving and why you’re here.
It’s not going to make your bad day better, but it sure will help motivate you to tackle that bad day head on.
Now, imagine what would happen if every employee in your company could lean on a quick reference like this on a bad day.
Next, imagine what would happen if every prospect for your company could, at a glance, figure out whether your company’s services meet their needs — and whether your company’s values are aligned with their own. After all, common values are fundamental to building strong relationships in the long run.
That’s what your company’s mission statement should aspire to be. It’s a valuable tool for establishing internal culture, inspiring purpose-driven work, and attracting qualified leads who share your beliefs.
How to write a mission statement with meaning
As the terrific Simon Sinek points out, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
People are drawn first and foremost to why you do what you do — so your why needs to inform what and how you do what you do.
In other words, your mission statement links your company’s higher purpose to the skills, talent, and passion your employees can bring.
Your mission statement should address the following questions:
What you do
Who you do it for
Why you do it
Here’s how you can cut to the heart of each question, keeping in mind that the third (why) is the most important of all.
1. Identify your key products/services
For most people, this will be the easiest step. As I mentioned above, practically all businesses already have a handle on what it is they do in general.
All the same, this may be a good opportunity for you to double down on your differentiators — whether you have a product or service that sets you apart from the rest of your the industry. Perhaps you’re starting a theater company, and your background as an immigrant to America makes you especially well-positioned to produce plays about immigration. In other words, are you fulfilling a particular niche within your industry?
2. Define your buyer personas
Quite simply, you can’t be everything to everyone; not everyone needs what you have to offer. Your company might have built the most sophisticated treadmill on the planet, but a person who doesn’t exercise regularly isn’t going to need one. Neither is an organization that isn’t a gym.
As such, you need to know your ideal target audience — also known as your buyer personas — inside and out. You have to know what they want, what challenges they’re facing, and where they’re looking for online content.
This is among the most challenging — but also most important — things you can do for your business. AsSimon Sinek points out, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
How does a person whoneeds an immigration lawyer choose among 10 candidates (assuming similar service offerings and competency levels)?
It’s not only about results. Yes, we all work in part because we want to make money. Nevertheless, a legal firm with the biggest clients, the strongest portfolio, and consistent results is impressive — but not inspiring.
The crux here lies in the idea of common values. People want to work with other people who share their worldview and are motivated by similar beliefs, because all that makes it easier to develop shared goals and build a strong, long-term relationship.
Your mission statement’s goal is ultimately to establish not only why people need to buy from you — but also why people want to buy from you.
Examples of killer mission statements
Notice how each of these brands begins with a why statement that clearly articulates a core value:
“Our mission is to help organizations grow. We want to transform how they attract, engage, and delight their customers. We’re working to help the world go Inbound. It’s a more empathetic, human-friendly approach to marketing and sales.” (HubSpot)
“At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” (IKEA Singapore)
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (Amazon)
Last but certainly not least, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share Sprk’d’s own:
“We use digital marketing to ignite our clients’ sales and marketing efforts.
Sprk’d provides strategy and ongoing content creation (think blogging, lead generation, and email marketing and automation) for B2B businesses. We believe even the ‘un-sexiest’ organizations and the people behind them deserve to embrace inbound and tell their story with a little fire — and we’re the missing spark.”
Identifying your brand’s mission, values, and purpose is essential to inspiring your own employees, as well as generating qualified leads. After all, as this final Simon Sinek tidbit of wisdom says: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
Looking for structured guidance as you uncover your business’s goals and culture? The Sprk’d Foundation Formula is a four-week deep dive that identifies all the factors that make your business unique — so you can authoritatively speak to your prospects’ needs and wants.