When you're a small business owner, you're often working inside the business instead of on it. Developing a kickass mission statement that can guide your team on their daily journey at work sounds like something you should do, but without a roadmap on how, you'll likely never check it off.
At Oh Hello, we help our clients refine and clarify their brand messaging so that they can convey their "why" (Simon Sinek reference right here) to their target audience and DRIVE SALES FORWARD. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. We help our clients to identify what that bigger picture is that will drive their growth.
Before you can build a mission you need to: understand what it is, hold a focused brainstorming session and then hone in on the right words you need to use to convey it.
So, let's start with a definition. What pops up on Google on the first page says it best:
"A mission should outline, in a few short sentences, the essence of your business's goals and the philosophies that are underneath them.
It has three main components:
A statement of mission or vision of the company
A statement of the core values that shape the acts and behavior of the employees
A statement of the goals and objectives."
But, what is this mission supposed to do? Well, here's a precise list:
-It should guide you on strategic, daily decision making and serve as a compass.
-Act as a PR tool in your arsenal.
-Give you a sense of purpose and help you separate pain and practice differently (credit to Donald Miller for mentioning this on his podcast). An example: Climbing Mount Everest and feeling exhausted and cold at the end of the hike versus being splashed with buckets of water and ice. You're in the same physical state after both experiences but feeling differently mentally after the former.
-Be the "why" someone comes to work and a culture builder.
-Bring people together to hit the goals at work that your team sets and act as a signal to potential partners about why they'd work with YOU.
Now that we know what a mission is and what it aims to do, we have to actually BUILD it. Pro tip: gather your team in one room, carve out a few hours of time with zero distractions (phones down) and go through these questions one-by-one. You can use stickies on the wall to put down answers, group them together in categories and ultimately determine what's most important for your organization BEFORE you come up with a statement. This list should help you ignite the conversation and keep the energy rolling.
You'll want to answer these questions:
- Who are your customers? How do you benefit them?
- What are the main products or services that you offer? How do they separate you from the competition?
- What geographical markets are you in?
- How is your team committed to financial growth?
- What are the basic beliefs, values and philosophies that guide your organization?
- What are your top 3 strengths or competitive advantages?
- Do you care about your image or your people?
- What are some of the biggest goals with your company ahead in the next 2-5 years? What are some of your current goals right now?
- Why are the stakes high for what you do or offer?
- What will it cost if you don't succeed?
- How do you feel the greater good is impacted by your goals?
Once you've answered these, you should effectively be able to put together a 2 sentence statement that is:
-High stakes. The gold medal an Olympic athlete is trying to secure, that person isn’t on a mission. Collin Kaepernick is on a mission.
-Bigger than any person in the room. It has to be a mission of greater good and inspire the community.
-Costs your team something. The mission takes opportunity cost and sacrifice.
Remember that this process is about creating something more than a nice statement that goes on your wall. It has to be something that your team believes in and can tangibly measure in months and years to come. And, if you and your team get stuck on the wording or how to phrase something, keep in mind that the greatest artists steal from the best. Look at the mission of some of our brightest and biggest companies and take note of how they create the magic.
Need more help putting together a kickass mission statement? Book a free consultation with me right here and let’s talk: https://calendly.com/natalie-letstalkbrandsandthings.