Sometimes the things we have to do as owners of our own small businesses seem difficult, time consuming, and energy draining. So we put them off and tell ourselves that we’ll take care of them….someday. Yet someday hardly ever comes. If this is where you are in regard to creating your mission statement, then consider someday here because help has arrived.
Fortunately, there are many different approaches you can take, allowing you to select the one that is easiest for you. With that thought in mind, what follows are three of the simplest strategies around.
The Question Strategy
Forbes contributor Patrick Hull provides an easy-to-follow strategy as a way to help you formulate a concise mission statement by basically telling you to ask yourself these four questions:
- “What do we do?”
- “How do we do it?”
- “Whom do we do it for?”
- “What value are we bringing?
By answering these four things in your statement, it will paint a clearer image of what types of products and/or services you offer, the ways in which you offer them, who your target market is, and how you make their life better, easier, happier, or more fulfilled.
One company with a mission statement that appears to answer all of these questions is Anadarko. Their mission statement reads, “Anadarko’s mission is to deliver a competitive and sustainable rate of return to shareholders by developing, acquiring and exploring for oil and natural gas resources vital to the world’s health and welfare.”
See how, even if you’ve never heard of them, you know exactly what they do after reading their mission statement? That’s what makes this approach so effective because it can do the same for your small business.
The Elemental Strategy
Don Hofstrand with Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach suggests that another easy way to create a mission statement is by making sure it contains three basic elements:
- What you intend to accomplish (your vision),
- How you intend to accomplish it (your mission), and
- The values you will uphold while accomplishing it (your core values).
By ensuring that your mission statement contains all of these things, anyone who reads it knows exactly what you’re about in a big picture kind of way.
Safeway’s mission statement seems to fit this approach as it says that their mission is to “earn the loyalty of the people we serve by first anticipating, then fulfilling their needs with our superior-quality products, a unique shopping experience, customer-focused service and continuous innovation, while generating long-term profitable growth for our shareholders.”
The Step-by-Step Strategy
A third rather simple approach to creating your mission statement is provided by nonprofit hub and it is a step-by-step strategy that is different from the others in that it involves more of a team effort. Therefore, if you’re struggling with creating your mission statement on your own, you may want to bring in some of your management team or trusted staff and go through these basic steps:
Step 1: Ask each person to tell your company’s story in a way that emphasizes who you help (your cause), what you do (your actions), and the positive results your actions provide (your impact) by asking each member, “What does/would it look like when we’re doing our best work?”
Step 2: Get together as a group and talk about your answers, noting common ideas and themes.
Step 3: Split into small groups and have each one create a mission statement that incorporates your cause, actions, and impact.
Step 4: Reconvene and share your ideas with the larger group.
Step 5: As a group, discuss the value of each statement.
Step 6: Sit on it for a little bit and then decide which one best fits your small business.
By using this approach, you’ll have help coming up with your mission statement, which can take a whole lot of the pressure off doing this completely on your own.
If you already have a mission statement, did you use one of these approaches or something completely different? Feel free to share what you did in the comment section below in order to possibly help other struggling small business owners come up with their statements easier!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!