mission statement

Create a Mission Statement for Your Startup that Sticks

Few areas in business are as ever-changing as the mission statement. Originally, this statement served as a humble summary of what your organization plans to do in the short term and long run. Today, the definition has branched out beyond simply defining your purpose in business. It’s also supposed to inspire your team members, make good on its promises and use inclusive language to connect everyone to your brand.

This statement wants to be everything to everyone; however, businesses just getting started may find it daunting to create one of their own and figure out what all should be in it. We’ve rounded up the dos and don’ts for crafting a mission statement that delivers while remaining consistent to your brand’s voice.

DON’T try to take on the world

Skip loading up your statement with buzzwords and focus on your specific purpose. Whether that means giving customers a meaningful shopping experience, striving to make everyday life better or giving back to the community, stick to what your brand narrative and its objectives are rooted in.

DO make it easy to remember and understand

One of my favorite mission statements also serves as its company name: Life is Good. Since 1994, this apparel brand has been serving up optimism sunny side up on clothing, accessories and home décor for men and women. It’s short, specific and sweet, with site commentary that expands more on how positivity empowers individuals to live a life of purpose, growth and fun.

However, not every mission statement is this succinct! If you find that your own is in danger of sounding like a vague run-on sentence, break it up into a few sentences. This is a statement that you want everyone, especially your employees, to adopt and understand, so focus on making it tangible and concise.

Related: How to to Avoid Small Business Branding Mistakes

DO be meaningful

Time to let your brand’s personality shine! Consider your body language at a networking mixer when you meet someone new and tell them more about your company. It’s a safe bet that you speak confidently about what you do, use hand gestures to illustrate points and have a genuinely enthusiastic demeanor.

Dip into this kind of behavior when defining your mission statement. Skip the jargon and focus on transparency and authenticity to better build trust in your brand. Watch your language with the words you use and how you want your business to be reflected within them. If you want to appeal to a younger demographic, opt for words like “rebellious” and “conscious” to play up your brand’s values. “Together” unifies everyone and feels accessible, while “pure” is the perfect adjective to drive home any brand that emphasizes clean eating.

DON’T be lofty

This is a controversial point to make because many sites will say that a bit of loftiness is a good thing in a mission statement. However, lofty words can often translate to being pretentious which may make the statement feel less inclusive and alienate some audiences.

Instead, place your focus on four key elements: inspiration, plausibility, specificity and value. Clearly define your purpose and its vision, how you plan to help others, and establish a call to action to encourage others to work together and get involved.

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DO establish reasonable accomplishments

Furnishings brand IKEA could have taken a page from Dell’s book in creating a statement that solidified their standing as the best in the furniture industry. Instead, they placed their focus on creating a better everyday life for people from all walks of life through the affordable, well-made furniture sold for every room in a home. Ditch lofty goals for grounded ones. Think of something within reason that you want your business to accomplish and add it to your mission statement.

Remember that if you’re not satisfied with your mission statement or find your brand narrative is moving in another direction that requires a rewrite, you can make changes. Put aside some time once a year to reevaluate your statement and make any necessary edits. Psst — we recommend doing it in January since it’s the first month of the year and the idea is still fresh in your mind!

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