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Every business, no matter how small, should have a mission statement. Even if you are just a sole trader, it's important to spend some time thinking about it.
The point of a mission statement is to clarify:
All big companies will have one, but it's an essential exercise for even the smallest businesses. During our marketing strategy sessions, we always start by drilling down into your core values and goals.
Nothing can replace the experience of working with professional marketing consultants. But in today's article, we'll give you the basic tools to have a go yourself.
According to the Wikipedia page:
A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, identifying the goal of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization's values or philosophies, a business's main competitive advantages, or a desired future state—the "vision".
Now don't worry if this sounds like an awful lot for a small business! You don't need to go into this much depth at all.
For most businesses, you can start with writing a short statement (a few lines at most). You need to cover the function of the business, the target audience and some sense of how you are better/different/unique.
“Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realise it was leaning against the wrong building” ~ Dave Ramsey
Don't see your mission statement as a direct marketing or branding document. We don't write them to be persuasive. We don't even write them to tell our customers what we do.
They are to help us FOCUS. Once you've answered the basic questions (what, who, why...) you can direct all your resources at solving your customers' problems:
We actually recommend a step just before you come to write the mission statement. This step is optional, but we've found that it helps to get warmed up to the subject before you jump in.
The first step is to come up with three "core values". These are the words that best describe your brand. Don't get hung up on the word "brand". Even if you're a sole trader, it's still worth thinking in terms of branding at this stage.
You can come up with the words yourself if you like. If you find you're getting stuck, you can choose from a list like this one:
sincere, down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful, exciting, daring, spirited, contemporary, imaginative, competent, reliable, intelligent, successful, sophisticated, classy, glamorous, charming, smooth, high-tech, trustworthy, sustainable, innovative
At this stage, it's just a case of answering some basic questions. Then you can drop your answers into a mission statement template. We'll do one for Key Business Marketing to show you how it works:
So our mission statement would be:
We help small businesses to tell their stories and connect with their audiences, by building a powerful online presence through beautiful websites, engaging content and vibrant social media.
It's really that simple, so have a go! And if you'd like to discuss working with us to refine and optimise your digital marketing, please get in touch.