Creating a mission statement is one of the first steps to developing a startup. It outlines your startup's vision, and how your products or services address a gap in the marketplace or otherwise solve a problem.
While you might think this document is less important than designing your company logo or coming up with a brand name, you simply can’t ignore it.
Your mission statement outlines what you do and why you do it. This manifesto should summarise your company values and where you fit in the market. It should include a vision for the future as well as analysing the steps that you will need to take to achieve success.
Investors, customers and employees should be able to read the mission statement and immediately understand the value of the company. Here’s how to write a truly great one.
Describe what your company does
The first thing you need to do is define what your business does for its customers. Do you provide a brand new service, a cost-saving solution or cutting edge technology? Write about it! Now is the time to brag about how great you are.
If your business is good for the environment or supports the local community you should incorporate that here too. However, you should only include information that is 100% accurate.
You can’t simply throw in words like ‘’green’’ or ‘’clean’’ and hope for the best. Think about what defines you as a company and how you’re different from your competitors. You’re speaking to both your potential customers and your prospective employees.
Outline your goals
Your mission statement should identify short-term goals and long-term aspirations. Give specific examples of what your company aims to deliver to its customers.
If you choose to focus on the short-term goals then you will need to continually update the statement in order to stay relevant, but if you choose to focus on the long-term then it is important that you use simple and concise language so that everyone can understand what you are trying to say.
Keep it brief
Your mission statement does not have to be a long -winded. In fact, the best ones are often short and to the point. Here are some well-known mission statements from big brands.
‘’To create a better everyday life for the many people’’- IKEA
‘’To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy’’- Tesla
‘’Spread ideas’’- TED
Your mission statement shouldn’t be written in stone. Like your company, it will grow and change over time. It’s important that everyone is bought into it.
One way to do this is to hold discovery sessions. Ask employees, investors or friends of the company to craft individual statements. You can then take elements from each one. It’s a great way to get input from others on the team.
Things you should avoid
Your mission statement is not a cheesy sales pitch. It should be honest and open. Avoid buzzwords like "best," "excellence," and "leader". In fact, you should steer clear of jargon altogether unless your business is targeting a very specific niche where this will be understood.
According to Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, avoiding terms like the above make it easier to create a mission statement that stands out.