How a Mission Statement Helps Your Business
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Today I want to dive into Mission Statements.
We didn’t always have one for our business but now that we do, I wouldn’t go back.
This is one of those lessons that I wish I would have learned sooner.
When I first started doing photography, I was all over the place. I was determined to be successful and to learn the craft, while also growing a large client base and serving them. However, at that time, that meant I would take one nearly every single client.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I would barely charge anything, have 3-hour long sessions, and edit my life away. If a client wanted to do photos at high noon in an open field – sure, if they wanted to start just before sunset – sure. I didn’t have any rules governing how I answered their questions or even how I guided them.
Now, a lot of this was simply learning. I needed to learn what served my clients while respecting my brand and style. But I didn’t have a guide for myself, I didn’t have a sounding board or anything to keep me in line when I might stray.
We aren’t going to dive into them today, but in accompany with my mission statement I have Core Values for my business that help me answer these questions.
Okay, so what is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a way to express your business’s vision and what makes it stand out. It should include your values, purpose, and objectives. A mission statement is used both externally and internally. So, keep this in mind as you begin writing yours. It should work as a stand-alone if a client stumbles upon it, but you should also be able to use it internally when making decisions and guiding the direction of your business.
Let’s chat about how you can write a mission statement.
I love to think of the mission statement as a navigation tool to guide your business (and your team members) in a forward direction with a unified front. Because of this, you’ll want to identify your goals and development strategy.
A mission statement shouldn’t be a business plan or a marketing strategy, it should be a statement that is all encompassing for your business, simple, straightforward but inclusive of your overall desires and purpose.
Now, I wish I could tell you to pull out a pen and start writing your mission statement (not yet!), but you likely need to write out your businesses purpose, your goals, what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it before you can start on your mission statement.
Once you’ve gotten these things down on paper you can use them to guide the process of writing your mission statement. Here are a few examples of mission statements from brands you probably know.
Who We Are
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon.
IT Our Mission is to make the world more beautiful. Through our products, through our actions and through our belief that everyone is beautiful and deserves to feel their most beautiful. We work with plastic surgeons and dermatologists to create skin-loving products that deliver real results. We exist to empower you to feel your most confident.
Our mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. [*If you have a body, you are an athlete.] This mission drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.
Amazon dives into details in the mission statement but listing specific products and pledges.
IT Cosmetics founder, Jamie Kern Lima, started her vision with the idea that models didn’t have to sell the makeup, it could be real women with real skin issues and she has lived by that from day one, even when it was hard to ignore the outside telling her models would sell her product well. She stayed true to herself and the company, as you heard above, is standing true to everyone’s beauty.
Nike makes it very clear who an athlete is, and who they are speaking to in their mission. This way, if you read it you know it’s speaking to you.
Here is Sarah Bradshaw, a Photographer’s Mission statement.
Our enduring purpose, that guides everything we do, is to inspire a vision of intentional, generational love and connection through timeless and authentic imagery.
A mission statement doesn’t have to be long; it doesn’t have to be one sentence; it can be as long or short as needed to get your mission across.
A mission statement will give your clients an inside look at the desires of your business. The mission statement will create consistency and support your brand vision. A mission statement is a powerful way you can speak to the public, sharing your values, vision and purpose. It showcases your passion that will intrigue your ideal client and reassure them of your determination.
Internally, a Mission statement will spark new ideas, create company culture and support your team members to grow in their roles with the business. If your team is a bit scattered, using the mission statement to bring everyone back together is a great way to refocus. A mission statement also helps build consistency because it’s a guide for everyone (including yourself) within the business. Now, you may not have a large team, or any employees at all. But sharing your mission statement with your Virtual Assistant, with your web designer and anyone else who helps you is important, because it will give them the bigger picture.
Okay, so we can talk about this until I am blue in the face – but let’s discuss some action items:
- writing your businesses purpose
- your goals
- what you want to achieve
- how you want to achieve it
Then you will have some data to pull from when starting your mission statement.
Stay tuned, as we will be diving into Writing your Core Values soon!
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