Father Rutler, the pastor of the Church St. Michael’s the Archangel in Manhattan believes that running a church is very much like running a business. You really need a mission statement.
What is a mission statement? As Rutler explains, a mission statement is a brief (often a sentence or short paragraph) definition of why your company exists and what tends to differentiate you from the rest.
Want an example of a mission statement? Roughly speaking, one of the most popular online shopping services in the world concentrates on striving to offer our customers the lowest possible prices and one of the best selections with the utmost of convenience.
As Father Rutler wants to point out, this company spent a great deal of time crafting this mission statement. It appears everywhere in the company’s marketing, and it is not just a bunch of buzzwords that have been put together.
Nor does it contain anything that is unrealistic or even sound like it. For example, if you start a small roofing company, it might sound a bit pretentious to say your goal is to have the best roofing company within the United States. Particularly if you are located in Valley City North Dakota, population 6,500.
What about the thousands of other roofing companies? YOu might be better off declaring that your goal is to be the best roofing company in Barnes County.
Some claim the best process of forming a Business Mission statement is to follow the VIPS approach.
V in this case states for value. Note that when defining value, you are threading a double-edged sword. You not only want to state to your customers what value you bring to them, but also to your employees why they should want to work there.
I stand for inspiration. This generally is targeted at why employees specifically should want to work for you. P stands for plausibility. Don’t make claims that are untrue or are unlikely true.
If you make a great-tasting peanut butter, don’t claim it will also help people lose weight. Be like Sergeant Friday on Dragnet. Just stick with the facts.
S stands for specificity. Going back to our roofing company, if you state that each employee is personally supervised by a master roofer for 500 hours, that’s a specific claim.
There are also five general keys to writing your mission statement:
- 1. Keep it short and sweet. A few sentences at most.
- 2. Don’t write with flowery words. This is not a college essay.
- 3. Do think long term. Leave room in your mission statement for expansion and growth.
- 4. Ask for employee feedback. Your employees are a great resource to hone your mission statement down. They may even have ideas you’ve left out.
- 5. Don’t be afraid to change it.
A mission statement is not like the constitution. New elements in your business environment or new innovations are likely to dictate that after a year or two that you change it. Remember, you are not locked in.