How to write a mission statement
Have you ever started working on something and got lost in the process? Like you didn’t know anymore what the purpose is and where you are going? It’s probably because you commence your project with answers to these questions: WHAT and HOW, but forgot about the most important, core question: WHY. Why you do what you do? WHY you want to do this? WHY this is important to you and WHY it is/should be important to your potential customers.
Start with WHY
A few years ago I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s YouTube video called ‘Start with why’. I don’t remember who introduced me to him, probably my friend from Meaning Makers, but that message revolutionised the way I see things.
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.
Every time I start working with a new client I always ask them: why they do what they do. You would be amazed how many times they struggled at the beginning with answering this question. It’s easy to state the obvious: to make money and pay the bills, or because they have more time after their kids got more independent. However, people connect with your product or service because of YOU and your core values and beliefs, with your passion for creating something that will meet their needs. If in the back of your mind your main reason for doing the business is money, you’ll always sound inauthentic and people will feel it. You know these MLM businesses? Don’t be like them.
Why is the mission statement important?
Because it gives you a frame of structure and your customers a feeling that you actually care about them and their needs. It also helps you stay on track of your purpose when the impostor syndrome kicks in.
What is your purpose?
Good question. I was struggling with this for a very long time. It’s almost like ‘what is the meaning of life?’ kind of question. I discovered that setting up goals and achieving them doesn’t work for me. I also realised that following the idea that you have to love what you do doesn’t work for me either. I believe that it’s better to focus on doing what we are good at and just enjoy the process of learning. Because we do constantly learn new things! There are so many possibilities and knowledge available, enough to keep you excited and inspired for a lifetime.
How to write a mission statement?
In order to write your mission statement, you need to identify people’s needs and state what you can do to meet those needs. The best way to find out what those needs are is to ask. Interview a few people and find out what it is that they need.
1. Jobs to Be Done
I started with something called A Job To Be Done statement. It gave me a frame of what I want to do and why I want to build my own business. This technique can also be used for interviewing people for market research.
Jobs to be done is a theory of consumer action. It describes the mechanisms that cause a consumer to adopt an innovation. The theory says that markets grow, evolve and renew whenever customers have a job to be done and then buy a product to complete it (get the job done).
You can read more about that theory HERE.
A job-to-be-done statement is based on 3 needs: FUNCTIONAL, EMOTIONAL and SOCIAL. A template of a statement looks like this:
I GOT Simply Inspired Business TO GET THE working for myself job DONE.
I CONSIDERED having a secure job forever, hiding, staying small and comfortable,
BUT GOT WHAT I GOT BECAUSE IT MADE ME FEEL inspired, more creative and aligned with my heart that I follow my calling, with the freedom to manage my time the way I desire while doing what I want to do.
AND IT GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW OTHERS that it is possible to create something meaningful and help others on the way.
In my case, Simply Inspired Business is my project, my business, this blog – it’s A PRODUCT I NEED in order to fulfil my desire of working for myself. As a result, I will create a service that will help others who want the same thing: working for themselves. That service should bring me income and improve my life.
My mission is to create a service that is inspiring and meaningful
for people who want to follow their calling, do the job they desire and help others on the way.
I’ve been planning to do this for a while: documenting my knowledge and skills – basically, everything I have learnt for all those years of working for different people, companies and as a freelancer. This blog serves me as part of this process, but I also wrote down my abilities:
- ORGANISE: I have the ability to collect and organise information/data and create accessible resources (like this blog).
- EXPLAIN: I have the ability to explain difficult things in an easy way and help others learn valuable skills (like the blog posts)
- HELP: I have the ability to help people understand complex issues, collect answers they didn’t have access to and put that knowledge into action (it could be a guide, an online course/program)
Now the final part. A list of questions that will help you write a complete mission statement.
You could go straight to this part but I know how it works in my case: I get overwhelmed very easily. When I reach the point of struggle my inner critic likes to take over my mind and convince me it’s better to just give up because ‘I’m rubbish, I’m not good enough, there are others who are/doing it better’. But going through all the steps I have listed in this article, helped me to stay inspired and motivated and really see my abilities and strengths. It also allowed me to access my heart and express the desires that will keep me going to do the Simply Inspired Business project. That is what the mission statement is all about.
Here are the questions:
- What have you found out that you believe is important to share?
- How does that make you feel?
- What do you believe you can do about it?
- What are you planning to do?
- When are you planning to do it?
- How can people follow the process?
- How can people participate?
- How can people get it?
You can read my completed mission statement HERE.
If you are like me, you need a summary of what to do next. Here it goes:
- Watch Simon Sinek’s video ‘Start with Why‘ – this will inspire you.
- Write your job statement – this will give you a frame of your mission statement.
- Write down your abilities (what skills, abilities and features you have that lead to customers’ benefits) – this will show you how much you know and how you can use this knowledge to help others.
- Answer the questions above and put them into your Mission Statement.