First thing first: your mission statement is NOT a slogan.
Slogans are short phrases that serve as a selling point for your business, or become synonymous with your brand (“just do it” or “the ultimate driving machine”). Mission statements are more complete: 1 or 2 sentences long, your company’s core values are distilled into an easy-to-understand idea.
Look at the “About Us” page on your website – or your sales brochure. Most small businesses don’t bother to write a mission statement, instead relying on a few paragraphs that describe the history of the company. But potential clients want to have a concrete idea of what your business is about, and they won’t read past the first few sentences. Coming up with a short statement that can be used across your marketing campaign is a great way to set your business apart from others!
Be specific. It seems all my How-To’s include this tip! But it is important to use language and phrasing that encompasses your specific niche in your industry (“tire experts” v. “automotive”) or your community (“in the Wake Forest area” v. “our town”). Think of your target market – where are they and what would they like to see?
Don’t use fluff. Buzzwords are a big turn-off for new potential customers who won’t understand what you mean. Keep your vocabulary accessible!
Clarity is key. This statement needs to clearly communicate what your business does. Too many companies use vague terms like “providing you the best service” without ever saying “providing the best catering service” – if we don’t understand what you’re saying, we won’t buy your product.
Be thrifty. Make sure you have a mission statement finalized before you change all your marketing materials!
Don’t be boring. Though I’m advocating clear, direct, no-fluff writing, it doesn’t have to be boring! Use some call-to-action language or humor that gets people’s attention. Show your mission statement to 10 strangers and see what their reaction is.
If you want a “cheat sheet,” try Entrepreneur Magazine’s mission statement worksheet.