Your company’s mission statement answers the simple question, why do you exist?
Having a good answer to that question isn’t trivial.
Having a good answer to that question will influence every decision you make about your business. It defines your purpose.
Without a clearly articulated mission, people are left with their default assumption that all business exists for one purpose -- to make money. Sure, we all want to make money, but that is rarely the sole purpose of successful, enduring businesses. You have to dig deeper.
With a clear mission, you are more clear about who you serve. You are more clear about the services (or products) you offer. You are more clear about what sets you apart from the competition and about the kind of culture you want to build.
In short, your mission statement is the backbone of your business, your north star.
When you’re unsure about a tough decision you have to make, you can turn to your mission. When you’re trying to grow your business but have lost your direction, you can turn to your mission. When you or your team are floundering or unfocused, you turn to your mission.
I could go on and on, but this article isn’t about convincing you of the value of having a mission statement (if you need more convincing, read this). I wrote this article to show you how to create a mission statement -- and in less than 5 minutes.
Enough preamble. Let’s get started.
Set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes.
Grab a pen and paper. In my experience, writing is more effective than typing for this kind of exercise, but you do you.
For each step, I’ll share what I wrote when I first did this exercise several years ago so you can see how it relates to our current mission statement at Mark Fisher Fitness.
Step #1 If you could have one word engraved on your tombstone that represents the impact you want your life to have what would it be? Write it down.
I know this can feel a little morbid, but lean into it. What do you want your legacy to be? For me the word that came up was “generous”.
Step #2 Of all the words you could have chosen, write a few thoughts about why you chose that word and what it means to you.
I chose generous because I want to be known for passionately sharing my time, knowledge, and treasure. I wholeheartedly believe that we each have within us everything we need to thrive. And when we share our insights and experience with others it can inspire them to new beliefs and actions.
Step #3 How can your business support your goal of being known for that quality?
My business can support my goal of being seen as generous by having a team that fully embraces the value of service to others. Serving others without judgement and without agenda is the ultimate act of generosity. The MFF team will embody this generous spirit, showing with our actions that every human is unique and whole and valuable.
Step #4 If your answer to #3 was a mission statement intended to articulate why you exist, what would it be?
Mark Fisher Fitness exists to unlock and amplify each human’s inherent power to live their best life.
There it is. You have a first draft of your mission statement. Keep refining until it feels right -- which could take longer than our five minute time limit.
Your mission statement does not have to sound anything like MFF's. It can be more lighthearted and whimsical, or more serious and focused. You’ll know you have one that works when you and your team read it and feel energized.
If your mission statement is your north star, your guiding light, then reading it should fill you with pride and determination. If you read yours and think, “meh”, then keep writing. You’ll get there.
Once you have a mission statement that you are satisfied with, it’s time to animate that mission with your team. Share it with everyone and discuss how each of you will energize that mission with your attitudes and actions.
The work of driving toward your mission never ends. It’s a mountain with no top.
Use your mission as a regular reminder of why you are showing up each day. A clear purpose with consistent, focused effort is the best recipe for starting and growing any business.
What this a helpful exercise?
What’s your company’s mission statement?
Need help? Share in the comments below.