Purpose. A short word with a big meaning. Purpose should drive everything you do. Without purpose there is no meaning and no direction. You are on a mission. You started your business for a variety of reasons... you found a gap that needs to be filled... you grew tired of working for the man... you gained valuable experience and desire to put that experience to work... but. whatever the reason you must have a purpose. Branding your startup or business without asking this question will set you on a path towards chaos, failure and destruction. So, WHY DO YOU EXIST?
BRANDING PILLAR THREE: MISSION
I have talked about the first two of the five pillars of branding in my blogs on Beliefs and Values. Your purpose or why you exist is all about your MISSION. It too is connected to what you believe and what you value. Developing a mission statement should take time. Brainstorm, draft, review, re-write, review, re-write until you have a mission statement that will direct your efforts and act as the main filter through which everything in your business is run. Adding products or services, hiring the right people, even targeting the right customers when run through your mission statement should come out the other side or it should not be done. Mission gives you a focus. While your vision can change and is unique as the person describing it, your mission is static. It should not change... even after 30-40 years in business. Understanding how important your mission is, let's talk about developing an effective mission statement, how you can arrive at the right one and one that will last a lifetime.
Mission: The Foundation of Branding Your Business
Your mission statement serves as the foundation for all that you are and all that you do.. Since it is lifelong, your final mission statement should be broad enough so that it can include new products and services and not so broad as to not offer any direction at all. While it has to do with what you provide, it is much more than that. Your mission statement should describe "why you exist" and include:
- what you do (deeper and broader than just products and services)
- your target audience (who you direct your actions to)
- the results of what you do and what it will accomplish (the desired outcome of your ideal customer doing business with you)
While beliefs and values (the first two pillars) drive the day to day activity of your business, mission directs these behaviors and actions towards your desired outcome.
With beliefs and values serving as the backdrop, brainstorming begins. If you have high level employees that will help you succeed, I would suggest including them in the brainstorming session. There are no right or wrong answers. You want your brainstorming session to flow. Write down ideas. Here are some tips to help you:
- Start with just words and not complete sentences. Remember that words have power.
- Eliminate words that are duplicated or have similar meanings. End up with 3-5 power words.
- Build a sentence or statement using your final power words .
- Repeat the last step until you have 3-5 statements.
- Stop and review your top statements and wordsmith them. Mix and match but be sure to keep your power words intact.
- Stop. Take a day or two, then come back and look at your statements again and wordsmith some more.
- Decide on your final mission statement.
A PERSONAL EXAMPLE
I decided I needed a personal mission statement. I went through these same exercises and landed on the following power words based on my beliefs and values.... SERVE...EMPOWER... INDIVIDUALS... COMPANIES (that is where lots of individuals work together)...REACH HIGHEST DESTINY... HEART FOR MY CITY...TRANSFORM. I built sentences using these power words and shortened some of them. I continued to follow the steps above. Here is my personal mission statement:
"I exist to serve and empower individuals and organizations to reach their maximum purpose in order to transform my city".
My beliefs and values set the stage for my mission statement. It is broad enough so that I can provide services in many different ways. Pointed at who I will work with and tied to a desired outcome that matches my passion.
The end result of what you do is important. If you are in the A/C business, you don't just fix air conditioners and do it right... you provide an atmosphere of comfort so families can flourish. If you sell top of the line cars, you do much more than that. You provide opportunities to transport people in style.
Establish your beliefs and values. Then, have fun working on your mission statement and get it right. Why you exist has put you on a mission. Go get'em!
READY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRANDING YOUR STARTUP