Every company, big or small, should have a mission statement. Why? When carefully conceived and well written, a mission statement can serve as a beacon to the world — letting everyone know what the business stands for and where it’s headed. It can build customer loyalty and mobilize people behind a common cause. And it can define the company’s collective personality, provide clear direction, and most of all, serve as a starting point for all of your marketing efforts. Here are some elements to consider when writing a mission statement: Target audience. This starts with customers, of course. But it also includes employees, job candidates, investors, lenders and the community at large. You can focus a mission statement on a combination of these groups or just one of them. Length. Some mission statements are only a single sentence. Others are long and complex, encompassing philosophies, objectives, plans and strategies. Generally, it’s best to come up with something in the middle that’s concise, easy to understand and actionable — again, a viewpoint from which your company will express itself and make decisions. Tone. Establishing the correct tone involves a process of intentional word selection. If the language is too flowery and cumbersome, readers may not take a mission statement seriously. Then again, something too short may come off as vague or flippant. Use appropriate language that’s directed at the target audience and reflects your strategic plans. Endurance. A mission statement should be able to withstand the test of time and, ultimately, have meaning in the long term. By the same token, its language should be current enough to reflect changes in the business and its competitive environment. A statement created years ago may no longer be relevant. Distinctiveness. Every company is different — even those in the same industry. Customize your mission statement to express what’s different and distinguishing about your business. An effective mission statement can be a great asset to an organization. Develop yours as part of an overall strategic planning process, starting with an analysis of your company’s culture, development, and prioritization of goals and objectives.
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