I’ll bet you did not know that your mission statement is nearly as important as your business plan! If you are an artist or a business owner, your mission statement, or artist’s statement is a major contributing factor to your success. Many people skip this part of their business setup altogether. Why? Because it takes you on a journey within; some people are uncomfortable with that. But, my perspective is that it’s crucial and once completed, will go far in really giving you laser focus on your branding process.
May I direct your attention to the graphic image attached to this post? Read each word, let it soak in before moving to the next one. Now, do you feel that sharing your business perspective on each of these words is important to impart to your readers, clients, potential customers? If you don’t think so, your business will not reach it’s full potential. The mission statement process will assist you in truly defining what you stand for. It is an opportunity to review and share your business’s goals, ethics, and its heart and soul.
I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true. Walt Disney
Just like I explained in my post “Your Recommended Branding Process,” you will need to ask yourself the right questions. Here are just some to consider to get your creative juices flowing:
- What is your “why,” why did you start a business?
- Who is your target audience? Who are you selling to or serving? (More details on this in my next post)
- What is the image you want to project about your business from a customers perspective? A competitor’s perspective? A sponsor or vendor’s perspective?
- What benefits do you offer your customers?
- You are not the only one after your customer’s dollars. What do you do better? Faster? Easier? What weaknesses do your competitors have that you can exploit?
- Make a list of what your beliefs about business and service are and what your deep underlying philosophies are to help you clarify the “why” behind your mission for your business. List these separately.
There are other good questions to ask as well, but I find this is little exercise really helps to get the process started easily. I’m a very visual person. Close your eyes and imagine a real person contemplating on buying whatever it is you are selling. Why do they want what you have? How did they find you? What challenges or problems does buying from you solve for them? You don’t need to write down the scenario, just write down the answers to the questions.
Awhile ago, I read a blog post by my friend Donna Merrill about Using An Avatar When Blogging where she describes the process she uses to identify with her blog readers that she’s trying to help. I think it’s a great idea for identifying with your customers period. Make them real in your mind. Here’s my avatar I came up with:
Sarah represents my average art buyer. She is in her early 50’s, lives in a golfing community and is a retired career professional. She is smart, sophisticated, well-educated and keeps up with the latest technology (notice the smartphone in her hand). She enjoys golf, the theater, karaoke with her friends on girl’s night out, and loves classical rock and roll. She’s not quite a baby-boomer, a bit younger. She and her husband travel 2 or 3 times a year and spend their summers in cooler Sedona Arizona. They both love wildlife and donate annually to The Nature Conservancy of Arizona. At the end of the day, she and her husband enjoy a glass of red wine to relax.
With this exercise in mind, it will help when I go through the process of writing my mission statement. It isn’t necessary to actually write the description of your customer the way I did if you really don’t want to. But try to imagine a real buyer going through the process of actually buying whatever you are selling. Why do they want what you have? How did they find you? Why would they buy from you? Have them in mind when writing your mission statement.
Sometimes people find this process a bit difficult. Let me make it even easier for you. Here’s a free tool I use to really laser-focus the mission statement process. This particular process will take you deep inside your true core values and bring certain unique qualities to light. Once the data is magically processed, you will have the data necessary to then write your mission statement from it. This may take you about 20 minutes or so depending on how in touch you really are with your emotions and core beliefs in general. But, first take a look around to explore mission statements from key figures from history. When you’re ready to dig in, click on “Build A Mission Statement” in the navigation.
- Prepare. Find a quiet place to work. This process may take a few hours so be prepared. Sometimes there are several people involved in the process. Make sure you have water and snacks available with rest rooms nearby. Be prepared to do a brief presentation of what a mission statement is and what your responses were to the above questions to bring everyone up to speed prior to brainstorming.
- Brainstorm. Consider every possible idea, no matter how silly or strange it may get. Take a look at sample mission statements, other business mission statements, and review the responses to all the questions above. Record all suggestions and ideas for later review. At the end, have each individual write their best mission statement for your business. Then, read them aloud. Save the very best parts for later consideration.
- Wording. Encourage visionary words, words that create a dynamic visual image and inspires action. Choose words that are colorful that spice it up. If you want people to be proud to have bought from you, add that to the statement and include reasons why.
- Length. Remember the final outcome should be fairly short. When editing, look carefully to make sure your statement isn’t “hype” sounding like all the empty blah statements that are common to many businesses that didn’t actually work on their mission statement. Believe in your mission! Cut out anything that is too common or unimportant. You are stringing together special elements that represent YOU. Keep is simple, unique, and like a motto for life that you can refer to and use as a reminder.
- Advertise. Once you feel your mission statement is finished, tell everyone you know and advertise to all that you know where you are going, who you are, what you’ve got, and why. Put it on your website or blog and on the back of your business cards. Be proud of your mission statement.
If you found this post to be valuable or helpful in some way, please share it on your favorite platform so I can help someone else the way I just helped you. Thank you for sharing!