What’s one question you should always ask yourself when developing a company mission? Why?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. What Is Our Story?
Your story matters more than the statement. The story that allows the audience to feel your emotion and passion to empathize or sympathize or trigger something they can relate to — this is more powerful than a few words.
2. Do We Have an Ulterior Motive?
Unfortunately, many mission statements contain content that could be interpreted as misleading or unrealistic. This is usually due to founders loading mission statements with goals that might help with fundraising or check social impact boxes. Mission statements should be durable and consistent as a company grows, with authentic goals in place.
3. Will It Resonate With Employees?
Will this resonate with my employees? Employees need to be fully bought into the company’s mission in order for them to have pride in what they’re building.
4. Will We Strive for the Same Things 10 Years From Now?
Although some businesses are dynamic and are regularly changing their positions and policies on the products they’ll produce and the services they’ll offer, a more meaningful mission is one you can focus on for decades to come. That’s also something customers will be more likely to remember you by since you’ll be consistent in your values.
5. Is It Authentic and Meaningful?
People should always ask themselves if the company’s mission is authentic and meaningful. You don’t want to plop on a mission or jump into a movement that isn’t core to the brand. You can’t be everything to everybody and you can’t have every cause be your cause. But if you pick something with a very strong correlation to the product and company objective, it will always feel right.
6. What Is the Passion Behind the Company?
Your mission should speak to what you want to accomplish as an organization. Remembering the passion felt when the initial business plan was developed will add energy and inspiration to your mission. Passing those feelings on to your employees and customers creates an excitement that sets you apart from the competition and fuels employee engagement.
7. What Do We Really Want to Be?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one sets goals depending on the current state of their financial and personal situation. In other words, usually a person sets goals depending on their past experiences. But one can never reach great heights without breaking the mental barriers that are created by limited thinking. So ask yourself what you really want to be, regardless of your financial state.
8. What Transformation Do We Want Others to Experience?
What is the transformation you want others to experience? Too many times mission statements are built around the deliverables. Organizations share what they offer and forget to share about how the offer makes the client or customer better in the long-run. Share your “why” before you share the “what” or “how.”
9. Who Is This For?
The question I would ask is, “Who is this for?” The company’s mission statement can be relevant to internal and external stakeholders. So, you want to think about who this mission statement is for and how it will impact them. Is your mission meant to motivate employees or to look after customers, or both? When you think about this question, you’ll be able to refine your statement.
10. Does It Scale and Align With Our Business Plan?
Aligning a mission with a business plan is a practical concern that underscores authenticity. Your mission must be driven by your bottom line. Too many mission statements are not aligned with the business and lack authenticity, conveying a false and flowery narrative instead. Align your mission with your business and make sure it can scale.
11. How Do We Stand Out From the Competition?
Because consumers have so many options to choose from, they can afford to be picky about which brands they invest in. That’s why you need to stand out in your company mission statement and show people why they should choose you. How does your company offer a unique experience?
12. What Will Our Contributions Be?
Each project or mission within the company should have contributions or positive aspects which should be studied. It is important to be certain that these projects or contributions are ones that will favor the development of the company from any angle and can add to the objectives for the overall operation of the business.
13. Will It Still Be Relevant in Five Years?
Will this mission statement be relevant five or 10 years down the line? A mission statement shouldn’t just reflect your current goals and plans. Think about how your business will grow and look in the years to come. Will your mission statement reflect your values even then? A question like this will help keep your mind open toward more possibilities and to grow in the future.
14. Why Do We Do What We Do?
This is an extension of our buyer persona but focuses more on the reason behind why we offer the products we do and why we want to help our customers. Yes, we want to make money, but it’s got to be more than that. And it doesn’t have to be a grand ideal to be a valid mission — just meaningful.
15. Where Are We Now and Where Do We Want to Be?
To solve or understand the purpose and duty of the company, one should be comfortable in accepting its current state and sorting out the goals with an estimated deadline. One of the most effective ways to draw out the mission statement is by thinking about the goals. In other words, imagine your business has already achieved its goals. Then you can connect the dots by thinking backward.