What’s one question every entrepreneur should ask themselves when developing a company mission, and why?

Developing mission statement

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 Do I Stand For?

This should be top of mind whenever you start a company, whether a mission-based nonprofit or a for-profit enterprise. Try not to think in vague generalities. The market has enough of that. Instead, think of the core principles that you like to see reflected in the world. Then, choose those, enshrine them in your charter and embody them every day.

Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

2. Will the Language in This Mission Statement Help Me Grow?

When you’re crafting a mission statement, it’s not just about your present customers, but also about audiences you’re looking to grow into. If you’re too narrow with your external language, you may alienate potential new customers or partners.

Kyle Michaud, Experience Expositions

3. Does This Statement Clearly and Concisely Inspire Action?

Most mission statements are loaded with confusing industry jargon and are “we, we, we” statements. These are worthless. Instead, focus on what inspires your team to take action and achieve the vision of the company. Timelines help create urgency here also, such as “Create productivity habits for 10,000 customers within five years.”

Ron Lieback, ContentMender

4. What Makes My Company Different From My Competitors?

Never forget that you are not alone in the game. Even if you offer a new product or service, sooner or later rivals will appear (I say this from experience). Compare your company and your competitors carefully; the weaknesses of one may be the strengths of the other. Keep in mind that you are not only competing on price, but also on value.

Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve

Businesswoman solving problems

5. Who Do We Solve Problems For?

When developing a company mission, it’s important to think about who you’re catering to and who your audience is. Without pinning down your audience, it’s impossible to create a relevant mission statement you can actually follow. Understand who your target market is so it’s easier to create the perfect mission statement for your vision.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Will Our Mission Be the Same in Several Years?

A company mission should be everlasting as the company’s overarching goal. If you create one and think it’ll change, it’s probably not the right mission statement for you. You want to specify the company’s vision because a noncohesive mission creates disorganized strategies and campaigns.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

7. Does the Company Mission Align with Customers’ Needs?

It’s critical not to lose sight of what customers want when you’re building any part of your company. When your mission statement aligns with creating better experiences for customers, you’ll be sure of growing your business in the right direction.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Is This Mission Clear to Someone Outside of My Industry?

Far too often, mission statements include lofty goals, flowery language and industry buzzwords that have a high character count, but say very little. If it is hard to understand, it will do more harm than good. Write your statement in plain language and consider carefully the use of each word, its context and future implications.

Matthew Capala, Alphametic

Brand building on a budget

9. What’s the Motivation for My Brand?

A well-articulated brand mission must be informed by a core purpose aligned to how you will take action on your company’s values. Your core purpose should leverage a truth that will surprise the world and inspire a unique viewpoint that can give your brand an ownable role in the world.

Ryan Stoner, Dendro

10. Does the Company Mission Resonate with Everyone in the Business?

When leaders think of their mission without the input of the employees, they run the risk of creating distance between the company and the people in it. Send surveys throughout the business and get input on what your company mission should be. Getting feedback can change it for the better.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

11. What Is True to My Core?

Is it something you and your team can continuously do without lying to yourselves or overpromising to others? Your mission should be in harmony with your values and what you can actually do. Your mission should be authentic — something you can live by without pretending.

Daisy Jing, Banish

12. How Big Is Our Mission?

Your mission should be bigger than you, in a sense. It needs to speak to where the business is now while also gesturing toward the future. For example, our mission at Recruiter.com is “Recruit talent faster.” It describes a specific action but also gives us plenty of room to think big. It’s broad enough for the imagination but concrete enough to offer real guidance.

Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com