Do you know what your company’s mission is? Better yet, do your employees know your mission?
We’re not talking about increasing revenue or even accomplishing your business goals. Your mission is about the philosophies that guide you and your company.
Your mission is made up of the philosophies and principles that gave you the confidence to start your own business; they’re the reason you do what you do and say what you say—your why. Why you provide the services or products you do and why you do it the way you do.
These philosophies, your mission, should guide every part of your business.
While you most likely have an inherent understanding of what your mission is, it can be difficult to articulate it in a precise and understandable way that others, especially your employees, can understand. And it’s important that everyone, especially your employees, understand the why of your business.
A shared mission helps your team come together because it gives them insight into how and why you want everyone on your team to exemplify those beliefs.
Here are six steps to help you figure out your mission statement.
1. Know Your Goals
At Beacon Marketing, we place a lot of importance on goal setting. We believe that your goals act as a beacon (no pun intended) for your marketing efforts.
One of the best ways to understand your mission is to review your business and marketing goals. (Or set some marketing goals if you have not already done so.) Your goals are a reflection of what you want to achieve over the course of time. You can use this to better understand your foundation and how you want your business to grow and mature from there.
2. Know Your Audience
Examine your target audience. Knowing who you want to serve should tell you a lot about your company’s mission.
For instance, Beacon Marketing’s target audience is small- and medium-sized businesses. That has not changed since we first conceptualized our new business. Everything we do from how we design our services to how we promote ourselves to how we deliver on our promises is informed by who we want to help.
Your target audience plays an integral role in shaping your company’s mission. Why? Your business needs customers to survive and grow, but you can’t attract and maintain customers if you can’t reach, communicate, and make a connection with them.
3. Understand How You Will Serve Your Audience
Once you examine your audience, you need to look at how you serve them. This does not mean looking at the services or products you provide. Instead, look at how you provide those services. An example of this is Zappos, a shoe company that made customer service THE company’s main product. (Have you heard the story of one of their customer service reps staying on the phone for ten and half hours to assist a customer?)
We’re not suggesting you do this, but you can see that, even though shoes are how Zappos generate revenue, providing customer service is the real way they serve their customers. Their mission is to provide the most exceptional customer service in the industry, and they’re delivering on that mission.
Clearly defining this part of your mission is critical to getting everyone on your team to understand exactly how you want each customer to be treated.
4. Communicate about Communication
As we have stated throughout this blog, defining your company’s mission is about getting everyone on your team to buy into the philosophies that led to you starting your business. For them to do that, you need to share your mission with everyone.
This is where a mission statement usually comes in. As important as we believe having and articulating your mission is, we are not big proponents of having a mission statement.
Aside from being somewhat ubiquitous in many workplaces, which make them easy to ignore, we believe it is hard to fully articulate the philosophies that guide you and decision making into a two-three sentence statement.
Rather, we believe in sharing your mission via regular communications with your team. Make sure they understand what is expected of them as they interact with customers or fulfill orders. Make sure your marketing team understands how you want them to communicate with your audience via your marketing content. And make sure those actions are all in line with your mission.
5. Put the Team in Teamwork
Communication is only one part sharing your company’s mission. Teamwork is really where it all comes together. Speak to leaders and trusted employees to make sure they understand your mission and they know what role they play in making that mission a reality.
Follow up with them and get input on how it is being received across your organization. Try to understand if there are better ways to carry out your mission. Showing this level of trust will increase their commitment and better your understanding of your company.
6. Be Persistent with Consistency
What your mission really does is to define a culture for your business. Like Zappos and their commitment to customer service, your mission will define who and what your business is about. It will take persistence and consistency on your part to make your mission a part of your culture. If you sway or appear not to be fully committed, then your team will have trouble committing themselves.
A well developed and articulated mission serves like a northern star. It will not only guide you, but will guide your entire team.
Even if you inherently know your mission statement, and feel that maybe your employees have an idea as well, it’s important to take the time to define them and understand them. Because you aren’t clear on your mission, you won’t be able to articulate and communicate that with your employees or your customers. And it’s easy to find yourself lost that way.