A small business business plan gives the entrepreneur the equivalent of a road map when starting out or expanding. In creating the business plan, one key step is determining the mission. This will help guide the rest of the planning. This article offers input into crafting the mission statement.
When creating a small business plan (or a plan for any size of business actually) you’ll need a succinct statement that captures the major elements of your business. Yes, that means it’s both concise and all-encompassing at the same time. That’s why this is one of the tougher steps in making a small business plan.
Still, the mission statement becomes like the shining North Star for your business. It provides you with a steady focal point to return to every time you have to make a business decision about your products and services, pricing, customer relationships, employee culture, and so on. The mission statement will also typically appear on your business website to help prospects, customers, investors, and other partners to gauge whether or not they want to do business with you.
Consider these examples:
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for many people.
- Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
- Warby Parker: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
Read on to learn more about ways to craft the mission statement when creating a business plan for small business, such as:
- Interview yourself
- Draft long
- Think long-term
- Get input
Sit down and ask yourself the important questions about why you are even developing a small business plan in the first place:
- Why are you going into business?
- What inspires your passion for your product or service?
- What needs are you meeting with this business?
- What philosophies or values motivate you?
- How do you want the outside world to see your business?
- Who are your customers?
- What kind of business culture do you want to have?
- What role will you and your employees play in the community?
- How do you differ from competitors?
Yes, the mission statement should be short and concise. You have only a few sentences for your mission statement when it is finished. But, right now, you are just drafting the mission statement.
Based on the answers to the questions above, go ahead and write a long paragraph. Fill a page. If you remember free writing from school (when you just wrote whatever came to mind without worrying about anyone else seeing it or grading it), try that too. This is you using writing to think on paper.
By giving yourself the freedom to just write whatever comes to mind, you may find you come up with just the phrasing you want. Or something close enough to refine it to really speak to you and any stakeholders in the next stage.
OK, we gave you permission to write long. But you write for yourself, and you edit for your audience. Now you need to find a way to capture the balance between realism and optimism. Take all those ideas you captured and hone them down to a few sentences that capture your brand and are memorable.
Take Honest Tea’s mission statement: “Honest seeks to create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages. We strive to grow our business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our recipes, with sustainability and great taste for all.”
You know they didn’t get to this straightforward yet uplifting message in a first draft! It will take work to get your mission statement to do the essential work of concisely communicating what your company does, how it does so, and why.
The mission statement is your “‘reason for existing’ statement,” so, of course, you need this to create a small business plan. It may work for you to create a mission statement that is longer for internal use and a more specific customer-facing one.
Hubspot offers 100 Mission Statement Examples and Templates in their ebook.
The mission statement serves as an internal compass. So, don’t limit yourself. Although, yes, you can change your mission statement as your company evolves, you can start out by positioning yourself for long-term goals. For instance, instead of stating that you want to make the best donuts in Dalhousie, you could leave room to expand your market beyond that specific market.
This is also a good moment to clarify the difference between a mission and a vision statement. The two aren’t interchangeable, although there will be overlap. While the mission is your objectives and how you plan to reach those, the vision looks into the future. The vision statement captures where you want the business to go.
Creating your perfect mission statement isn’t easy, but the hard work will pay off. One more step to add to the process? Seek input from people who understand your business and its objectives. Their input can provide fresh insight. They may also find that awkward wording or typo you missed by being too close to the writing.
A good mission statement is going to engage your employees, inspire stakeholders, and resonate with customers. So, take the time to solicit feedback before going live with your mission statement.
How To Develop a Small Business Plan
The mission statement is only one component of building a business plan for a small business. This article aimed to help you understand its importance while providing guidance on how to hone in on your specific mission. To learn more about making a small business plan, review the helpful articles in our Resource Center.