I'll start by clarifying one thing. Some organisations use the word Mission, others Purpose. Whatever word you prefer, it describes your reason for being. In this article, we're going to use the word Mission.

No matter how small or new a business might be, they should have a mission statementNo matter how small or new a business might be, they should have a mission statement.

Just like creating your company's Vision Statement, something we cover in the post called "How To Create Your Vision Statement In Three Easy Steps" some organisations find it hard to write down their Mission Statement in simple, unambiguous language.

However, it's easy to get clarity on your business' Mission if you follow this simple three-step process.

  1. Identify your most important stakeholder
  2. Establish what this stakeholder expects from you
  3. If required, add some context

To illustrate how this works, here are two examples from some of the world's best-known businesses:

BHP Billiton

The Mission of BHP Billiton, one of the largest mining companies in the world, is ‘To create long-term shareholder value through the discovery, acquisition, development and marketing of natural resources'.

They've identified their most important stakeholder as their shareholders, and they've established their shareholders want them to create long-term value. In their case, the context is just that they will deliver on their mission through the discovery, acquisition, development and marketing of natural resources. Simple.

Walmart

Walmart's Mission is ‘To save people money so they can live better'.

They've identified their most important stakeholder as the people who use their stores, which is pretty evident for a supermarket, and they know these people expect to save money when they shop there. In their case, the context of doing this is so their customers can live better, presumably because they have more money to spend on other aspects of their life.

A mistake smaller businesses make is they think Mission Statements are only for the big boys such as those in the examples above. This is not the case. No matter how small or new a business might be, they should have a mission statement.

Having a mission statement gives clarity to the whole organisation about why they get out of bed in the morning, and this is vital in the context of, for example, an organisations strategy execution.

Being clear about the problems your business solves and for whom ensures other aspects of your business slot into place — for example, creating buyer personas or ideal customer profiles, an activity that's vital for business growth.

Here at Alertise, we got clear about our Mission very early on. We recognised our most important stakeholder is the CEO, and we established they wanted us to help them run their business. In our case, the context referred to today's complex, fast-changing world.

Using this information we arrived at "Help CEOs manage their business in today's complex fast changing world" as our Mission Statement.

Using the three steps described in this article will help you create your Mission Statement. However, don't worry if you find yourself fine-tuning it over the coming months, this is not unusual. Like any form of the written word, it can take time to refine until you find the perfect and succinct end product.

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