5 Signs You Need a Mission Statement
A good mission statement is like having guardrails. It keeps you on the path you've decided you want to take and prevents you from going off a cliff.
If your mission statement isn't clear, concise, memorable, and shareable, it's about as useful as not having one at all.
LISTEN below or scroll past to read about it instead.
A mission is not just something you sort of know in your head. No Way.
It's an impactful, decision-making, message-inspiring, client connecting, get-on-the-same-page tool that you can actually put to work for your business.
And they're not just for non-profits anymore.
You should have a mission statement for all of your endeavors.
Yep. Every. Single. One.
For those of you who are either on the fence about whether to invest a couple of hours to write a mission statement or who have one and don't understand it's value, I'm going to share 5 signs you need a mission statement (or a new one).
If you're convinced, you can download my free guide: How to Write a Killer Mission Statement (with examples) below.
Get your free guide To WRITE A KILLER MISSION STATEMENT:
SIGN # 1
You have trouble describing what you do.
When someone asks you what you do (or you have to write a one-sentence bio for an online profile), do you struggle to give a concise and clear answer?
That's a clear sign that you need to get focused (and work on how to describe that focus). How, you ask? By writing a mission statement of course! Writing a mission statement isn't just something you do to check the box. It's an eye-opening exercise that makes you really evaluate what you do and for whom.
You might be thinking right now that you can't write a focused mission statement because you have multiple interests and don't want to niche-down so much that you get bored and can't find enough clients.
I've heard this many times. Let me tell you what I tell my clients.
Have multiple distinct things you do? You might need multiple distinct endeavors with different mission statements (and if these endeavors aren't already established, I suggest working on one at a time to prevent overwhelm).
Can't see how they might be different endeavors/businesses? Then they are probably more related than you think and just need some more work to fit under one mission.
Can't find commonalities? Then perhaps they aren't true to what you really want to be doing and what you're really good at and it's time to really get honest with yourself and make some tough decisions. Really 😉
I have LOTS of interests and skills. I have a mission statement for my coworking space, Platform 53, another one for this pathfinding strategy business, and another one for the pre-marital class my husband and I help facilitate. Within both of my businesses, I have multiple offerings, but they all support the same mission and so they feel like they belong in the business portfolio. FYI, all three of these serve a single PURPOSE. Things that I've tried to force-fit into my business and mission never work out like I'd hoped and end up being a solid waste of time and effort.
There's a reason that I'm on a mission became a saying. Wouldn't you rather be on a mission than dabbling in this and dabbling in that?
SIGN # 2
Why someone should hire you isn't clear.
If you have a good mission statement, it's something that you can use to inspire your words as you write and speak so people instantly know if you're the right person to help them with their problem.
I mentioned before that a good mission statement includes what you're doing and for whom. What you're doing doesn't just mean the actions you're taking, but also what the actions DO for the people or organizations you're serving.
What is the result or outcome of your work with your clients? What does it do for them? THIS belongs in your mission statement.
Writing one helps you clarify this impact and put it into clear and concise language that makes it easy for the right people to want to hire you for the right things. We have short attention spans and are constantly bombarded by marketing messages. In order to get noticed by the right people for the right things, you need to be crystal clear and very concise. A good mission statement is both of those things.
SIGN # 3
You don't get much referral business.
Let me demonstrate the power of a well-written mission statement.
What if the person we imagined earlier (that asked you what you do) meets your IDEAL client. The type of client you dream of. That client describes a challenge they have. A challenge YOU are perfectly suited to solve. If only this imaginary person would recall you at this exact moment and refer this imaginary ideal client to you. But alas, your five-minute convoluted answer about what you do (without much clarity on why someone should hire you either) quickly flew from his memory to make room for more clear and easy-to-remember stuff. Shoot! One less ideal client for you.
Do you think you would have been more memorable and sharable if you instead answered the what do you do question with a clear and concise statement about your mission?
Getting more referral business is just one of the many reasons you need a mission statement that is clear, concise, memorable, and shareable.
SIGN # 4
You have trouble making decisions, like whether or not to take on certain clients and projects.
A good mission statement can (and should) be used as a decision-making tool. If you're on the fence about whether to put your hat in the ring for a new type of project or take on a new type of client, you can look at your mission statement (you should actually be able to recall it by heart) and ask yourself if the work is on-mission or off-mission. If it's not a fit, you can feel good about saying no because you already did the hard work making the decision about what you were going to focus on when you wrote your mission statement, so you don't have to start all over and evaluate each new opportunity from scratch.
Feeling FOMO from saying no? While the short-term money gain may be nice (and don't get me wrong, there is a time when you do need to take this work on - it just shouldn't be your long-term plan), there is an opportunity cost to everything. Spending time off-mission means less time to spend on-mission and doing the stuff you decided you really want to be doing and are really good at. I usually find that work outside of my focus-area is not only more time-consuming, but also more stressful, leaving me less emotional and mental energy for my mission-led work.
Nearly every time I've decided to take on off-mission work I have come to regret it.
SIGN # 5
When you collaborate with or hire someone, you're not always on the same page.
When you're working towards the same mission as someone else, something clicks. You're inspired, you're on the same page, you make decisions more easily, and you feel more confident that you're doing the right work in the right way (and feel similarly about the other person's work).
Ever had to have someone redo work for you because it wasn't in line with your vision (or maybe you were the one who had to redo work you were hired for)? Chances are that a mission statement could have helped reduce confusion and re-work and led to a more spot-on output. AND if the people you bring on to your team know what your ultimate goal is, they can use their expertise to provide recommendations that are in-line with where you're headed, likely resulting in something even better than your original vision.
Here they are in a nutshell
5 Signs You Need a Mission Statement (or a new one)
#1: You have trouble describing what you do.
#2: Why someone should hire you isn't clear.
#3: You don't get much referral business.
#4: You have trouble making decisions, like whether or not to take on certain clients and projects.
#5: When you collaborate with or hire something, you're not always on the same page.
Are you convinced you need a mission statement (or new one) yet?
If so, don't forget to grab my free guide: How to Write a Killer Mission Statement (with examples).
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I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you build a kick-ass business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
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