Some time ago, before I founded Sudymo Web Services, I was working with a client on their website and they asked me to include the company’s mission statement on the front door of their new site. I put it off hoping they would forget but they reminded me just as I was finishing the final revision of their website copy. So I added it.
This had been a client who basically wanted a carbon copy of their old website on their new WordPress site. They didn’t want any guidance in what appeared where on their site. They weren’t paying me for my professional opinion; they were paying me to be a mouse cursor inside an editor which they could control by calling, emailing, or instant messaging. If it had been any other client, I would have told them that the mission statement at the top of the page hurt the flow of the copy and made the layout awkward. And that this was too much to give up for a mission statement because nobody cares about it anyway.
The Only Real Mission Statement
A mission statement is just an objective for your business. You usually develop it during the business plan stage of your company planning. Most of us pretty it up with some nice wording and try to mention how much we love our customers in there.
Your customers are smart. Reading a platitude-riddled mission statement is not going to convince them that you really care about their lives if you don’t. The thing is that no matter what you put in your mission statement, your customers know what your real mission is. It’s the same as any other for-profit organization. You’d like to make money by doing whatever it is your company say it does.
Things to Do With Your Mission Statement
This doesn’t mean your mission statement is useless. It means that reading your mission statement isn’t the same as experiencing it. Your mission statement doesn’t belong on your website or in your brochure but in the way you do business. Instead of showing it to your customers, show it to your staff. Make sure they understand what you’re trying to create with your business and where you want to take it.
And finally, use it to guide your business decisions. Always go back to your mission statement when offering a new product or striking out into a new industry. Just ask yourself if this is in line with the mission you’re working toward and walk away from the things that aren’t.