When I first started Yonder Design Co, coming up with a mission statement was the biggest pain point of the whole process. I knew that I wanted it to communicate my goals and beliefs (duh), but I was totally stuck on how to actually do that in just a few sentences. I felt I had so much more to say. I also knew that I really, really didn’t want my mission statement to be boring. So I forced myself to sit down and really think about what I wanted Yonder Design Co to be, who I wanted to help, and how I was going to help them–and then paired it down to one perfect little sentence:Everyone knows that you need a mission statement if you’re starting a new business. But oftentimes having just a mission statement might not cut it if you’re really driven (like most entrepreneurs are). Instead, you need to dig deeper into what you value, believe, and offer to your customers. A mission statement is only a few sentences, but everything else is what truly encompasses your brand. So get out there and put the work in. You’re going to rock it!
Yonder Design Co is dedicated to crafting purposeful and authentic brands for creative entrepreneurs.That’s it. Short and sweet, but it gets the exact message I want out there. I couldn’t have been happier when I finally got to the point where I had this mission statement written out on a piece of paper. Here’s the process I went through to get there.
HOW TO WRITE A MISSION STATEMENTAlthough you might be tempted to sit down and bang out your mission statement in just a few minutes, the best mission statements come from taking the time to truly think about your business and brand and what you want to offer the world. Although some of the steps might seem a bit convoluted, truly taking the time to craft your mission statement will make it so much more meaningful. Here’s how to write a mission statement that isn’t boring:
STEP 1: BRAINSTORM THE BENEFITS OF YOUR BRANDThe first step to writing a mission statement that isn’t boring and truly conveys the purpose and pursuits of your business is to take a moment to brainstorm the benefits of your brand. Ask yourself this: what benefits does your brand bring to a customer’s life? What problems are you solving? For Yonder Design Co, the benefits I knew I was going to bring to my clients were two-fold. On the functional side of things, I was going to provide them with beautiful visual branding and an awesome website. But there were also emotional benefits: a newfound confidence in their branding, support in achieving their goals, and the stress of DIY-ing their branding and website being lifted off their shoulders. These are called emotional and functional benefits, and they can be super helpful when it comes to brainstorming your brand’s benefits. In the most simplistic of definitions, functional benefits are tangible outcomes and problems that you have solved while emotional benefits are the positive feelings that someone has now that their problems have been solved. Here’s what Yonder Design Co’s emotional and functional benefits look like:
STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR BRAND’S VALUESOnce you’ve defined the benefits your brand brings to its customers, it’s time to trace out your brand’s values. Your brand values are the core beliefs of your brand. They’re what you believe so strongly in that you started a business around them, and they form the foundation of everything that you do. The easiest way to realize what your brand’s values are is to go back and look at the benefits that you’ve already written down. Looking at them, you’ll see that patterns start to emerge. Those are your brand values. By looking at the emotional and functional benefits I wrote down for Yonder Design Co, I could almost immediately tell that my brand’s values were support and encouragement, beauty, branding ease, and happy life building.
STEP 3: DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND’S PURSUITSYour brand pursuits are the goals that you are striving towards with everything you do. The easiest way to think about them is to write down the different products or services that your business provides. Then, combine them with your values. For example, with Yonder Design Co I provide brand development, visual branding design, and website design. When I work to develop a brand, my pursuit is to craft a beautiful, purposeful brand that tells a story. This ties in with the values of beauty and branding ease. Here’s what all of my brand pursuits look like:
STEP 4: WRITE YOUR MISSION STATEMENTSo now that you know what you’re working towards and why you’re working towards it, it’s finally time to write your mission statement. And with all of the work we’ve done leading up to this point, it should be as easy as 123. All you have to do is take the pursuits that you just defined and put them into one or two sentences describing who you help and what you do to help them. For Yonder Design Co, with my pursuits of crafting beautiful brands and telling their stories, and my goal of helping bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, my mission statement looks like this:
Yonder Design Co is dedicated to crafting purposeful and authentic brands for creative entrepreneurs.The number one thing to keep in mind while you write your mission statement is that it doesn’t need to be long and overly complicated to get your message across. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. People don’t like reading long, convoluted sentences. They like things simple and easy to understand. So write something short and sweet and you’ll be good to go. Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few really great examples of simple, powerful mission statements:
- Life is Good: To spread the power of optimism.
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
- Prezi: To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.
- TED: Spread ideas.
STEP 5: EXPLAIN YOUR BRAND’S BELIEFAlthough it would be easy enough to stop once you have your brand’s mission statement, you’re on a roll now. So go above and beyond your mission statement and define your brand’s core belief in just a few words. Where your mission statement is the concrete thing that your brand does, your brand’s belief is a bit more abstract. It still centers around what you do and who you help. It’s why you think what you do is important. So, for example, if you run a design business helping creative entrepreneurs design awesome brands and websites (like I do), then your brand belief might be that great design is the key to a successful business. That’s why what you do is so important. To explain your brand’s belief, just look back at everything you’ve just written and it should pop out at you pretty quickly.
STEP 6: FILL OUT YOUR MISSION STATEMENT WORKBOOKIf you want the ultimate guidance in how to write a mission statement, you’re in luck! I made things easy: there’s a workbook! All you have to do is fill it out and you’ll complete all of the earlier steps.
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