Foreword: Again, you are following NME and COWORK Entrepreneurs strategic thinking as a guide to the thought process leading up to your own strategic plan. I also remind you that this is as important for you as an indie employee as it is for COWORK Entrepreneurs. As an independent employee your mission is different (but hopefully compatible) with your employer’s mission.
Your mission statement can be either about you personally, or as an indie employee or as an independent company of one who is using the employer as a base for your own purposes. In that case, base your mission on what you expect to accomplish for your own purpose, not necessarily that of the employer’s.
If you find that your mission and your employer’s mission are contradictory, then your mission statement will be telling you that in order to grow and achieve your mission you will have to find a different employer.
As an indie entrepreneur, your mission statement is just about you and your enterprise.
Although I want you to become a socially responsible indie worker, you can skip that in your mission statement if your current mission is simply to get your fair share of the wealth. That’s up to you.
Your mission statement is in the present tense but leads to the future. It shows your determination for getting where you expect to go.
My Personal Mission Statement and Elevator Speech
I’ve already launched NME and am in the early stages of founding a company: COWORK Entrepreneurs. Therefore, my personal strategic plan reflects both of those projects. You’re probably not that far along. Write your mission statement from the viewpoint of a student looking for a change in your career path.
When you’ve completed the course, you may want to go back and revise your mission statement as well as other parts of your strategic plan. I’ve already had that experience because COWORK Entrepreneurs wasn’t even a twinkle when I began developing NME.
The mission of NME and COWORK Entrepreneurs is:
Helping workers and entrepreneurs overcome their economic condition for the sake of themselves and their families, their friends and neighbors, their community and their country.
That fits the limit of a 25-word elevator speech. In the elevator it would go like this:
“Yes. Three, please.”
“Me too. Small Business Consulting has the whole floor. What’s your business?”
“Helping people overcome their economic condition for the sake of themselves and their families, their friends and neighbors, their community and their country.”
“Wow! That’s a mouthful! I’m interested. Tell me more.”
“I’d like to. If we don’t get to chat about it in reception, here’s my card.”
That’s just one example of how your mission statement is more than an element in your personal strategic plan. It will become one of your most useful tools. The mission statement is designed to speak volumes when there are only seconds to talk. The purposes are many.
Your business will likely be less complex than NME/COWORK Entrepreneurs and so your mission statement may be even be more brief. Here are some examples.
Life is Good: To spread the power of optimism.
Sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people with real food.
Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
American Express: We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected brand.
Warby Parker: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
InvisionApp: Question assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everything. Integrity.
Honest Tea: To create and promote great tasting healthy, organic beverages.
Words That Grab, Inform and Stick
With just a few words you want to grab attention, make yourself clear and be sure the words stick. It may be the most important marketing pitch you’ll ever make.
These words will have a life of their own. Over time you may refine them as ideas unfold.
To tell you the truth, I changed a word in my mission statement while I was preparing for this class.
When it came to using my mission statement as an example in this class, I first gave it critical review. It occurred to me the word “defeat” was inappropriate and I replaced it with “overcome” For good reason. “Defeat” means we are waging war. When, in fact, my purpose is to provide an alternative to the war being fought on the political front. Our work isn’t confrontational! It’s motivational.
What was I thinking?!
I also wondered if I could improve the economy of words by replacing “their families, friends and neighbors, community and country” with “others.” That would cut it down to 12 words and give me room to tell more. But what would I do with 13 more words? How would they make my mission statement more effective?
Well, we’ve got the vision statement coming up. I’ll wait and see how that goes. If I need to wordsmith the mission, I’ll come back.
Meanwhile, I want you to complete your first, second or third drafts before you move on. Take the time to think it through and through. Writing tight is much harder than writing long! And keep on rethinking as your campaign unfolds.
The resources I’ve listed at the bottom of each class have been mostly supplemental to what I’ve written. However, the how-to links that I’ve selected for the resources in the strategic planning section of this course are essential.
One of the links below compares the difference between mission and vision statements. It would help you keep the purposes clear as you draft the two.