"We must all efficiently operationalize our strategies," Weird Al declares in his new video, "Mission Statement." The song, brilliantly written in the style of two mashed-up Crosby, Stills, & Nash songs, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and "Carry On," pokes fun at the widespread habit of throwing buzzwords together in corporate mission statements. Words like synergy, methodology, globalization, and integration are heavily peppered throughout the official statements from many businesses, bethey business plans or even emails and letters.

But this type of flowery writing can be disastrous to a business's mission statement. The goal for any business in creating a mission statement is to reach out to your employees and business partners and let them know, as concisely as possible, what your business is about. When you fill it with corporate jargon, your readers not only see it as false and canned, but it probably fails to capture the spirit of what your company is really about.

Creating Meaning

Your first priority as you craft your mission statement is to ask yourself what message you want to put out there about your business. That message is likely closely tied to your own personal goals and ambitions, especially if you started your business alone. If multiple parties were involved from the start, you should take a step back and remember what your original intent was in creating that business. Is your goal to create a product or service that changes people's lives? Did you intend to make a specific aspect of someone's day-to-dayeasier? Did you want to bring families together in a world where time is limited?

Those core values should be the heart of your mission statement. Butyou don't have ten pages to explain where your company has been, where it is now, and where it is going in the future. You have to sum all of this up in just one or two sentences.

Key Elements

A successful mission statement touches on the followingkey elements:

  • Value--Why does your brand exist? What does it bring to its customers or clients?
  • Inspiration--After reading your mission statement, your employees should feel inspired to work harder to make your vision a reality.
  • Plausibility--Is your mission statement realistic?
  • Specificity--Rather than making vague sweeping statements, your mission statement should be as specific as possible about what your company does.

When you create a mission statement that is concise and conveys your own core values, you'll not only empower your own employees to work harder, you'll also feel inspired yourself. "Founders sometimes lose sight of the fact that when you're lookinginside for 'why' you started your business in the first place, it not only inspires you in the moment, but can be relevant in the future," says Kersten Kloss, host of the YouTube channel "Inspiration Station." "Especially with startups, as you're trying to bring innew users and do quick iterations, inexperiencedfounders willforget why they began in the first place. Your mission statement should theoretically be able to bring you right there."

Reflect Your Culture

If your brand is fun and lighthearted, you can inject a little of that into your mission statement while still maintaining professionalism.As new employees come in, they should be able to get a feel for your company merely by reading that short statement.

One good strategy for a memorable mission statement is to create a short slogan that sums up what your company does. Target's statement pulls in its 'Expect More. Pay Less.' slogan to reinforce the company's promise to its customers. "Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise," the company writes.

Brainstorm

Before you start writing, sit down and write out your company's goals. Consider both your long-term and short-term goals when you're making the list. Chances are you'll notice that terms like "strategic initiatives" and "monetize our assets" don't come up at all.

While it's easy to fall back on nonsensical industry buzzwords when trying to write a professional mission plan, that won't accurately express the heart and soul of your business. Find a better way to express what makes your business unique and incorporate that into your statement--and better communicate the goals of your company to those who will read it.

Published on: Aug 11, 2014