Most entrepreneurs create a mission statement for their business. But do your consumers actually know what yours is? 

A mission statement, by definition, summarizes the values of a company and is the purpose of the business--the "why."  For many companies, it is a generic statement that gets lost in the weeds of the website. But for the companies that take it seriously, a mission statement can drive every aspect of business into a more positive light. 

Crafting a powerful mission statement for your employees to adopt and customers to connect with takes effort and focus. With consumers becoming more and more particular, your "why" matters more than ever in business.  

Here are three avenues to consider when creating your mission.

1. Think about what you are selling.

Your mission must directly connect with the product or service you're selling to make the most impact. Ask yourself what factors determine the product price and quality and how they relate to the reasons your business exists. The best use of your products is to drive your mission forward.

Patagonia is a great example of a company that blends its products into its mission and values with the simple statement "We are in business to save our home planet." Patagonia does so by building quality products, having a sustainable supply chain, and fostering environmental awareness among consumers. The company uses its products as the channel to convey its mission, not the other way around. As a result, its mission matters just as much, if not more, than the products it sells.

2. Find the most hated part of your industry.

Take the most hated product attribute or industry habit and turn it into part of your mission and why you are selling it. This may initially sound counterintuitive, but done correctly it is the best way to set yourself apart from all the rest.

My e-commerce business sells a manual coffee grinder. In a world where people want things to be fast and convenient, this could have been viewed as a problem. For most people, manually grinding beans would be a major inconvenience. I took this idea, and instead of finding it annoying, made it the cornerstone for why the product is a benefit to consumers. 

Our product's mission revolves around actions to slow down and enjoy the simple moments. Instead of running around the house in the morning hitting appliance buttons on and off, manually grinding coffee has become a welcome ritual. This once hated product attribute is now the conduit to peaceful moments in the morning to pause and allow yourself to be present.  

I am not alone in doing this. Tim Ferriss, author of five New York Times top bestsellers and host of the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, talks about doing the opposite of everyone and everything else in his book Tools of Titans. During his previous days in sales, he decided to spend 48 hours doing the exact opposite of his colleagues. He worked outside of the 9-to-5 hours, asked questions instead of pitching a product, and called on totally different people. As a result, he found major success in his sales and outsold his entire office.

Some trends are meant to be broken, even if it is only for a day or two. 

3. Find a story in your life to justify the cause.

Storytelling is key when it comes to creating a mission that drives your business forward. When you use a story to convey a message, it evokes an emotional connection and deeper memory.

I shared the story of losing my mentor a few months before his retirement. This loss made me realize how short life is, and how valuable each moment truly can be. I set out on a mission to start each day intentionally, infusing gratitude and joy into every moment. One of the first things we all do in the morning is the ritual of brewing a fresh cup of coffee.  

This story resonates with people everywhere. When using our product in the morning, a direct tie is linked to this mission. Spend some time to identify and refine the story that drives you forward every day. Ask yourself, "What moment in my life made me want to do this?" 

Be very conscious and clear when it comes to generating your company's mission. Done correctly, you will not only feel more connected to the business but your audience will too.

Published on: Jan 20, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.