Write Your Mission Statement – And Your Goals – Not For The Amount Of Money You Want To Make. Instead, State Your Business “Why”. Money Will Follow.
If you’ve noticed the image we’ve used on this article, you may wonder what’s the connection between your mission statement and goals and the amount of wealth you can make in your solopreneur Knowledge Commerce business.
Why have we used a picture of a man looking into the far distance and throwing a shadow of dollars behind him?
Most people would think that the more clearly your mission statement and your goals specify the kind of money you want to make, the more money you will make. But, at Solohacks Academy, we’ve discovered that the exact opposite is true.
Both your mission statement and goals have to be nothing about the quantum of money you want to make. Instead, it should be about your larger, and more universal, goal on how you can help others (your target audiences) achieve whatever “value” they desire. The paradox of life, and business, is that in helping others achieve their cherished “value”, you stir up your own ability to create wealth.
1. What Your Business Mission Statement Should Ideally Be About
First things first. Your mission statement should precede any goals you set for your business. Why? Because the mission statement is like a guiding compass of the direction you want to take. The goals are the steps you then take to go in that direction. Both mission and goals need to be aligned.
That said, let’s look at the mission statement. It should not be about who you are or what you do. Then what should it be about? Read on …
a. Your Mission Statement Should Not Be About What You Do But WHY You Do It
Increasingly experts say that a mission statement has got to tell the world about your “larger purpose that will improve humanity in some unique way”.
WHY you do something for a business is the story your consumers, investors or other people want to hear. They need to know if there is a grander purpose you work for than your own earnings and brand name. They want to know whether there is room in your grander purpose for the upliftment of the world and other people in some inspiring way, including themselves.
For those who have not watched this renowned TED talk by Simon Sinek, it’s an absolute must-see. Simon Sinek is the proponent of the idea that “people don’t buy what you do, people buy WHY you do it”. Take a moment to watch this:
See these businesses that use their mission statements beautifully to describe their “WHY” propositions.
- STARBUCKS: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
- GOOGLE: “To organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- AMAZON: “To be earth’s most customer-centric company and build a place where people can come to find and discover anything to buy online.”
- NIKE: “To do everything possible to expand human potential by creating groundbreaking sport innovations.”
b. Vision Statements vs Mission Statements vs Passion Statements vs Mantras
If you should read any of the one million or more articles on how to write mission statements they would all begin by telling you to write your Vision Statement first and then follow that up with the Mission Statement. Some non-conformists throw this formula into the dustbin, and say they have a Passion Statement instead. Vision, Mission, Passion … what’s the real difference?
I rather like this new idea of throwing words like mission, vision, and passion out of the window and adopting the word “mantra” instead. What is a mantra? It could be a single sentence that describes WHY your business feels driven to help people. I like the way Guy Kawasaki deals with the mantra in Mantra vs. Mission on his blog, and in his Art of the Start book.
His theory is more or less this: a mantra is three or four words long. Its purpose is to help people truly understand WHY your business exists and feels motivated every morning.
One other point that Guy Kawasaki, and others like him, make is that if you can’t tell your mission statement (or mantra) from any other, if nobody could guess that it’s yours and yours alone, then you have work to do. Your real WHY is always unique to you, and you can’t rest till you find out why this is so.
c. Your Mission Statement Should Ideally Be The Answer To The Fifth “WHY”
Experts often explain that the enemy of a great mission statement is a good one. It’s easy, if you are a smart copywriter, to arrive at a bunch of words that sound exciting, inspiring or even seemingly meaningful. But a bit of caution here helps.
Don’t be too hasty to arrive at your mission statement just because it has to be short and succinct. The classic advice of asking yourself “WHY” at least five times helps you mine deeper and deeper levels of value that you believe your target audiences are seeking.
In fact the “5 WHY Technique” is a very popular one among serious organizations. According to Wikipedia, here’s what this technique is about:
- The “5” in the 5 WHY Technique emphasizes the number of iterations needed to resolve a problem. The need for asking “WHY” 5 times (and not less or more) has been deeply researched by Sakichi Toyoda who used this concept very successfully for the Toyota Motor Corporation.
- The learning in the 5 WHY Technique is to “hasten slowly” when it comes to articulating your mission statement. Depth of understanding of your real buried WHY can make all the difference to the eventual benefit to others and yourself.
2. How To Craft And Use Your Business Mission Statement
There are some very simple rules about how to craft your mission statement. The critical word here is “simple”. Your mission statement has to be so simple that it inspires by its authenticity, and not its verbosity. Big businesses sometimes think their mission statements must be elaborate to show how big they are. That’s laughable, isn’t it? What use is it being so big in words, if your teams haven’t a clue how to translate it all into action?
Talking of action, after you frame your mission statement, how do you action it? We show you how below …
a. The Five Imperatives Involved In Crafting Your Mission Statement
Here are five things to remember when crafting your mission statement:
– Define your real purpose (it may not be what you think at first).
Delve into the deeper and deeper reason WHY your purpose is what it is, and how it can bring benefits to your consumers and stakeholders.
– Be simple (and cut out the bumpf).
When your mission is hard to remember, or full of balderdash, it’s difficult for people – and you – to align activities with the mission outlined.
– Use words that inspire (don’t dampen emotions with intellectual weight).
In your mission statement, it can be powerful to include inspirational words. But, people must feel uplifted when they hear these words, and not feel intellectually-challenged.
– Keep it short (fewer words, more meaning).
Some of the biggest companies in the world devote full pages to their mission statements (collated, no doubt, by their Mission Statement Committees). Have you ever had time to read or digest one of those?
– Steer clear of jargon (they’re past sell-by date).
There are many words that have completely lost their value from blatant and meaningless overuse. So, avoid all these types of phrases: be world-class, be the best possible, maximize investor returns, deliver customer satisfaction, be highly valued, become best-of-breed, be a role-model …
b. The Greater Your Mission, The Shorter Your Mission Statement Needs To Be
Often, the greater your mission is, the more simply it can be stated. Mission statements aim to bring clarity and focus via a short, crisp articulation.
Look at great brands and see if their mission statements inspire you. Here are three awesome examples of extremely simple but profound mission statements:
- TED: Spreading Ideas. (2 words).
- The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty. (4 words).
- Smithsonian: The increase and diffusion of knowledge. (6 words).
And here’s what, I think, a mission statement should NOT look like. See this one below from Avon that loses you completely after the second sentence. I have no doubt it was produced with a lot of sincerity, but notice how much of it is about self-centricity!
Our mission is to improve the lives of women globally. In our core cause areas of Breast Cancer and Violence Against Women, we aim to accelerate progress, accountability and discovery, while also reducing the social stigma that sometimes keeps these issues in the shadows. We take a woman-centric approach on all projects to break traditional barriers and build a better future for women, because we know that the greater the support, the more empowered women feel to take control of their health and safety.”
But just as you beware of overlong mission statements that are uninspiring, you have to be wary of too short mission statements that also mean nothing!
c. Use Your Mission Statement As A “Decision-Filter” For Business
How do you use your mission statement in actual action? An important practical use of a mission statement is that it should become your filter for deciding which opportunities and action-routes are the right ones for you, as you go forward.
As you integrate your mission into your brand, you have to ask yourself every time: “Is this new opportunity or action ‘on mission’ for me?” When you have your written down your mission with clarity, and you use it as your decision-filter, your options become eminently clearer and your actions become laser-sharp.
Most importantly, if your mission statement is customer-centric, it will serve as a constant filter to ensure you put your own goals after your customers’ goals.
3. These Are The Only Three Goals Your Business Will Ever Need
Notice below, that we have recommended three goals every business online should set. And we don’t say your goals should be specific about numbers, or state the amount of money you want to make. Why? Because we believe goals should be fluid and ever-evolving. Also, money is a secondary by-product of a business and should not become its primary goal. Getting people’s attention, converting them into loyal followers and giving them a personalized experience should be your goals. Your goal should be to do this better and better, every day, and the money will roll in.
In fact, setting too specific goals or money goals, we find, is very counter-productive. You will have your eye only on the numbers and forsake persistence and customer-centric care, which are the things that grow you money.
a. Your First Goal Should Be To Increase Relevant Traffic
For every business, getting traffic to their site, blog or ecommerce store is very important as a priority. But, remember that not all traffic is good traffic. If your marketing is bringing in loads of traffic, but it’s mostly made up of visitors who will never have a need for your products or services, that’s not going to help you a lot. For example, if you were in the niche for “exercise regimen for the elderly” you won’t want a rush of millennials to your site, right?
Take time to analyze if the traffic you’re getting matches the target audience you’re trying to reach. Learn to use Google Analytics, and you’ll find you can get a lot of information about the kinds of people visiting your site.
Not only should you track your traffic quantity and quality, but you also need to keep an eye on what people do on your site. Does it look like they spend time there? Or do they just bounce out as fast as they bounced in? How many pages of your site do they, on average, try to read or check out? The more you know about who is arriving at your site and what they are doing there, the more focused and relevant your marketing efforts can be.
b. Your Second Goal Should Be To Grow Your Email List
Getting people to your website is the first part of being successful, but getting them to come back often is even better. The idea here is that you should be able to build an ongoing relationship with them. Among the best tools you have to do relationship-building with is your email list. When casual site visitors opt into your email list, they are showing readiness for ongoing communication with you and your brand.
The moral of the story? One of the best goals to set to improve your website’s success is to put more of an emphasis on growing your email list. Offer deals to your customers for signing up, promote your email list on social media, and including CTAs throughout your website encouraging people to subscribe.
Once people are on your list, don’t take them for granted. Email them at a regular but not aggressive periodicity, urging them to read what’s new on your site. Enjoin them into conversations, or ask for comments or feedback. Keep them energized and engaged.
c. Your Third Goal Should Be To Provide Visitors With A Personalized Experience
Every one of your site visitors is a unique person. The way he or she interacts with your website is also unique. Thanks to technology now, it has become possible for you to track exactly how people interact with your content, and you are then able to customize their experience. Depending on what visitors seem to be interested in, you can suggest items that are complementary, and deliver further content to them.
There is now a lot of research to show that providing a personalized web experience for visitors can cause an 18% uptick in sales. By making it easier for people to see the many parts of your website relevant to them, you increase their chances of having a good experience. This makes them want to continue their relationship with your brand.
Further, after Google introduced mobile-first indexing, it has become even more important to make your website mobile-friendly as part of the reader experience.
In Summary …
- Neither your mission nor your goals must be set for the amount of money you want to make.
- They should be about your larger imperative to help others (your target audiences) achieve their goals.
- In helping others achieve their cherished “value”, you stir up your own ability to create wealth.
- Your business mission statement should be about your “Why”. State why are you in this business.
- Learn the art of crafting a great mission statement and using it for everyday business action.
- Getting more traffic, more subscribers, and giving people a better experience should be your key goals.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
This post is part of a series that elaborates on “Marketing Strategy Plan For Jumpstarting Knowledge Commerce“.
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- How To Find Your Target Audience For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Conduct Competitive Analysis For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Develop A Business Model For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Create A Positioning Strategy For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Create A Sales Funnel For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Do Content Marketing For Knowledge Commerce
- How To Measure Performance Of A Website In Knowledge Commerce
- How To Exploit Cutting Edge Technology In Knowledge Commerce