What can you offer?
A mission statement is an important aspect of a marketing plan, as it will clue your employees as well as potential customers in to why you exist, what you offer, to whom, and how. A mission statement needs to be more than something you just hang on the wall though. It has to be something that you believe in, and can get your employees behind. When you do this, it binds you together to a single-minded purpose and results in better service.
Guidelines for mission statements:
1. Keep it brief. You should be able to summarize what you do, and what you sell in a couple of sentences. If you can't, then it is not clear to anyone what you sell, and thus, your business is likely suffering as a result. This does not mean your mission statement can't go beyond the basics, but if it is unclear what you do and how you intend to do it, then it is not getting the job done.
2. Summarize what you sell, to whom, and how. This is something like, "We are no ordinary distributor, we offer only the highest quality parts to manufacturers, with timely deliveries, and exceptional customer service." This tells the world that you won't settle for less than the best in quality. It also helps people understand who you sell to, manufacturers, not individuals. It also says how you are going to do it, in a timely manner, and with great customer service. This sets expectations, and defines how you intend to run your business.
3. Clear and concise. Mission statements should not be mucked up with lots of prose, or unnecessary wordage. The idea is not to make it fancy, or long, but to make it clear, and to make it as short as possible while still sharing what you want to share.
4. Demonstrate market differentiation (what makes you special?). In the above example it stated that they are not an ordinary distributor. They went on to say how they differentiate themselves, dealing only in the highest quality, and in a timely manner. The same sentences can accomplish several goals when put together properly.
5. It should inspire. It should create a sense of pride and ownership, and help you create happy, respected, and engaged employees as this leads to happy, engaged customers. An employee that works for the company should feel as if the mission statement elevates them, and makes them want to work harder and be better, and most importantly, provide more. The idea is to have a mission statement that inspires employees, or at the very least makes them want to be apart of what your company is aiming for.
Your mission statement should share what you offer, and help people know why you are the company to buy from, or work for. It does not have to be fancy, it does have to be real, and something achievable.