Setting A Mission For Your Company

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Ok, time to make a mission statement. This is going to feel a little like the vision statement exercise but while the vision can be a little more loosey goosey and aspirational the mission needs to be pretty tight, and it needs to make sense to people that are not in your company.

1) Customer worksheet: First download the customer worksheet and fill it out for a few of your customers. And like we said in the video, make it specific, you probably know one or two customers so use your knowledge of them to guide you. It is easy to talk in generalities, like, they want to be promoted. But BE SPECIFIC, what is the job they want next, what do they have to do to get that job, what are the barriers to getting it. Do they have a family? If so is it a happy family life? Get in the weeds.

2) Make the matrix:

Now we are going to create a matrix using post-its. Put the job each customer wants, and what is going to help them get there in the column headers, and the elements of your vision for the rows.

3) Populate the matrix

Now populate the boxes in the matrix with some thought about how to translate the elements of your vision into something that will resonate with your customers’ needs in each area.


4) Analyze what’s there:

Odds are you won’t have something in each box, but spend some time populating it and putting things in that make sense and once you do review all of the things in the boxes and see if you see some themes and trends and see if you can distill those trends into concise statements about:


-Your company

-What you do

-Who you do it for

-Why you will meet your customers needs better than other people

-Are there certain goals and values that resonate across all your customers? If so safe to stress them

-Are there certain goals and values that may be viewed negatively by one or more customers? Maybe don’t stress that in your public mission statement

What if your values/goals are in conflict with a customer’s interests:

Sometimes your goals and values conflict with the customers’ interests.

So for example, you may value having Fun and being Innovative, but the customer is getting close to retirement and wants low risk known solutions.

Focus out:

 Can you look at a benefit of your value to the customer. For example a benefit of a Fun company is that there will be lower staff turnover, so maybe stress that the customer will get consistent staff support and you don’t mention Fun directly but show a lot of images of your team having fun together in your marketing materials

Focus in: 

A customer near retirement may not want to bring in ALL new systems, but I’m sure there are a few old systems they hate and that cause them grief so focus on small examples of innovation that won’t be so scary

Build a First Draft

Once you have the elements of your mission write out a brief mission statement that puts all that into one sentence.

-Say it out loud a couple times, What do you think?

-What do you think each of your customers would think of it? If you are doing well they will read it on your materials

-Does your mission make it clear why you are different from other companies in your space

-Is your mission going to stand out or fade into the background?

-Have you clearly articulated WHY your approach is better?

-What do you think your employees will think of it? You are the first employees but you probably won’t be the last. What is a new hire fresh out of college going to think of it? What is a 20-year industry veteran going to think of it?

Please don’t agonize about wordsmithing this, it is just meant to be a good-enough version and we will come back to it to polish it later.