mission-240Many Maine-based small business owners want to develop a company mission statement. They realize that a good one can highlight products and services, as well as align employees around a common vision. But the truth is that many mission statements fail, becoming nothing more than a paragraph within a company handbook.

The reason why mission statements fail so often are fairly straightforward. They may include vague language and non-specific goals or visions that could be adopted by any company. There also might be a lack of long-term leadership support.

The mission statement should be compass that employees and managers can use to help guide them through day to day business tasks. It lets everyone know what the firm stands for and where it’s headed. It mobilizes people passionately behind a common cause and defines the business’ personality. In addition, it provides clear direction and gets results.

These things can only happen, however, when the mission statement is well-written. Studies have found that organizations show consistently higher performance when their mission statements include these six items:

  • A statement of purpose or general non-financial goals.
  • A statement of values.
  • A statement of vision.
  • Specification of behavioral standards.
  • Identification of the company’s competitive strategy.
  • Intent to satisfy the needs and expectations of employees, investors, and customers.

Small business owners should remember to establish the correct tone for their mission statement through a process of intentional word selection, using language that’s appropriate for their company’s culture. It also should be able to stand up over time, but be able to remain current.

An effective mission statement can be a great asset to an organization. When everyone is working together toward a shared goal, a company has a better chance of being successful. Mission statements should be developed as part of the company’s strategic planning process, starting with development, prioritization of goals and objectives, and an examination of the company’s culture. After this process is done, the mission of the company will become clear, making it easier to create a good mission statement.