The cost of writing a mission statement is small, but the payoff is huge because—simply put—it works! That’s because a personal mission statement keeps you from wandering off track. For example, if a decision you plan to make doesn’t fit within the confines of your personal mission statement, you shouldn’t follow through with it. Remember, a mission statement is the “ what ” and the “ how,” and the vision statement is the “ why.” Plus, it doesn’t matter how large or small your business is, every business can benefit from strong mission and vision statements. If you’re considering writing a mission or vision statement for your business, start with your. A mission statement is a short, meaningful phrase that summarizes the purpose that drives your business. Similar to your business’ vision (the “what”) and values (the “how”), your mission statement answers the question of why you do what you do. You can think of a mission statement as a combination of what your business or nonprofit does and how and why it does it, expressed in a way that encapsulates the values that are important to you. It can be a challenge to clearly and concisely bring these ideas together, though.
- How To Write A Mission Statement Steps
- How To Write A Mission Statement Pdf
- How To Write A Mission Statement Examples
Writing a mission statement is an important step for your ministry or business, whether you are a large organization or sole proprietor or freelancer.
When it’s clear and concise, your statement becomes a rallying cry for your staff and stakeholders (“This is what we wake up each day to do!”) And when your mission statement is targeted and focused, you can use it as a yardstick for making programming and funding decisions (“This proposed project doesn’t contribute to our mission, so we shouldn’t pursue it at this time.”)
But here’s the problem: it can be hard to know where to begin with writing a mission statement.
Maybe you need to write one and have been putting it off. Or maybe you’ve got one but are uncertain whether or not the statement is “what it’s supposed to be.”
There’s all kinds of advice out there for writing a mission statement. And much of it – to be honest – is good. How should you sift through it all so you can get going?
What Is a Mission Statement?
Most of what you read starts with defining what a mission statement is. And you’ll get plenty of answers, such as …
- A mission statement is a sentence that explains why the organization exists.
- A mission statement is a brief explanation of the organization’s core purpose.
- A mission statement is a formal summary of the organization’s aims.
- A mission statement is a description of what the organization does.
My definition: a mission statement defines what you wake up each day to do.
Confession: I love all of these definitions and theories and intangibles, but I want practical help. I want to know how to write a mission statement for my organization or small biz without it taking months. And I want the statement to be clear and simple so that my team can remember it and use it as a rallying cry.
That’s why I put together this simple guide for writing a mission statement. And your first step is to answer a few questions.
Writing a Mission Statement Starts with Asking 3 Questions
1. Who do you serve?
Identify your target audience. Notice that your mission statement should identify a group of people … not merely address a kind of activity you stay busy doing. That’s because ministry and business is not about activities, but about people.
2. What do you do for them?
Your target population has a need or problem. You meet that need or solve that problem in the activities you undertake. What are those activities?
3. What difference do you make?
How is your target population different as a result of your activities? This little piece is key to a good mission statement because it demonstrates movement. You’re not simply undertaking activity just to be busy. You’re conducting your activities so that a specific group of people is transformed in one capacity or another.
Make sure your mission statement explains the change, outcome, or value you achieve. In other words, the difference you make.
You can ask this question another way – with “Why?” But be careful. Don’t answer “Why” with what your activities do for you. Answer by explaining what your activities do for your target population. And make sure the answer to this last question shows concrete results. For instance, “raising awareness” or “changing attitudes” can be vital outcomes of your work, but those two answers don’t demonstrate tangible results.
Some gurus advise including a “How” question as you write your mission statement. That is, describe the methods you use in helping your target population become transformed. However, I think “How” questions are best reserved for a “How We Work” section in your identity content. Answering “How” with your mission statement can also add quite a few words to its length.
The only exception is if your activities are distinctly focused on using a particular kind of media or methods that are indistinguishable from what you do.
A Mission Statement Template
Now that you’ve answered the three key questions, you can usethis template for writing a mission statement.
[what you do: a verb] for [who you serve: peoplegroup] so that [the difference you make].
Yes, you may need to move the word order around. But thegist of your statement will include answer to your three questions.
Here are some mission statement examples that follow thistemplate.
- Equipparents of teenagers to raise godlyyoung adults
- Create patchwork kits for busy women who wantto make handmade gifts
- Savechildren’s lives in Ethiopia
- Make content writingsimple for ministriesand freelancers
Is It Really That Easy?
Yes - if you’ve done a lot of the hard work to identify who you serve, what you wake up each day to do, and what outcomes you achieve doing it.
No – if you’re still working through all of that.
How Long Should It Be?
Length is another point on which the mission statement gurus differ. If you do a bit of poking around you’ll discover word count recommendations ranging from one sentence to 200 words.
I have come to believe that shorter is better.
Here’s why: a concise mission statement provides clarity for you and avoids confusion for your readers. Plus, if your statement is short then your entire team can memorize and embrace it easily. But you needn’t ditch all your extra content for your mission statement. Save it and pop it over in your identity content.
'No more than eight words.” That’s Mulago Foundation Director Kevin Starr’s recommendation and I like it. A brief mission statement gets to the point and doesn’t waste anyone’s time. If you get your mission honed down to eight words, then you are extremely clear about what you’re trying to accomplish and can quickly determine from your outcomes if you’re having impact on your target population from the activities you undertake.
Which gives you lots of extra time to continue to accomplish what your mission statement says you want to do.
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Whether or not you’ve written one out, your healthcare practice has a mission. Maybe you want to equip patients to develop sustainable eating habits. Maybe you’re providing counseling and hope for families in crisis. Maybe you’ve committed your work to helping injured athletes get back on the field or the court. In any case, you started your practice for a reason.
Now, it’s time to clarify that reason and condense your values, purpose, and passion into one cohesive mission statement.
What is a mission statement?
Your mission statement is a formal declaration of why you started your company, and what you value. For example, Google’s mission statement is, “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Tesla’s mission statement is, “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” And Uber’s mission statement is, “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”
These simple, clear, and powerful phrases let the reader immediately know what the company is about, and where they’re going. But a mission statement is about more than bragging rights; it also:
- Keeps your company envisioned and aligned with core values;
- Unites all team members under an umbrella of purpose;
- Captivates potential clients and customers by presenting a clear benefit.
Ultimately, a mission statement helps any company–including your private healthcare practice–define their own journey….and shows people where they’re taking them.
How to write your own mission statement
Writing a mission statement may seem like a simple task, until you sit down to actually do it. The truth is, crafting a single phrase that captures the heart of your business takes some deep thought, a bit of brainstorming, and careful strategy.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you hone in on a clear, cohesive mission statement:
Identify your values
Your mission statement won’t necessarily dive into the specifics of what you do (for example, develop weekly nutrition plans, make regular chiropractic adjustments, etc.). Instead, it will take a high-level approach to the mission of your practice. To step back far enough to get that bird’s eye view, you’ll want to identify your values.
One productive strategy for identifying the values of your practice is to ask yourself what your top priorities are when it comes to serving your customer base. Do you want to make your patients feel seen and heard? Are you committed to restoring holistic balance? Or is your primary role to offer compassion?
How To Write A Mission Statement Steps
Make a list of 3-5 values that communicate why you started your business and what you want to offer to patients. This list will be the foundation to your mission statement.
Hone in on your long-term vision
Now, take a moment to think about the future of your practice. Where would you like to be in 5 years? What about 10 years, or 20 years? When Google got started in 1996, it was just a research project by two very smart guys at Stanford. They hadn’t yet “organized the world’s information” or made it “universally accessible and useful.” And yet, that’s what their mission statement claims. Fast-forward nearly 25 years, and Google has, in fact, transformed the global landscape of how we communicate, learn, and exchange information.
Ask your employees and office staff what they feel about your values, your mission, and your future as a healthcare practice. Not only will they offer unique perspectives that can help you craft a better statement, but they’ll appreciate the fact that you value their input.
Write it out
Now, time for a little wordsmithing. This is the challenging part: Capturing your heart and purpose in just a few words.
First, choose a powerful verb that tells the reader how you achieve your purpose. Here are some examples of verbs that you might use for a mission statement:
As you might notice, most of these verbs are “others-focused”–they communicate an action performed for others.
Then, think through your core audience. Your practice may have a more general audience–such as your community at large, or even your entire city or state. Or, you might have a more targeted patient base–such as the elderly, low-income families, children, or patients with a specific type of chronic illness.
In any case, you’ll want to pair your verb with an object and your target audience. For example, you might be committed to…
How To Write A Mission Statement Pdf
- Providing compassionate care to the elderly
- Educating the community on mental wellness
- Building a healthier tomorrow for today’s youth
- And so forth….
Finally, don’t be afraid of using metaphorical or figurative language to make your point. Phrases like “heart,” “helping hand,” and “soul” communicate that you are an others-focused practice without getting too specific.
Now, for brainstorming: Write out as many ideas as you can for your mission statement. Don’t worry if some of the ideas aren’t any good; write them down anyway. Ask your employees for ideas as well, and see what they think of your own.
By the end, you should have 10-20 statements to filter, tweak, and revise. Give your top five ideas some time to “marinate” and revisit them after a few days. Then, say them out loud. Which one sounds the most clear and powerful? Which one gets to the heart of why you started your practice? Which one grabs your attention? That’s your new mission statement–a statement of purpose that communicates to others why you do what you do.
Advertise your mission statement
You’ve done the hard work of crafting your statement; now, think about creative ways you can advertise your mission statement so that your existing patients, employees, and new potential clients know what you’re all about.
Your mission statement should be clear and visible on all of the following:
- Your website
- Any paper marketing material, including brochures, handouts, and your business card
- Somewhere in the interior of your office
- Training guides and protocol used for intra-office admin
- Your social media accounts
- Your email marketing campaigns
- Your intake forms (which we’ll learn more about in a second)
Finally, incorporate your mission statement into team meetings, one-on-one trainings, and new patient onboarding. Your team and patients should hear, as well as read, your statement. Repeating your mission statement (when it makes sense to do so) will help get everyone excited and ready to work hard, deliver amazing care, and reach more patients.
Customize your content
As mentioned above, customizing your content–including your intake forms–can be a powerful way to advertise your mission statement and educate new and existing patients on your values and vision. IntakeQ is an electronic paperwork platform that will allow you to customize your own digital intake forms, including patient onboarding forms, questionnaires, and release forms. This powerful tool will also allow you to create a more customized, patient-friendly experience with:
- Convenient, time-saving online scheduling
- Personalized patient portals and private patient-to-provider messaging
- Text-messaging appointment reminders to decrease no-shows
- Patient surveys to give you greater insight into patient satisfaction and loyalty
- And more
How To Write A Mission Statement Examples
To learn more about IntakeQ–and how you can get a free 14-day trial–click here.