What is a Mission Statement?
A Mission Statement describes why you are in business and is designed primarily for your clients. Ideally, the Mission Statement has meaning for every stakeholder in your business, e.g. shareholders, employees, associates, suppliers, clients, family members, etc. The Mission Statement describes for them the purpose of the business and why it makes a difference for them.
Developing a Mission Statement
To illustrate how to develop a Mission Statement, let me tell you about our client Joel. Joel is a very successful financial advisor who is a partner in a Philadelphia-based financial advisory firm. Like many successful financial advisors, Joel struggled with how to respond when someone asked him, “What do you do?” If he answered “I am a financial advisor,” he put himself in a large category of people and the person asking the question could think “I have one of those.”
There are four fundamentals in developing your Mission Statement.
- Start with the benefit to the client.
- Define yourself.
- Differentiate yourself.
- Keep it simple.
When I asked Joel what made his firm different from other financial advisory firms, he explained that the three partners collectively have over 80 years of experience in helping clients make informed decisions about their finances. I then told Joel, “That is your Mission Statement. Your Mission is that you help your clients achieve financial security through informed decision making.” An effective Mission Statement piques the interest of your ideal client. Joel realized that his ideal clients were looking for a financial advisor who would take the time to inform and educate them about the right financial products and services to help them achieve their financial objectives.
Now, when Joel meets someone who asks him what he does, he responds, “We help our clients achieve financial security through informed decision making.” Typically, the other person says, “What do you mean?” Joel is given a golden opportunity to describe what makes he and his firm unique.