The Moxie in Your Mission Statement

It is safe to say that one of the most valuable tools you have as a business software company to create momentum is crafting an effective mission statement. When crafted with care and developed correctly, your mission statement will provide clear direction and purpose for your company and employees. The big question is: Did you create a mission statement with moxie or one that hangs nicely in your meeting rooms and is otherwise meaningless?

More Than Words

You could be looking at your mission statement right now, wondering if you have moxie or if it is simply meaningless. If you aren’t looking at it, reading it over and over and thinking about it, you should be. Many organizations create mission statements that are completely focused on the internal process, decorated with buzzwords and measures that are not only meaningless to employees, but also to the customer.

Even companies that are seen as innovators in their industries have written mission statements that are based on unnecessary ideas or that encapsulate everything they do with unrealistic ambitions or expectations. A mission statement that your employees cannot embrace, that doesn’t resonate with your customer base, is nothing more than words on letterhead.

It isn’t just the words you use to craft one of your company’s most important statements, it is about the belief, the determination and drive behind them. Your mission statement is your “why;” it is your strategy, your core, your vision. Your mission statement is the identity of your company and the culture of your company. It is nothing short of why your organization exists.

For the sake of example, here are two mission statements from successful companies that, while empowering, fall short in moxie.

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”

At first glance they seem compelling, empowering and evoking the “I want to be part of that” feeling, but do they meet the following criteria?

  1. Clear and focused on the people you serve
  2. Simple concrete language that is easy to understand and determine the meaning
  3. Easy to determine how you can contribute

Does the mission statement contain a transformative goal? Are you outlining a journey that you want to take your employees and customers on? Is it something that they want to be a part of?

Mission Statement Inspiration

How to Start?

Start with your company’s value proposition. Remember, your mission statement is what your company does for your customer and the world. Your value proposition defines why those customers would buy your product or service. In the world of marketing, your company value proposition is similar to your positioning statement.

Creating a clear and concise value proposition will help drive your mission statement. What is it that you do that sets you apart from the competition? What is it that makes you pick SAP over Oracle (or vice versa)? Think about the big problem you help remove, the ambitions you help realize, and the value you provide, not the features and benefits of your software. This is the biggest mistake your competitors make.

Now that you are clear on the value you provide, the “why” your customers do business with you, essentially your purpose – your mission statement – will start to unfold.

Your competition will separate their value proposition from their mission, while you make yours an extension. Remember, your mission is what you do. Take a look back at the examples provided here. They don’t meet the criteria, and they don’t address the value their companies provide to their customers.

Missing that component, the value… the focus on the customer, eliminates the way in which each and every employee you have can contribute to your mission. Mission statements with moxie include not only the moxie of the person writing the statement, but each and every employee.

Take the value that you have clearly identified and now focus on the transformation that provides to the customer. Remember, you went into to business to change something for your customers. To do that, you need a statement that moves your employees… something that they can stand behind and work towards each and every day. Sure, it’s great to say you want to be the most customer-centric company on Earth (a tall task). That is the end-all, be-all for everything a person could possibly want to buy online, but that is also unrealistic.

The Force Behind the Statement

Every person that works for your company is as important as defining the value you provide customers. Without your staff your customers will not be able to take advantage of the value you provide. Even if they buy your product or service, when customers call your company for support, staff members who don’t believe in your mission can take away from your value.

Creating the mission statement includes thinking about the culture of your company and the people that work for you. You need to be authentic and congruent. The inner actions of your company should support the mission statement. It should provide positive energy and empower the right actions. Then the people that work for you will be able to deliver that mission to your customers.

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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.