You’ve created an engaging name for your startup, secured your url and social media profiles, built your product, and hired the right people, all to solve a problem. There’s a reason this problem needs to be solved and there’s a reason you’re the right person for it, but how do you communicate that? Why this – what does your startup do? Why you – what does your startup value? That’s your Mission Statement and it’s worth investing in.
As you work on yours, a lot of conventional advice will focus on the nuts and bolts of how you Mission Statement should include your target market, unique value proposition, and metrics. Some will say it needs to be concise and vague. Others will say comprehensive and
specific. Those are all valuable things to keep in mind and often that comes down to your own preference. Consider instead, your Mission Statement exists to motivate and focus your team, engage your customers’ values, and preview your startup’s future. The very conscious process of discovering and articulating this Mission Statement will help you answer why this and why you.
Motivate and Focus Your Team
Like most founders you likely wake up every morning with an insatiable desire to build, ship, and solve. You wouldn’t have gotten into this without that drive and vision, but what about your team? Your Mission Statement builds the foundation of the culture that your team needs. A sports team knows their mission, it’s to win the championship, and everyone from the team owner down to the players work towards that. Likewise, your team needs that mission so why you can become why us. When you let your Mission Statement lead, it sets the challenges and opportunities, ultimately bringing the whole of your team into singular focus.
Engage Your Customers’ Values
How do your customers view your startup and product? If they’re checking off boxes, matching features, or comparing pricing, you’re not connecting with your customer. You need to relate, not only with the problem you’re solving, but why they have that problem and why you can solve that problem. There’s the why this and why you again. Your Mission Statement leads your messaging that engages and aligns you with your customers. Your mission puts you and your customer on the same team to solve their problem.
Preview Your Startup’s Future
What’s next? Do you wonder if you should add a feature to your product? Maybe create a new product entirely? Do you go after a new market segment? What direction does your startup grow in? How do you decide what’s best for your startup, especially when it grows and
you can no longer call it a startup? Your Mission Statement perseveres and acts as a gateway to that answer. Don’t mistake your Mission Statement as final, it can and will evolve as your startup does, but when you and your team have decisions to make, your Mission Statement guides you on what’s next.
Let’s look at some examples, without mentioning any names, of companies you’ve probably engaged with, if not purchased from, to see if they answer why this and why you.
"To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses."
What do they do? They sell designer eyewear at friendly prices. What do they value? Making
eyewear accessible in a responsible way.
"Create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living."
What do they do? They create a place for people that’s more than a place to work. What do they value? People having a well-rounded and fulfilling life.
"Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."
What do they do? They compile data and turn it into knowledge. What do they value? Bringing knowledge to everyone.
"To advance the dining experience for everyone"
What do they do? They improve your experiences around eating, specifically restaurants and bars. What do they value? A better meal for everyone.
The above examples show how the Mission Statement is the insight to what they do and what they value, the why this and why you. You’ll notice that none of the above mention any particular product they sell and there’s something to be learned from that. For most startups,
your purpose is larger than the product and your Mission Statement is your company’s purpose. It’s a reminder of what is and a blueprint of what will be. Those companies above, in order: Warby Parker, WeWork, Google, and Taste.
What will your startup’s mission be?
Jitpal Kocher is founder of Taste