Q: How do I compile a formal mission statement?
A: Paul Tiffany, a senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and co-author of Business Plans for Dummies, suggests three steps for articulating your company’s primary purpose.
1. Ask key employees to write a draft statement about what the company does—but tell them to keep it short. “Preferably only two or three sentences,” Tiffany says, “employing simple and straightforward language.”
2. From their answers, craft a single statement that includes language describing how the company differs from its competitors (keeping in mind that a mission statement is neither a vision statement nor a statement of values).
3. Circulate the draft document to a range of external stakeholders. Encourage their response, revise as necessary and send the revision to select advisors. “Lastly,” Tiffany says, “finalize the mission statement based on everything you now know,” and publish the document both internally and externally.