Creating a mission statement is one of the first steps to developing a startup. It outlines your startup's vision, and how your products or services address a gap in the marketplace or otherwise solve a problem.

In essence, the mission statement should succinctly address the reason for the business and the problems your services are trying to solve.

© iStock
© iStock

The mission statement should also explain how your company plans to accomplish its vision, while analysing the steps to achieve success.

Investors, customers and employees should be able to read the mission statement and immediately understand the value of the company.

Read next: How to start a business from scratch

What to include in a mission statement?

As mentioned above, a mission statement should identify short-term goals and long-term aspirations.

It is essential to be specific in what your company aims to deliver. If you choose to focus on the short-term goals then you must remember to update the statement in order to stay relevant, but if you choose to focus on the long-term then it is important to use universally understood language that will communicate the purpose of your startup.

The core elements for a startup mission statement should include the corporate values, strategic elements and the business purpose.

Every mission statement should aim to address the question: "what does your company do?" This question can be answered simply by focusing on the results the customer will get from working with the company and purchasing the products.

It does not have to be too long, in fact, a mission statement can be summarised in one to two sentences. This could even be the company slogan so it is a good idea to keep it concise.

What to avoid                                                                

Writing the mission statement can be a difficult task. Often, startup owners may feel the need to include buzzwords to sell the product or service to potential customers.

However, it's important to avoid buzzwords like "best," "excellence," and "leader" and focus on a specific purpose. You want to convey as much meaning as possible in the words you do choose to use.

And it might be best to steer clear of jargon altogether unless your business is targeting a very specific niche where this will be understood.

According to Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, avoiding terms like the above make it easier to create a mission statement that stands out.

Revisit it

Once you have structured the mission statement it is important to revisit it continuously as the company develops.

The mission statement is likely to guide the company's positioning, particularly during the customer validation stage. Customers should be able to identify how your business stands out from the competition.

It should seek to include the company’s culture as well as its initial goals. This will also ensure that it is easy to remember and focuses on consistency and value.

A mission statement we like is from Twitter - it's concise and forward-thinking: "To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers."

It effectively addresses the purpose of the platform and exactly what it aims to provide for users, a great example for startups to follow.