The 140 Character Mission Statement
I just studied the “$100 StartUp” method by Chris Guillebeau. He made a great book with a lot of inspiring examples and above all some advices we can easily implement in our ideas, startups or projects.
I´m thinking about posting some of his theories and advices from time to time in seperate articles. There is too much “input” for a broad summary this time.
Today´s topic is a quicky. “The 140 Character Mission Statement“.
Why have I chosen this topic? It´s just a quick-read and shows how easy and understandable Chris Guillebeau brought most topics down.
During a planning process for a project or startup, there is one step “Writing down a Mission Statement”. Chris´ simple exercise: Defining the mission statement for our business or our business idea in 140 characters or less.
Why 140? This is the maximum amount of text for an update on Twitter and a good natural limit for narrowing down a concept.
It may help to think of the first two characteristics of any business: a product/service and the group of people who pay for it:
We provide (product or service) for (customers).
It´s usually better to highlight a core benefit of our business instead of a descriptive feature. Accordingly, we can revise the statement a bit to read like this:
We help (customers) do/achieve/other verb (primary benefit).
Focusing like this helps we avoid “corporate speak” and drill down to the real purpose of the business as it relates to our customers. Here are a few examples:
If you have a dog-walking service the feature is “I walk dogs”. The benefit is “I help busy owners feel at ease about their dogs when they are not able to be with them”.
If you sell knitted hat patterns, the benefit is something like “I help people be creative by making a hat for themselves or someone close to them”.
If you make custom wedding stationery, you might say, “I help couples feel special about their big day by providing them with amazing invitations”.
Mentioned above, speaking about benefits is always better than speaking about features only. Inside the book you can find a lot of stories of businesses successfully adressing the customers through the benefits.