Mission possible

February 4, 2013 at 5:22 am | Posted in Business | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Arrow in Target

You too can hit your
target audience.

I used to think mission, vision and values statements were corporate instruments that didn’t apply to small business owners like me.

Lately, however, I’ve been asked more often to summarise what I ‘do’.

Luckily, the 68-year-old man who services my car has set a brilliant benchmark.

This is the de facto mission statement I’ve used for years:

I provide premium writing, editing, education and recruitment copywriting services to enlightened clients who value effective communication and outstanding human resource performance.

It sounded good at the time, but now it seems a bit pompous. It describes the clients I want, but not the benefits I give. There’s too much ME! in it.

This is what I wrote for my Joomla Bamboo interview:

I optimise client communications by making them clear, concise and correct. This builds their brand, creates the best possible results and delivers the biggest bang for their marketing buck.

The words are shorter. It’s less demanding and more specific. It has a big WIIFM* factor, which most business advisors say is mandatory. But it’s still wordy – especially for a copywriter.

Printed on my last car servicing invoice is this gem:

Our aim: Fairness to all concerned using quality products to make your car safe and reliable at a reasonable price – quickly!

This ticks every box for me. It could almost serve as constitution for a new country!

So how did a wiry, aging motor mechanic best me at writing?

He wrote from the heart, about what he knew and loved best.

And that’s the power behind most great communications.

But wait, there’s more! At the bottom of the bill is the line:

Thanks for trusting us (Bert^)

And if that isn’t old school enough, Bert wrote a detailed explanation of all he did to my car with a fountain pen!

I always tell my clients that every communication either builds or erodes their brand.

An invoice is as much a communication as a job ad, newsletter or annual report.

In his little invoice, Bert gave the impression that he was an honest, thoughtful professional who took care over his work, appreciated my business and operated to principles of decency that are in short supply.

Though it’s back to the drawing board for me and my mission statement, I’m humbled by and grateful for Bert’s expert inspiration.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

* What’s In It For Me

^ Not his real name.


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  1. This is great advice Paul. Short, sharp and descriptive of what you do and the values of your business. Once you have it the key is to share it with your customers an prospects so they know what to expect when they engage your services.

    The challenge is for staff to embrace it and act in a way that supports your vision. This should be the first cab off the rank at all training sessions for new and existing staff.

    • Excellent expansion, WLBB! You’ve added some great points. It’s one thing to have a mission statement – you’ve covered what we should actually DO with it. Many thanks for sharing your expertise. Kind regards, P. 🙂

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