If someone were to ask you to define your company in one or two sentences, would you be able to? This may seem like quite the challenge – your business entails so many things – but the truth is, the largest corporations in the world are able to do this. And you need to, as well.

Defining your business is part of your overall business plan, which consists of several different components. One of the main elements is your Mission Statement. And, although it may be only a couple of words or a couple of sentences, it says a great deal about who you are and what your business is really all about. It could take you more than a couple of weeks or even a couple of months to figure out your mission and formulate your statement.

Major companies pay teams of professionals big bucks to develop their mission statements, with good reason. A clear, direct and focused mission statement not only conveys the gist of your business, it also is your best point of reference to see if you are doing what you set out to do.

You may think your business is one thing and it actually turns out to be something else; not entirely different, but different enough to change some of your plans and strategies. For example, a watch store owner realized that most of his time was spent repairing watches, while most of his money was spent selling them. He decided his business was actually a repair business, discontinued the sales operations and significantly improved his profits.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing the mission statement of your business:

  • Don’t try to narrow down your mission from the outset. Approach this from a larger scale, initially. Think about all of the aspects you envision for your company: your market, your product or service, the image you want to present, your values, your desired profit and ultimate goals.
  • Weigh in on why you are starting your business and why it will succeed.
  • Articulate your mission statement after you’ve already written the rest of your business plan. Mission statements appear in the Executive Summary, which is composed after the other components of the plan are written.
  • Once you commit all of the elements of your business to print, you will have a better understanding of what it is that you are trying to accomplish.
  • Once your business mission is in writing, you’ll have a concise guide to help you make decisions for your business. If an option doesn’t fit the mission, you probably shouldn’t choose it.
  • As time goes on, and your company hopefully grows, your mission statement is likely to change.

Here’s an example of the mission statement of one of the world’s largest and best-known companies. You can probably guess the company just by reading the statement. “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google sums itself up pretty well in just a dozen words.

However, there are plenty of mission statements where you probably wouldn’t be able to tell who the company is. The word “chocolate” is never mentioned in Hershey’s mission statement.

Does your mission statement reflect the core values and vision of your business?