The importance of mission statements is widely recognized, but for many organisations it can just become a plaque on the wall with little or no value at all. A mission statement is the vision or dream your organisation started out with. It’s where you want to go and what you want to achieve. And your organisation should be living that mission in everything they do.
At face value, a mission statement helps set a direction for any business; something everyone is working towards, our north star, so to speak. It also guides decision-making and encourages everyone in an organisation to ask themselves if what they’re doing is helping to move the business in the direction of their mission.
But I think it’s more than just that. I think it’s about standing for something and having an identity that differentiates who you are and why you exist. In his Ted talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Simon Sinek explores how having a reason why you do something helps set you up for success. It’s easy to talk about what you do and how you do it, but the why can often be a bit harder.
At Spektrix, we’ve long stated that:
Our mission is to provide arts organisations with the best possible chance of success, by giving them the tools and support to help them grow their audiences and increase their revenue. Combining the newest technology with our knowledge of the sector, we want to make Spektrix the best ticketing, marketing and fundraising software in the world.
We try to keep this mission in mind in everything we do and believe that mission statements are so useful for any organisation, particularly in the arts. When thinking about writing your own, here are some questions you should try to answer with your statement.
What does your organisation do?
Imagine someone making the decision to come to your organisation or interact with your venue in some way. Why would that person choose to come to you instead of going elsewhere? What does coming to your venue do for them? These are important questions to have answered in your mind before writing your mission statement.
We believe there is inherent social value in the arts, and that a world without the arts, and live entertainment in general, would be worse off. It’s a tough sector to work in. One that has to fight for its audience’s loyalty against not only other live entertainment, but against Netflix, against Xbox and against Facebook*.
Not only does the sector face dwindling audiences, but also funding cuts across the board, from the state, from the trusts and foundations and from individual donors. The outcome is, that while everyone working in the arts is hugely passionate about supporting the sector, they’re often under-resourced, under-financed and under-supported. So, there’s an obvious need to help the sector work smarter and achieve more with less. And that’s where Spektrix comes in.
How do you do it?
What makes the way you work different from other organisations? How does your heritage inform the decisions you take about running your organisation? For us, it’s about finding ways for technology to help the arts sector do better. We do it by understanding the needs of the sector, listening to the requirements of people working in arts organisations and thinking about what the end customer, the audience or donor, wants.
This means coming up with solutions that are relevant to the arts sector, that set them up for success, that are best practice and that are sustainable for the long term, as well as considering the needs of organisations now and in the future. And of course, given we’re talking about solutions that people use all day everyday, it’s also about ensuring they’re well designed, user friendly and cloud based – so they can be accessed anywhere, anytime, any device.
What do we deliver?
Down to the nitty gritty. What is it you actually do to achieve the above? For Spektrix, it’s that we deliver cloud-based software that contains the tools arts organisations need for to be successful, tools for marketing, fundraising, finance and box office (and soon to be education), as well as support delivered by people who have all worked in the sector.
Our features help our users grow their business, being smart about identifying audiences and communicating with them at the right time, in the right way. These features are designed with a simple aim in mind - make life easy for audiences and to help our audiences make a bit more money.
Things to remember when writing a mission statement:
- Keep it short. Two or three sentences maximum.
- Stay simple. Stay away from overly-complicated business jargon.
- Look at the big picture. Think beyond just what you physically do on a daily basis and talk about the impact you want to make from doing it.
Now it’s your turn
I can’t begin to emphasise how important I believe mission statements are for everyone, irrelevant of their sector or type of organisation. Knowing what you’re trying to do and why you’re trying to do it helps not only set direction for your team, but it also motivates them.
8 Examples of great mission statements:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.
We strive to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry with brands built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle!
We seek to be Earth's most customer-centric company for four primary customer sets: consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators.
To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
To provide the best customer service possible.
*The average person spends one hour forty minutes browsing social networks every day. – Global Web Index Report 2015