Why did you choose to start your business? Did you have a detailed plan of who your customers would be, how you wanted your business to be perceived and the market segments you would appeal to? If so, great! If not, then it's never too late to draw up your brand proposition!
Your brand proposition, or mission statement, should encapsulate your business and convey what sets you apart from your competitors and makes your business tick, but remember that just having these words means nothing – a great example of this was the Enron mission statement:
"We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves....We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance don't belong here." Which I’m sure you'll agree that in hindsight has a certain level of irony!
Why is it important to have a brand proposition? Your mission statement is an opportunity to define your company’s goals, standards, internal culture and ethical stance. Having this set firmly in place will ensure your vision for the business is more easily fed through to every aspect of your organisation (particularly your employees) and increases the chances of your customers picking up on it too. As your business grows and you have to relinquish control of certain elements (you can't do it all!), having this in place will help your team to make the right decisions when you aren't around to influence them.
Here are some questions that might help inspire you to build your mission statement:
List 3 USPs your business offers
Why did you start your business?
If your business were a model of car what would it be?
What are your goals?
Who is your ideal customer?
Do you provide solutions for your customers' problems?
Remember you're trying to communicate what you stand for, and keep it clear, concise and memorable! Once your mission statement is written, consider adding more detail by preparing an 'Elevator Pitch'.
Your mission statement will help you to communicate your vision to anyone who joins your team, and any other people you start working with, for example if you were to commission a logo design or brand identity consultation.