Deborah Sweeney – Four tips to help give your business a clearer direction in 2014

It’s still 2013 as I’m writing this, but by the time everyone else reads it, we’ll be closing in on 2014 and kicking off the New Year, working to make good on the resolutions and plans we promised our businesses.

What’s one area to take a closer look at? The company mission statement.

Typically defined as a formal summary of what your organization intends to do in both the short term and long run, mission statements also tend to be woefully outdated thanks to their very definition.

Formality and a lengthy summary can’t hold our attention span the way a down-to-earth and easily tweetable statement can. Now this isn’t to say you need to write everything in 140 characters or less. But if you don’t already have one in place for your business or you have a really stale statement that no longer gels with the direction your company has taken, it might be time to conduct some early spring-cleaning and overhaul your mission statement.

Aim for real and actionable, but also slightly lofty

As mentioned in Inc., mission statements should contain the following four elements: value, inspiration, plausibility and specificity. A simple, concise, grounded and fitting statement that addresses a call to action is the key here. It’s understandable that your statement shouldn’t be too much of a pie-in-the-sky plan for your business (steer clear of “we’ll single-handedly heal the world”-isms).

But a mission statement also needs to inspire just as much as it needs to encourage others to act out on it. Include at least one attainable element that shows how your company can go above and beyond where others may not.

It shouldn’t just be a description of your business

It’s easy to muddle together the synopsis of what your brand does with what it aspires to do. While you do need to mention what it is your business does, keep your overall business description separate from your mission statement — after all, the mission is based on the intentions of your company.

Think about your statement on an annual basis

Making changes to your statement at the start of the year is a great way to kick everything off to a solid start, but it’s also important to revisit your mission statement on an annual basis to make sure it’s still a fit for your company. Additionally, revisit the way you put it together from the grammar usage to how comprehensive it is.

Share your statement with your employees and customers!

At my company, we’re in the midst of revising our own mission statement and plan to make signs for each employee’s desk to showcase the new statement.

Whether you decide to redo your statement completely or even if you make just a few small changes, share them with your team members and customers — it’s a great and fresh reminder of all that your business stands for.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark and copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney