The 140-Character Mission Statement

To focus your mission statement, try boiling it down to a tweet. That's what these business owners did.
Self, Chris Guillebeau, Inc
November 25, 2013

At a book signing event in Dallas, I met Laura. She was an eager want-trepreneur who had just taken the big leap in establishing her business and signing her first two clients.

The first clients were people she'd known for years. Having helped them to solve problems in their businesses before for free, Laura had no problem signing them up as paying customers. But now that she was looking to grow her business, hopefully going full time within the next year, she was struggling.

“I meet with people and tell them I'm available to help,” she says. “They usually thank me and promise to call, but they never do.”

I had a hunch that she wasn't being specific enough. Helping people with your business is great, but you need to be clear on what the help encompasses. Laura needed a shorter mission statement.

The Twitter Challenge

Recently I used Twitter to ask how others describe their businesses in a single short sentence. Answers couldn't go over 140 characters, the natural limit of a tweet. The following are some of my favorite responses:

We help people protect themselves from financial loss when something bad happens. (@wiseinsgroup)

I help teachers, and only teachers, make wise choices with their money. Simple enough, right? (@davegrant82)

I help people and businesses achieve their peak by developing their habits. That pretty much encompasses everything I do. (@kkinnison)

My job is to automate the solution to people's problems through software. (@luis_dep)

I help people make more money. Does that count? (@philip_morgan)

Notice what these short statements have in common—they are specific. Dave Grant helps teachers—only teachers—make wise choices with their money. Kendra Kinnison unites her work around the importance of habits. Philip Morgan cuts to the chase: He helps people make more money.

You want to generate surprise and delight throughout your business, beginning with that first impression: “What do you do, exactly?” It's not just about an elevator pitch; it's about clearly knowing what you do and how it helps people.

When you have a clear and concise answer, it's much easier to move to the next step: “Can I sign you up?”

How about you—can you describe your business in 140 characters? Give it a try in the comments below.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Self, Chris Guillebeau, Inc