Too many entrepreneurs and startups get caught up trying to be everything for everyone. You can always add features or sub-products down the road, but don’t lost sight of your mission and your core competencies. Focus on one problem that your target customers have and solve it.
Once you start throwing in every decent idea that can be added to your product and service offering, you will find yourself with a disjointed solution that only partially solves your customers problems. As a startup, you need to determine your core competencies and stick to what’s truly essential.
Exercise: Trimming the Fat
No matter how refined you think your product or service is, cut it in half. Pare down the features until you are left with the most essential ones, and then do it again. By doing this process, you’ll avoid over-engineering, you’ll be much more efficient, you’ll spend far less on product development and employee costs and you’ll wind up with a much more narrowed target market to focus your limited sales and marketing budget on. Furthermore, you’ll end up with a product/service that truly solves your customer’s core problem.
Your company’s Mission Statement is regarded as the guideline of your company’s direction. While also representing your company’s beliefs and values, your Mission Statement will give you goals and direction. It is an opportunity to show what you wish to accomplish and how you will go about doing so. These few lines of your business plan serve to create the identity of your company.
Your Mission Statement represents you and your ideals. While it a good idea to read other companies’ mission statements to form ideas, it is easy to get caught up in creating an identity that you think will appease the masses. Stay true to what you believe your company represents in terms of beliefs, value, and purpose – it’s easy to spot a fake.
What sets you apart? A great mission statement will set you apart from your competitors. It will help to show investors, employees, and customers know what your plans are and what gives your company a competitive advantage.
Why are you here? Your mission statement will help you evaluate your company’s growth over time. By consistently referring back to your mission statement, you can see if your company has stayed true to it’s purpose and assess what future steps the company should make.
State your purpose. The main question any mission statement should answer is: why does this business exist? It is critical to identity what makes your company special and to defend it’s purpose. Going further is being able to answer: if this company did not exist, what opportunities is the world missing out on?
Don’t forget to sign up for The Startup Garage’s RSS feed!