test.ical.ly | getting the web by the balls

Mar/13

11

Your next strategy should start with a mission statement!

visionaryA strategy paper in a nutshell is a document declaring a goal and describing a way to get there. The goal however is often mistaken to be the description of a final outcome or a sales volume or likely.

That’s important too but first should come the mission statement.

The missions statement is only one or few sentences long and is a qualitative description of your endeavours very nature. It should display your motivation to do it as well as the motivation of your users to love it.

This could have been one.

Facebook will become the biggest global social network by enabling its users to share and communicate with their friends in the most convenient way.

Your mission statement should summarize all the important facts of your idea. The crucial decisions you’ve made.

A while back when we have been tinkering with the new strategy for the then still existing Financial Times Deutschland one of the most important question we had to face was the contradiction between increasing traffic on our website and introducing paid content at the same time. Our mission statement went something along these lines.

The Financial Times Deutschland will be everyones number one source for up-to-date political and economical news and home for our premium customers seeking guidance and classification.

It’s not crystal clear to everyones eyes but in this sentence lies the distinction between free and paid content. But the exact definition of the two only came much later in our documents. Still we knew what it was and had established the same understanding resulting in this one sentence.

This – the common understanding of those involved and the sentence representing this understanding – was the most crucial part of our strategy paper. Every single detail that came after had to match with this statement. Everything that did not pay into the mission statement had to be considered a distraction and eventually thrown out.

Having a mission statement like this helps you to distinguish important from less important stuff and helps you keeping focussed.

It’s not as easy as it looks especially when you have multiple people working on the same strategy but it is worth the effort.

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