Frame Your Mission & Message Well
Have you ever found yourself lying awake at night and wondering, “What am I missing?”
You work hard. You’re a good person. You’ve taken endless classes, online webinars, and bought more planners than you know what to do with. Yet, you are still nowhere near reaching your goals. What the heck is going on?
You are not alone.
I’ve worked in corporate America, and I’ve had a couple of home-based businesses (Creative Memories, anyone?) I can tell you that when you have the power of a big company behind you, branding & marketing amounts to, ‘Not my job.’
But when you get brave and step out to do the thing you’ve always dreamed of doing, it doesn’t take long for all the moving parts to become overwhelming. A few balls will drop, a few things will slip through the cracks, and you’ll end up spending a lot of time and energy on something that, as it turns out, doesn’t matter. Not to mention the time you ignore your kids, are crabby with your husband, or neglect your friends. Forget about self-care. (Psst. Netflix doesn’t count as “rest.”)
What you need are a few well-defined boundaries that will reign in all the chaos and free you up to do what you do best.
First, let me say that this list is good for everyone including small-business owners, communicators, and dreamers. No matter who you are or what you are trying to do, this method will help you get straight about your plan. Honestly, a ten-year-old girl scout selling cookies could benefit from this.
1. MISSION STATEMENT: This is a short, clear statement that defines what you are doing, for whom, and why. Think about how your brand solves a problem and who needs it most. Then, fill in this quick template to get the ideas rolling.
TEMPLATE: The purpose of ____(name)________ is to provide _____(service or product)_______ for ____(customer)_______ so that ___(result/benefit/why)____.
2. VISION: This is essentially a big goal. Studies prove that when you have a target you are trying to hit, you stay more focused and are more likely hit the bullseye. So, think about what your life looks like in 5 years. Even if it changes or evolves as you go, knowing where you are going is half the battle.
3. VALUES: This may seem obvious but take a few minutes to write down what is important to you about your venture. Do you want it to be affordable? Do you want it to be authentic? Do you want it to be light-hearted? Defining your non-negotiables is the first step in building your brand identity.
4. STRATEGY: There are a million ways to do a million things in the world, but how are you going to do them? Will you have an online store? Will you use social media? If yes, which platforms? Will you use a blog or podcast? Knowing where your target market is can help you determine the methods you’ll use to get the word out. Pro Tip: Start with one or two things, master those, and then add one or two more. The surest way to get burned out is to take on too much too fast.
5. MEASURES: Growing your business or brand means a lot of trial and error, so it’s necessary to be able to measure aspects of your efforts to see what is working and what is not. By figuring out what information you want to track, you can reduce guessing and get to tweaking faster. What can you measure that affects your outcome? These are typically straightforward and unemotional. For example, you can track things like units sold, an increase in your number of followers, traffic to your blog, etc. I recommend creating a spreadsheet of all the things you want to track and then set a reminder on your phone to check it on the 1st of every month.
Over the next few months, I’ll go into greater detail about each of these. For now, start thinking through some of them. It won’t be long before you find that defining these aspects of your brand or business are useful tools that are the difference between spinning your wheels and spreading your wings.