A Mission Statement: Why Your Business Needs One

Contributor post by  Caroline and Jose of Handcrafted Consulting

print by Lisa Congdon
{Today we welcome new business contributors  to Poppytalk, Caroline and Jose of Handcrafted Consulting. But before I introduce them, I just wanted to send a big thank you and wishing much success to former Poppytalk Business writer, Rena Tom who is now off to run her new business venture Makeshift Society with partners Victoria of Sfgirlbybay and Suzanne Shade. Wishing them all the success! So now my introduction of Caroline and Jose:

Caroline and Jose, of the very successful handmade brand Paloma’s Nest, truly believe that artists don’t have to be starving. As mentors at Handcrafted Consulting, and Certified Etsy Educators, they love to teach creatives how to leverage branding, marketing, and the incredible power of the internet to make a living from craft. Here on Poppytalk, the pair brings you business-y goodness a few times a month. Based in Austin, they’ll travel anywhere for a (lengthy) chat about life as entrepreneurs.  }.  ~Jan

As creative business owners, we tend to have lots of ideas, both big and small. As artisans and designers, we often struggle with choices to make at every step in the creative process. Sometimes it feels like the easiest thing to do is toss a coin in the air to prioritize the list, but there is a tool that can help: how you choose which ideas, products or projects to focus on can often be decided by your mission statement.

How is that?
A mission statement is a few key sentences that can become a guiding light for
your company.

A good mission statement not only summarizes what your company does, but how it does it, and why it does it. It defines who you are creatively and helps to develop your brand, which, in turn, lets your customer know what your art is all about. At Paloma’s Nest, we use a good chunk of our mission statement in our tagline: “Handcrafted Modern Heirlooms, Designed to be Cherished.”
So, how can a few well-written, concise sentences point you in the right direction?

Here’s an example.
A few years ago we designed and created a really fun “memory” game for kids. It was made of wood, and came in a cloth bag; it was darling, and aesthetically, it fit in with our brand. No problem there. 
But something was missing from the idea- some spark that takes a good idea and makes it into a great product. We mulled it over for a few days- (What could we change? How could we improve it?)- and in the meantime, we repeated our mission statement in our minds over and over.

The answer was right in front of us. This design was definitely “handcrafted.” And, it was a “modern” take on a classic product.  BUT- it was not of heirloom quality. Voila! It didn’t meet our criteria to be in our collection, so we put it away on the shelf, and freed up our creative minds to work on other projects that better matched the mission of our company.

This same method holds true in many areas of business. Should you advertise in a certain spot? Apply to be in a certain show? Does your logo reflect the values you hold dear as written in your mission statement? If not, then it may not be the best choice for you.

Here are a few things to think about when writing your mission statement:
-What do you sell, or what business are you in? Can you define it?
-Who is your audience, or what is your niche?
-What is the feeling you want your clients to be left with, or what experience do you want them to have when they interact with your brand or buy one of your products?
-What sets you apart from your competition? What philosophies or morals do you hold close as an artist, and how do these reflect in your daily interactions with clients and suppliers?

So- does your business have a mission statement? Do you have a question about writing one, or want an opinion about one you are working on?
Share it in the comments here with us. A few sentences can change how you and the world perceive your business. And remember, just like everything in your business plan, you can always (and should!) adapt, change, and revise as you grow and evolve.

Caroline and Jose are the duo behind the heirloom gift brand Paloma's Nest. They believe artists don't have to be starving, so they mentor and educate creatives like you at Handcrafted Consulting. Join them for a workshop or a one-to-one virtual chat about starting, growing and managing your handmade business (plus, they are Certified Etsy Educators)!

Jan Halvarson


kitchen renovations on said...

The pink color here makes a great major theme color in contrast with background colors. Definitely a great design.

Ella Donnell said...

This is a fantastic article. As someone who has one foot in the corporate marketing and public relations world and one foot in the amazing handcrafted community I couldn't agree more. A good mission statement is so essential to defining your business for you and your customers.

Handcrafted consulting I think you are addressing a huge need in the handcrafted world and I commend you for it!