A woman with a mission

13 February 2015

Creating your dream is a journey that could take a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. Once you are clear about what you want to accomplish, writing a mission statement will help you define, articulate and solidify your ambition and passion (Oprah Winfrey).

Every organisation needs a mission.. or actually, has a mission. We teach our students that they need to write a mission statement when starting their own business, and in real life every organisation has one. It doesn't matter whether it has been written down in the foundation code of a (not for profit) organisation or how it was developed (not all businesses go on an 'away day' to discuss vision, mission and goals), but every organisation has a reason why they exist.

In many cases it will be making profit, at least enough money to pay the bills. Even when you want to earn a living with your own business, you probably started it because you have a passion that you want to share with the world to make it a bit more beautiful. You want to make a difference through the artwork you make, the clothes you design or the food that you serve.

In our case our passion is connecting people; facilitating the possibility for (young) people who work in the creative industry (artists, event organisers) to professionalise through meeting each other and sharing knowledge. We love getting people together from Southern Africa and the BeNeLux. Through working together, they teach other and learn new skills.

But how do we put that in a mission statement? I read that a good mission has 8 words only. A verb, target population and outcome.

The verb should not be a vague term like empowerment or change attitudes.. And the outcome should be concrete results... Ai, I see a challenge here. An interesting one, but not easy. (source: the_eight_word_mission_statement‎)

- Serving good food to local people and tourists

- Making beautiful affordable and wearable clothing on order

- Desiging good communication tools to attract more customers

- Connecting international creative entrepreneurs for continuing professional development

Another website about mission statements writes that your mission statement is an important part of your marketing. So you should think: What makes my organisation successful?

1. your passion (why do we exist)

2. what are we best at (what do you do)

3. clear sense of what is the bottom-line impact you are trying to make (what difference do you make).

(source: nonprofit.about.com)

A mission statement is the purpose. It should guide the actions of you organisation, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. We know what we want and we know why we do it, but it is very difficult to put it in words. When people ask me what we want to do with Manage Your Art, it takes me a couple of minutes to explain. It should be short and simple, and we should be able to explain in just a couple of sentences. So back to the drawing board to find the right words to describe our venture..