Design Work

Why do a mission statement?

And when/if you do one, how do you use it?

Who are you?
What do you believe in, and
Where are you going?

Sound like three very simple question? Perhaps in the back of your brain you know the answers. Well you dredge them up, put them on paper and you’ll have a mission statement – aim for a single sentence that says who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and where.

Why I need a mission statement?

Decision making.

Running a design studio involves hundreds of day-to-day decisions.

Some of them are important: ‘Will I have a cappuccino on my way to work?’ And some of them are more profound: ‘Will I take that $1m project in Brisbane and open an office, or relocate the business?’ You will always be able to answer the first questions. If you haven’t defined your mission you definitely can’t answer the last.
The mission statement is the basis for all your major decisions. A decision to take on a large project needs to be viewed against your mission statement. If the work is outside your stated mission then you probably shouldn’t take the project.


A mission statement gives you a focus. It is the start for determining your target market, the service you will offer them, and where you will offer it. This gives you boundaries that you will place on your business, and allow you to concentrate within those boundaries.

After you have written your mission statement the business plan is a bit like building blocks. You have a broad category for your target market so that you can begin to build a database and an approach that will win business in that market.You have defined what it is you do so you can then analyse your strengths, weaknesses and threats.


It doesn’t matter if it is just you working out of a serviced office, or you employ a dozen people, the mission statement gives a unity of thought. The whole team is working towards the same goal. When you or your team meet someone at a party and are asked What do you do? There is a ready answer straight out of the mission statement.
It is the type of thing that just rolls off your tongue when you are cold calling.

Using your mission statement

Use your mission statement to assess those companies you want to work with – ask yourself if they will help you meet your mission. Similarly, use it to work out which other companies or individuals you want to form strategic relationships with. In the corporate world, clients look favourably at those studios with a mission statement because it demonstrates that they can walk the walk and talk the talk.


Developing a mission statement can be enlightening. In the process you will discover your businesses strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day you will be focused.

Article republished with permission from dmzine illustration for Streamtime by Janine Wareham

Aaron Green

Founder of Streamtime and guy responsible for all of this madness

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