A mission statement might seem insignificant, but it can play a big role in keeping your business on track!

What drives your business? You likely know why you got into the screen printing business and what benefits you hoped to provide your customers. But do your customers know? Do your employees? And do your employees know how they fit into your overall business plan? Even as a business owner, as you go through your operations, day in and day out, it can be difficult to lose sight of why you’re doing what you do.

A mission statement can solve all of these problems. For many small businesses, a mission statement seems unnecessary, something better left to nonprofit groups or large corporations. Not taking the time to craft a mission statement, regardless of your business’s size, can be a big mistake. Mission statements are a succinct way to keep you focused. They can help you make decisions that keep your business in line. They can motivate your employees by helping them understand how their responsibilities are helping further your screen printing shop. Mission statements also provide customers, or potential customers, with a clear picture of what your company can do for them. In fact, companies with mission statements have been shown to outperform companies without mission statements.

If you’ve never crafted a mission statement before, where do you start? Mission statements might be short, but they do take a fair amount of time to draft and edit to reflect what drives your business. To get started on your screen printing business’s mission statement, you really need to think about three things: What you do, how you do it and why you do it.

What does your screen printing business do?

Of course, your screen printing shop decorates apparel and other items. To draft your mission statement, however, you need to think about your niche. What specifically does your screen printing shop do that other screen printing shops don’t? This is an integral part of a mission statement because it immediately lets potential customers know what you can provide them with. A local business looking for a screen printer to fill a high volume order of professional-looking corporate apparel likely wouldn’t benefit doing business with a screen printer who creates and prints small runs of custom artwork for local bands, and vice versa.

How does your screen printing business do what it does?

The how goes beyond the nuts and bolts of making stencils and laying down ink. How exactly do you achieve what you do, within your niche? If what you do is create environmentally friendly custom apparel, your “how” might focus on what types of inks you use and how you select your substrates. If you create branded apparel for businesses, you might talk about how you partner with them through the branding process. If your business centers on creating unique graphics for local businesses or events, your how will focus on that process.

Why does your business do what it does?

The “why” is where you mission statement will really hit home. This is the portion of that statement that will speak directly to you, your staff and your clients. It will help you focus your decision making to determine whether your decisions are in line with your company values; it will direct your employees and motivate them toward an end goal; and it will tell your customers why they should work with you. “Whys” can vary greatly from one screen printing business to another when working in the same niche. A screen printer who focuses on environmentally friendly products and processes might do what they do to create a cleaner, more sustainable world, or they might do it to provide their clients with apparel that upholds their personal values of sustainability.

The what-how-why process should help you to create a rough version of your mission statement. From there, you will polish that statement to create a direct and dynamic mission statement that excites your potential customers and your staff. Once you have that mission statement, you can use it to further your business. Post your mission statement around your facility to keep your employees — as well as yourself — focused on what you do and why. Include your mission statement on your website, in your brochures, or even on your invoices and letterhead, to solidify your branding and make customers and potential customers aware of what you stand for and why your business is the one they should trust with their screen printing needs.