“When drafting your mission statement, the first step is deciding what you stand for,” says Phil Fennell, owner of Experience, The Salon. “Then you have to decide how to say that in as few words as possible.”
Fennell was determined to create a Mercedes-level salon in Pensacola, Florida, by excelling above and beyond any of the competition. “We decided our mission statement would be, ‘While others may talk about the experience, we simply deliver it.’”
Once you’ve developed a concise mission statement, give it the “Mother Test,” suggests Darrell Zahorsky in his article “Writing a Meaningful Mission Statement” on about.com. “Show your mission to your mother,” he says. “If she does not understand it, start again.”
What’s your unique selling position?
Are you going to be a “me-too” organization that enters the marketplace with a similar concept to your competitors and simply try to grab market share? Or, are you going to develop a unique position that differentiates your business from all the others in your market?
“Too many businesses simply copy the competition all the way down to the messaging, the logo and the look,” says John Bradley Jackson, author of First, Best or Different: What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Niche Marketing. “Think of the ads for law firms you’ve seen—they all seem to have three names with a photo of the attorneys all scowling. It’s really important to develop your own unique brand and avoid copying others.”
What’s your marketplace?
Gadberry recommends doing as much market research upfront as you can possibly afford.
“Rather than take on the whole world, it’s best to develop a three-tier strategy by identifying your first, second and third tiers of clients and competitors,” advises Gadberry. “Describe each tier in detail and link each to the brands, products and services they buy. This will identify competitors you can use as ‘inspiration’ as well as those who are threats. And, once you know your three tiers, you can select products and services and marketing materials to appeal to each.”
What’s your name?
Once you’ve established your motive, developed your mission statement, determined your point of differentiation, and concluded your research, it’s time to name your brand.
An overwhelming trend in the beauty business is to name the brand after yourself, but that might not be your best strategy. “Actually, naming a brand after the owner used to be referred to as one of the first five signs of small business failure,” laughs Fennell. “Yet, many in our industry have done it successfully. When it came to naming our salon though, I decided to choose a name that reflected our position, a name that we could market effectively.”