Purpose, business, and values

We have been re-thinking lately whether crowdSPRING needs or wants a “Mission Statement.” Although we had rejected the notion a number of months ago, we are wondering whether it might have value for us. Many businesses have one, but many more choose not to (whether consciously or not) . After bouncing this around a bit, we are thinking that it is a good way to communicate to our various audience (users, team members, investors) crowdSPRING’s purpose, model, and values.

Writing a mission statement should not be undertaken lightly – proper attention should be paid. Better to go without, than to have one that is shallow or banal. As I work on ours, there are three premises I am trying to keep in mind:

1. it needs to describe what we are, what we do, and who we serve,
2. it needs to act as a motivator, and
3. it needs to fit on a tee shirt.

This is not so easy. The “what we are” should describe the business itself; the “what we do” should define our purpose for being; and the “who we serve” should depict our users, both Buyers and Contributors. Mission statement as a motivator is tricky too – I want our mission statement to inspire, to provide guidance, and to drive us to excel and succeed. Thats a lot for one tee-shirt, isn’t it? Here’s a pass at the what and the who:

crowdSPRING is a global marketplace for creative services.
crowdSPRING gives buyers real choice and gives creatives a level playing field on which to compete.
crowdSPRING helps buyers and providers find one another.

A little dry perhaps, but descriptive. Motivational? I don’t think so. Tee shirt? size XXL. Looking again at what I just wrote, I think that the three statements above hit maybe 2 out of 3. The first statement defines our business, the second our purpose, but I would not say that the third reflects our values. How hard can it be – what is our purpose for existing, what is our organizational concept or “business,” and what are our values? Here’s another whack at it:

crowdSPRING is a global marketplace for creative services.
crowdSPRING gives buyers genuine choice and creatives a level playing field on which to compete.
crowdSPRING provides simplicity, transparency, and protection of intellectual property.

Not bad, but not exactly motivational. Here’s a more narrative approach:

crowdSPRING is a global community for buyers and providers of creative services. In our marketplace, buyers post projects and, in turn, creatives submit works for the buyer to choose from. We provide a level playing field, upon which the only important factors are the quality of an idea and the execution of the work. The process we provide is simple and transparent, and the intellectual property of our contributors is respected and safeguarded throughout.

Closer, I suppose….. I guess the rest of the weekend will be devoted to a “tee-shirt” pass…

Thoughts?