I always encourage my clients to write a manifesto for their business.
And no, I don’t want you to write something creepy a la The Unibomber. This isn’t about blowing people up. (Just their minds.)
What I’m talking about here is clarity.
Clarity for you. Clarity for your potential customers.
And since we all know “Clarity is Power,” there’s no way this can’t be good for you.
If you look it up, the word “manifesto” has its roots in the Latin “manifestum,” which means clear or conspicuous. See?
A manifesto is simply a declaration of your beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions.
Not so scary, right?
Start on the Inside
This one will take you a little bit of time (and it should). But spend a good chunk of time (at least an hour) away from computer with this question:
What do I care about most?
Think about how you run your business. How you run your life.
What is it that you value above all else? What couldn’t you live without?
Write all that down.
It might just be words and phrases. Nothing fully formed just yet. That’s okay.
Let it sit there on the back burner for awhile and simmer. About two or three days should do just fine.
Get on Your Soapbox
Imagine for a moment that you had to give a speech to your family and friends about the state of the world, the state of business and what needs to change. What would you say?
Which of your values (those words and phrases you wrote down the first time) would you expand on?
How would you change the world?
Bring your passion here. We want folks to say, “Yes!” and be ready to join you on your “revolutionary” journey.
Take a stand, use active verbs — don’t be wishy-washy. Channel your inner Visionary Hero for this one.
Put Your Signature on It
You’ve got a brand, right? Of course, you do. There’s a theme there somewhere. Bring it.
Take that theme and apply it to your manifesto. Edit and expand as necessary until the voice is totally and unmistakably yours.
That’s what I did with my Be a Chef (not a Cook) manifesto. I used the theme of cooking and used it as a filter for my core values.
It’s what I did with my Business Storytellers’ Manifesto.
Once you’ve got the basics down, expand on that again and again via various blog posts.
Before you know it, you’ll have enough material for an entire book.
Let it Evolve
Look, nothing stays the same forever. If it does, it dies.
Your values grow deeper, richer and more meaningful with time. Embrace that.
Come back to your manifesto at least twice a year and make sure nothing’s missing.
There might be a nuance you need to expand on, or a phrase or two that needs tweaking.
Get Inspired to Inspire Others
If you feel like you’re just not there yet, that you don’t have anything to say, you might need to spend more time on the self-inventory part.
And if you’re just curious about how others have done it, I’ve pulled together a few cool examples you might find helpful.
And here are a few, lesser-known manifestos from some of my friends and colleagues: