You’ve probably heard of a mission statement before. You may also have heard of a vision statement, which is similar to a mission statement but serves a different purpose. Creating mission and vision statements is a key component of developing the image of your business. An effective mission statement is an important aspect of your business and its brand - but how exactly do you write one?
What is a mission statement?
Before you can write a mission statement, you first need to understand what a mission statement is. A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. It appeals to two different types of people: Your employees and your customers.
Employees should use your mission statement as as motivation to create work that aligns with the company’s goals. Customers should refer to your mission statement as a way of learning what your company does and why they should patronize your company over others. The purpose of a mission statement is to set your business apart from other companies with similar products or services. It explains why your company excels in your industry as well as what makes it unique.
A mission statement is meant to be short. It distills the essence of your company into a brief summary that explains what your company does and its purpose. A mission statement’s format can vary, but it typically ranges in length from one sentence to a paragraph. The idea is to include enough information to fully communicate the idea behind your company but to avoid long, confusing sentences or fancy vocabulary that might discourage people from reading it.
Why does my company need a mission statement?
An effective mission statement is like an elevator pitch —it quickly explains what your company does, why it’s good at it, and why people should be interested in it. This is helpful for a number of reasons. First, mission statements show customers that your business has clearly defined goals and explains what your business does in an accessible way. Customers may be more likely to choose your company over a competitor if they know exactly what to expect or if they agree with the goals outlined in your mission statement.
Second, mission statements are an integral part of every level of your business. At the top, a mission statement guides the entire company toward the same set of achievable goals. Farther down, a mission statement can be continually referred to as the company creates new products and services to ensure that the business remains consistent. At the bottom, a mission statement can filter into every part of your employees’ daily decisions. A mission statement motivates employees to work together to help the company achieve its goals and encourages them to make decisions that align with those goals.
Mission statements are flexible and have countless benefits for all kinds of businesses. They can apply to big-picture items, such as your company’s name and logo, and small- picture items — even the dress code in your office. However, since a mission statement is such an integral part of your company and its workforce, you’ll want to make sure you write the best one possible.
How do I write a mission statement?
Now that we know how your business will benefit from having one, let’s learn how to write a company mission statement.
First, jot down your company’s purpose in as few words as possible (aim for five or less). Get down to the essentials; at the end of the day, what does your company actually do? Some examples include:
- Provide financial advice
- Sell automobile parts
- Bake and sell baked goods
- Design websites
- Connect people together
This is just the starting point for the rest of your mission statement, so it doesn’t have to be eloquent or impressive!
Next, explain how your company does this. You may find this step more difficult because it’s not as straightforward as simply jotting down what your company does. Try to brainstorm a list of phrases that illustrate the method your business uses to achieve its purpose. You might want to think about your company’s values and incorporate some of those throughout the process. Some examples are:
- Providing superior customer service
- Providing high-quality products and/or services
- Providing equal access to resources
- Creating change or progress
- Promoting creativity and innovation
You can see how each of these is an action that could help a company achieve its purpose.
Finally, add why your company does what it does. No mission statement (or business, for that matter) is complete without a purpose. What drives your company forward? Is it:
- To give everyone the same opportunities
- To improve people’s minds, bodies, and/or souls
- To make people’s lives easier
- To make the Earth a better place to live
- To help people learn new things
Or something else entirely? You may even be able to come up with more than one purpose; if so, great! Add a few more sentences to really make your company come to life for others.
Examples of great mission statements
You know how to write an effective mission statement; now, get inspired by these sample mission statements below:
- Starbucks — Our Mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
- Google —Our mission: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
- Amazon —To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.
- Twitter —Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
- Snap Inc. —We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. We contribute to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.