A purpose statement can give a company focus and help keep employees motivated to reach company objectives. No matter which role an employee is in, the purpose statement will help drive their work and unify the workforce. Any business can benefit from having a purpose statement that they operate from.
In this article, we discuss what a purpose statement is, its uses and how to write your own purpose statement, with examples.
What is a purpose statement?
A purpose statement, sometimes called a "position statement," is a sentence that describes a company's focus as it pertains to its audience, whether that’s clients, customers, patients, parents or any other group or demographic. A purpose statement describes the overarching reason that a company exists, how it should conduct itself and the impact it has on who it's serving. Companies use purpose statements to help drive their mission and goals.
How is a purpose statement different from mission and value statements?
A purpose statement varies from mission and value statements in these key ways:
While purpose statements are mainly about the company's customers and the benefits they can expect from doing business with the company, a mission statement focuses on the big picture goals and values of the company. A mission statement is written more for the benefit of employees, so that they understand their roles within the company and how they contribute to the greater goals of the business. A mission statement may include competitive advantages and core values, and also serves to motivate employees.
A value statement focuses on the culture of the organization by providing employees a set of guiding principles that serve as directions for how they should conduct business. A value statement discusses a company's priorities and may include details about providing quality customer service, useful products, having a commitment to excellence or the principle of inclusiveness.
Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples
Ways you can use a purpose statement
A purpose statement is important because it helps define what the organization is all about, which is beneficial to customers and employees. Companies may use a purpose statement for the following reasons:
Increase employee motivation
When employees understand what drives the business and how customers benefit, they can better understand their role in helping the company realize its purpose. This will likely increase motivation among all employees who want to make a difference and care about the work they do for customers.
Meet company goals
A company is better able to meet its goals when there is a purpose statement that helps drive the business. All employees, from new hires to executives, know the direction the company is going in and that their contribution matters. When everyone is operating under the same purpose, it can be a fully functioning business where goals are at the forefront.
Establish employee loyalty
Employees appreciate working for a company that makes them feel like they are a valued part of the workforce. Communicating a strong company purpose increases this feeling because employees feel like part of a team working toward the company’s common goal. Along with a value statement, a purpose statement allows employees to operate within the core values that make up the organization and to feel good about the work they're doing.
Distinguish itself from the competition
A purpose statement defines what makes an organization unique. When employees and consumers can see how a company differentiates itself in the marketplace, then the company brand is strengthened.
Related: Ultimate Guide To Strategic Planning
How to write a purpose statement
If you’re writing a company purpose statement there are a few simple steps you can follow. Consider the following:
1. Form a purpose statement committee
Consider forming a committee of employees from a wide range of departments so you can incorporate different perspectives into your purpose statement. Encourage all members of the committee to share their insights and opinions so that many voices are represented in the final result.
2. Figure out "the why"
A purpose statement is all about what the company does for its audience. To figure that out, it's important to ask why the company was originally founded. If your company sells a product or service, think about why it's beneficial to customers and what makes the company unique in the marketplace.
3. Define who the company serves
To write a purpose statement, you first have to understand who or what the company serves. Remember that a purpose statement is specifically written about the customers who benefit from doing business with the company, so knowing who those customers are is one of the first steps. Think about their goals, aspirations, hobbies, interests and any challenges they may have, especially if the company's products or services can help alleviate some of those.
4. Define the product or service offerings
All employees are probably well aware of the different products and/or services their company has to offer, but think even deeper about those offerings. Contemplate the specific functions of those products or services, what problems are they solving and define alternate uses of those offerings. For example, a camera is for more than just taking pictures; a family uses a camera to capture important milestones so they can look back at those moments with fondness.
5. Know what makes you unique
The purpose statement is going to outline what makes you unique in the marketplace. Think about what other companies are doing and, then answer these questions:
- Are we providing a different product or service?
- Do we have a different target audience?
- Are we solving a particular pain point that no other company is solving?
How do we enhance our customers' lives?
6. Write down focus keywords
Think about important keywords for your business and make sure you incorporate them into the purpose statement. These keywords should motivate and inspire, as they celebrate the spirit of the company.
7. Ask for feedback from stakeholders and other employees
Although you may have a purpose statement committee in place, it's important to ask company stakeholders and additional employees to provide input. This can be done before drafting the purpose statement or before finalizing the purpose statement so you can make any necessary adjustments.
8. Finalize the purpose statement
After soliciting input, focusing on what the company provides and having a target audience in mind, it's time to finalize the purpose statement and distribute it to all employees so they understand the company’s defined focus.
Purpose statement examples
Here are some examples of purpose statements that you can use to create your own:
"Our purpose is to inspire every family in the world to enjoy Sunday dinner together."
"Our purpose is to support the health and well-being of our planet and everyone who lives here."
"Our purpose is to increase the accessibility of life-saving equipment for patients in underdeveloped countries."
"Our purpose is to provide people with the ability to purchase products they need at a price they can afford."