What Is a Mission Statement? Definition and Examples
Updated June 24, 2022
A company must know what it wants to accomplish before it can make smart decisions regarding future endeavors and operational changes. To understand what direction the business should start moving toward, everyone in the company needs to understand what the business does now. A mission statement allows organizations to better define their future and make those business-changing decisions.
In this article, we explain what a mission statement is, why every company should have one and tips for crafting one.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a single sentence that describes a company's fundamental purpose by explaining why the business exists. It articulates to employees and the public what the company's purpose is. Mission statements are incredibly varied because they are unique to each company. However, they all broadly illustrate the present capabilities, customer focus and the products and services a company produces.
Why a company should have a mission statement
Every company needs a mission statement because it serves a number of business purposes. The statement itself ensures everyone in the organization understands the motivation of the company and helps serve as a foundation during business planning for more effective decision-making. When everyone agrees on why the business exists there is less confusion about what direction to take the business in.
A mission statement is usually written by a group of individuals with great interest in the success of the company such as the founders and board members. Sometimes companies include lower-level roles in a mission statement revision as a team-building exercise, which can help employees feel valued and boost motivation.
Because mission statements are part of the public face of a company, they're great for marketing messaging to promote the company's purpose. Sometimes mission statements are the core of an organization's advertising efforts.
Related: Guide to Company Culture
Examples of successful mission statements
Here's a list with mock examples of successful mission statements:
Honey Goods: At Honey Goods, we produce the finest honey in a way that's good for the earth and good for you.
Outgoing Kids University: Outgoing Kids University exists to provide educational services, allowing every child to succeed in learning and life.
Exploration Air: To inspire humanity's mind and imagination.
CarCreation: To reinvent how people buy cars.
Open World: Build the most useful product, respect every living creature, use business to motivate and execute solutions to the global environmental crisis.
Healthygreens: To spread the power of self-care and inspiring people to live healthier by connecting communities to real food.
Technologment Inc.: Our mission is to be the tech industry's leading company with the best personal computers, professional software, mobile media, computing devices and digital music platform in the world.
Shop It All Company: Save people money, sell them quality goods, better their lives.
How to write a successful mission statement
Follow these steps to guide you while writing your mission statement:
Define your market story
Begin your statement with the good your company does
Make the statement realistic and coherent
Keep the statement relatively short
Keep the possibilities endless
Discuss, revise, refine
1. Define your market story
Think about the process a real person goes through when deciding to buy the product or service you sell. Imagine why they want what you offer, how they find out about your company and what purchasing from you does for them. This theoretical story should be as concrete as possible, defining who your target customer is and how your business differs from the rest. Answer these four questions:
What does our company do?
How do we do this?
Whom exactly do we do this for?
What is the value we bring to them?
For example, say your company exists to provide cleaning services. The answers may be as follows:
What does our company do? We provide cleaning services.
How do we do this? By using the highest quality and environmentally-friendly cleaning products with the most advanced cleaning technology.
Whom do we do this for? For environmentally-conscious families and individuals.
What is the value we bring to them? Reasonable prices, friendly customer service and exceptional home cleaning.
Sometimes a better way to define what you do is to identify what the company doesn't do. Once you have this story in your head it'll be easier to write a mission statement.
Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples
2. Begin your statement with the good your company does
When writing the mission statement, start with what makes your business unique and the produce or service you provide to those you serve. Emphasize the unique excellence you offer. Define what makes your business special for the target audience defined in your market story.
3. Make the statement realistic and coherent
A mission statement should be clear and realistic, so it engages employees and customers. A good way to make sure of this is to include employees in the mission writing process. Recognizing employee contributions to the company can also have a positive effect on employee morale.
4. Keep the statement relatively short
A company's mission statement should be written out in a few sentences or less. Some of the most successful mission statements include just a few words. Remember, this is a branding tool, so you want it to be memorable.
5. Think long-term
Marketing promotes mission statements to consumers as a form of advertisement and branding, so consider it an investment in your company's future. Make sure it reflects long-term organization goals.
6. Keep the possibilities endless
If you plan to expand the company, make sure to avoid limiting its reach in the mission statement. For example, instead of "We want to provide the best hair products in Michigan," incorporate your future plans of expansion with "We want to provide the best hair products in the northern hemisphere." While you can revise and change your mission statement as you grow, you want to inspire business partners and employees with the direction the business is headed.
7. Discuss, revise, refine
After you've drafted the mission statement, spend time discussing each word. Mission statements are fairly short and to the point, so every word matters. Dissect it as a group, revise it together and come to the final version. Keep in mind, mission statements will likely evolve as the company grows and changes, and you always have the option to revise the statement when it makes sense to update it.
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