Every business sells something. Every business is unique. And every business wants to put its best foot forward both in the physical world and online. Yes, your social media posts, website content, paid ads, emails should reflect that. But it’s also important to have one central statement that brings everything together.
That’s where your business mission statement comes in. This powerful blurb describes the essence of your company and gives customers and employees a clear image of what it’s is all about.
But even though it’s a short blurb, distilling your business into one or two sentences is not easy. And that’s what we’ve set out to help you accomplish. In this article, we’ll be covering:
- What a business mission statement is (and what it is not).
- Five steps to writing a compelling business mission statement.
- 15 examples of strong mission statements to inspire your own.
What is a business mission statement?
A good business mission statement defines your organization in a nutshell. It boils down the reason for your existence and delivers it to the public in a way that is easy to digest. This includes:
- Who your customers are (and sometimes, where you operate).
- What products or services you provide.
- The ultimate value/positive outcome of those products/services.
- How you make it possible.
Here’s a generic example:
We build Class A commercial office buildings for high-end tenants in the Big City metro area, delivering projects to specifications on time, and on budget using our proprietary total quality management system.
But while a mission statement is primarily factual, those facts should also be communicated in a way that captures feelings that influence how your company is perceived. Take Davids Tea, for example:
We’re on the ground worldwide in search of well-crafted, single-origin loose leaf teas to share with our North American community. We’re pushing limits in new tea frontiers with our blends. We want it to be as easy as possible to discover, explore and feel better through tea.
What a business mission statement is not
Mission statements often get confused with other aspects of a brand’s identity, so let’s separate them out:
- Mission statement: This is what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and what value you bring.
- Vision statement: Your vision statement is what you hope to be by doing your mission.
- Goals: Your goals are tangible outcomes that will fulfill your mission.
- Core values: Your core values unite your team to fuel all of the above.
Here’s an example of a mission, vision, and core values:
How long should a mission statement be?
A business mission statement should not be an essay describing how the company got started and where the vision came from. Save that descriptive content for your “about us” page. It should be direct, purposeful content that acts as a sort of headline for your company.
Think of your mission statement as a branding tool—sum up the purpose of your company in a few memorable sentences or less.
“Chargify combines great technology, subscription expertise, and a customer service ethos to solve real-world problems, and is committed to becoming the operating system for your subscription-based business.”
How to write a compelling mission statement for business
Distilling your business down into a matter of sentences is hard work, but we’ve got a three-step process to help you write your company’s mission statement:
1. Take inventory
First start broad. Sit down with your team (or yourself) and take an inventory of the following:
- What is your core business type?
- What are your tangible deliverables?
- What makes your deliverables different?
- What problems do your deliverables solve?
- What benefits do your deliverables provide?
- What is your unique value proposition?
- What is your brand personality?
- What is your secret sauce?
- What advantages do you have over competitors?
- What are your team members’ strengths and secret weapons?
- Who are your target customers?
- What are your general audience segments or personas?
- Do they exist in a paticular location or region?
2. Gather your information
Gather together your answers to these questions and turn it into a reasonable and actionable statement as to how you intend to operate and for what purpose. Freely organize the information into four buckets:
- What you do
- How you do it
- Who you do it for
- What ultimate benefit/value you achieve
Sometimes, parts of the list are blended together or not included. There is no right or wrong mission statement.
3. Widdle it down
Distill it down into a phrase or two for each of the above elements and then use the formula below.
We [what you do] by [how you do it] for [target customers] to [ultimate value you provide].
You can change the order any way you see fit.
We [provide this value] to [target customers] by [what you do] through [how you do it].
Let’s take a look at AnyClip’s mission statement as an example:
AnyClip’s mission is to heighten viewer engagement, utilizing its metadata expertise to provide a personalized viewer experience.
What they do: provide a personalized viewer experience.
How they do it: through metadata expertise.
Ultimate benefit: heighten viewer engagement.
4. Add color
Avoid flowery and unnecessary adjectives and adverbs that will take away from readability, but see if the addition or substitution of any word can help add the more emotional feel, like with Campaign Monitor.
“We help/empower/equip [target customer] to achieve/reach/eliminate [desire/painpoint] by providing [tangible deliverables].”
3. Make it public
Now it’s time to make your mission known! Here are some of the many ways to do it:
- Create a page dedicated to your mission, vision, goals, and values.
- If it’s short enough, use it as your homepage headline.
- Use it in your Facebook or LinkedIn company page.
- Link to it in job postings.
4. Adjust as needed
Change happens. New leaders come on board. Businesses rebrand or merge. Goals and strategies shift. Culture evolves. So be sure to revisit your mission statement each year and make adjustments if needed.
Business mission statement examples
Let’s explore some example mission statements for existing businesses and the different approaches they take.
1. Clarks—cultivate brand loyalty
Creating brand loyalty starts with creating an emotional connection with your ideal clients (and employees) through a winning mission statement. This keeps the values and goals of your company at the forefront in the minds of customers and employees.
Clarks’ mission statement reads: “Our passion is to listen to our customers and deliver a product that allows the consumer to feel the pride, respect and trust of everyone at the Clarks Companies N.A.”
2. Swarvoski—attract and retain top talent
Having a mission statement is also important when it comes to attracting the right kind of talent to your company. People who identify with a company’s mission statement are motivated by more than just work and money.
They are also motivated by their shared mission. Workers who are mission-driven are more likely to stay with a company and become high performers, which significantly contributes to the overall success of a business.
Swarovski’s mission statement reads: Swarovski adds sparkle to everyday life with high-quality products and services that exceed our customers’ desires. We inspire our colleagues with innovation and reward their achievements while striving to expand our market leadership.
3. Patagonia—stand out from the competition
When you are first starting out, it’s vital that your company finds ways to stand out from other companies with similar products and services. A good business mission statement can help your company build trust with customers and create a connection with your target audience.
Patagonia’s mission statement reads:
“Build the best product cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
4. Full Cast Audio—compete with the big brands
While it may at times feel like “the big guys” are hard to compete with, a well crafted mission statement can inform customers of the ways that your brand fits them better. There is no reason why you can’t build your brand recognition like large companies do. There are nearly 4 billion people on social media, and you can share with them your business mission through targeted digital marketing strategies.
“We are a small company with a big mission: to create great recordings of wonderful books using a full cast off actors rather than a single narrator. We truly believe that we are pioneering in a new art form, a new way to experience, more fully than ever, an author’s intent.”
5. Cisco—address the broader community you’re a part of
Many companies have several layers made up of products, services, and partners that contribute different things to the market. A unified business mission statement helps to clarify your company’s purpose to investors, clients, and applicants. Decide on the personality of your brand as a whole, and deliver that message through a well-defined mission statement.
Cisco’s mission statement reads:
“Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.”
6. Walmart—keep it short and sweet
Walmart’s mission statement is only one sentence, which makes it easy to understand and remember. They clearly explain their reason for being and why they are important to the lives of their customers.
Walmart’s mission statement reads:
“To save people money so they can live better.”
7. Shopify—state your belief
A simple phrase like “we believe” followed by a unique perspective can help differentiate the “why” behind your brand.
Shopify’s mission statement reads:
“We help people achieve independence by making it easier to start, run, and grow a business. We believe the future of commerce has more voices, not fewer, so we’re reducing the barriers to business ownership to make commerce better for everyone.”
8. Nike—make it inclusive
“Too bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
9. Virgin America—position yourself as an industry leader
Virgin America’s mission statement tells you where they are located and exactly how they plan on accomplishing their goals. They also position themselves as an industry leader in domestic air travel.
“Virgin America is a California-based airline that is on a mission to make flying good again, with brand new planes, attractive fares, top-notch service, and a host of fun, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel.”
10. Whole Foods—reveal your personality
Whole Foods Market mentions both generally and specifically who they would like to help with their business mission statement. This shows that their personality is focused on goodwill, and they clearly explain how they intend to improve the world with their business.
The Whole Foods mission statement reads:
“Our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people—customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general—and the planet.”
Get started with writing your business mission statement
As you can see from these examples, a great mission statement doesn’t need to be lengthy or incredibly detailed. Your mission statement should concisely communicate your company’s purpose and allow customers to see themselves within a brand. Follow these simple steps to create your own business mission statement that will impact your employees, investors, and customers alike.