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What is a Company Mission Statement?
Your mission statement defines your organisation’s business, its objectives, and how it will reach these objectives
The mission statement should highlight your company’s core values and it should serve to help everybody connected to your company, from your customers to your employees – to clearly and concisely understand what your business is about and how you’re different from your competitors.
Mission Statement vs.Vision Statement. What's The Difference?
A mission statement defines the organization’s business, its objectives, and how it will reach these objectives. A vision statement outlines the future aspirations and long-term goals of a company, where it aspires to go and often encompasses company values, culture and its core beliefs.
Using Warby Parker and Nike, here are two great examples to see the difference between a vision and a mission statement.
Mission statement: Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
Vision statement: We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
Mission statement: Create groundbreaking sports innovations, make our products sustainable, build a creative and diverse global team, and make a positive impact in communities where we live and work.
Vision statement: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.
Guidance and reasoning on what your mission statement could/should include.
The Reason Your Business Exists:
Begin with a clear and concise statement that describes why the company exists. What fundamental problem or need does the company aim to address/solve?
What Are Your Businesses Values and Principles:
Clearly state the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide the company’s actions and decision-making. Communicate your company’s ethical and cultural foundation.
Who are Your Target Audiences:
Identify who benefits from the specific products, services, or solutions your business provides. Being clear about the market you serve focuses the business on the specific needs of your customers.
What is Your Businesses Unique Selling Proposition (USP):
Highlight what sets your company apart from your competition. What unique skills, qualities, or offerings does the company bring to the table?
What Are The Long-Term Business Goals and Aspirations:
Visualise and communicate what your company’s long-term vision and goals are.
Use Common Language:
Keep the mission statement brief and easy to understand. It should be memorable and communicate the essence of the company’s purpose and intent – Use common language.
Inspirational and Motivational:
Craft the statement in a way that inspires and motivates employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Great mission statements evoke passion and purpose.
Ensure it Aligns With Stakeholder Interests:
Your mission statement should align with the interests of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and the wider community.
Make It Timelessness:
Aim for a mission statement that remains relevant over time. Strategies and day-to-day management decisions have to be flexible and are subject to change. Your core purpose and values should be rigid in their intent.
Aspirational but Realistic:
While a mission statement can be aspirational, it should also reflect a realistic commitment to achieving its goals and living up to its values. Unrealistic ambition communicates poor vision and leadership. Smarter people than you will identify with this.
Brand Attributes & Culture Statement:
Ensure that the mission statement aligns with your company’s brand identity and workplace culture. It should be reflected in all aspects of the company’s day-to-day activities.
Mission statement examples
Here are a few examples of mission statements from well-known companies:
Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Google: “To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Microsoft: “To empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”
Forbes: “To convene, curate and cover the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world.”
Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”
Airbnb: “To create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we are focused on creating an end-to-end travel platform that will handle every part of your trip.”
Ikea: “To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low, that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
How to write a mission statement
Alright, now the real work begins: rolling up your sleeves and pulling together your own mission statement.
Let’s mention one more thing about what a mission is not – a slogan. A slogan (think “Just do it” or “Like a good neighbour, State Farm is there”) is a catchy marketing line that customers can immediately associate with a brand. Your mission statement is more than that. It captures the heart of your organization and explains why you do what you do and why you exist in the first place.
A solid mission statement calls for you to dig deep, beyond just “Do a good job” or “Delight our customers”, which can make writing your mission statement tough. Fortunately, we’ve broken it down into three (kind of) easy steps.
Start with the basics
Mission statements run the gamut from one sentence to several paragraphs, and there’s a lot that they can include. Some mission statements even go into detail about how a company not only serves their customers but also its employees and communities.
But, let’s just keep this simple for now. In its most basic form, your mission statement should capture:
What your company offers your customers (why do you exist?)
Who does your company serve (who are your target customers?)
Why does your company stand out (what makes you different from your competitors?)
Grab your favourite pen (we know you have one!) and a notepad and write a short (just a single sentence fragment will work) response to each of those prompts.
For example, imagine that you work for a software company that developed an app that uses highly tailored personality tests to match candidates with dream jobs. You might come up with something like this:
What your company offers your customers
An easy solution to finding a dream job
Who your company serves
Young professionals who feel lost about their next career steps
Why your company stands out
Your personality assessments are patented and highly rated
Got your own answers scribbled down? Great! Let’s move to the next step.
Piece it together.
You have the nuts and bolts of your mission statement figured out, but, let’s be honest, it’s still a hot mess. It’s time to tape them together into a more readable statement.
Begin rearranging the pieces, swapping in different words, and making other changes to come up with a few potential statements.
Don’t feel like you’re married to the very first version you come up with. It’s all about trial and error here. Plus, the more options you come up with, the more flexibility you have to land on something that sings.
Sticking with our personality test company example, you might develop these potential mission statements:
Helping young professionals find careers where they can thrive with patented and effective personality assessments.
Growing tomorrow’s leaders through targeted personality assessments that match young professionals with careers.
Forging career pathways for today’s professionals through effective personality assessments.
Using patented and customized personality assessments to help young professionals find their perfect careers.
They’re all pretty solid choices, right? Don’t worry. The next step will help us narrow these down.
Collect feedback and refine.
Your mission statement captures your company as a whole, which means you can’t write it in a vacuum. Make sure it really does your organization justice by welcoming other viewpoints in the process.
Collect feedback from your teammates, leaders, board of directors, and loyal customers. You can gather their thoughts through a formal survey, focus groups, or just casual one-on-one chats.
Pull together all of the mission statements that you came up with (that you think are good options, of course), and ask questions like:
Which of these statements do you like the most? Why?
Which of these statements do you like the least? Why?
Is there anything that you think these statements are missing?
Do you have any other ideas for mission statements?
You can’t just collect that feedback – you should actually consider it and use it..
It might take some time and many rounds of revisions to nail it. That’s totally normal. Take it as a sign that you’re giving your mission statement the effort and consideration it deserves.
Mission Statement - Final Thoughts.
A business vision statement is far more than just a collection of words; it is the heartbeat of your organisation’s future. It defines your purpose, inspires your employees, and guides your strategic decisions.
Creating a compelling vision statement is a strategic must.
Creating a vision statement is not a one-time exercise. It should evolve as your company grows and as the business grows and changes. Regularly revisit and refine your vision statement to ensure it continues to inspire and lead your organisation.