How to write a mission statement

November 2, 2021

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In the foundational stages of company creation, most organizations spend a good deal of time crafting a mission statement. This succinct statement condenses the business’s values and goals into a quick, easy-to-understand paragraph. Knowing how to write and evaluate an effective mission statement can be a valuable skill as you move into leadership roles. In this article, we describe what a mission statement is, explain how to write a mission statement, offer a mission statement template and share several mission statement examples.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a short, usually sentence- or paragraph-length message that explains the company’s purpose and primary driver. Mission statements can take a variety of forms and share additional information, like how the company accomplishes its stated purpose. Usually, you can find a company’s mission statement included in its business plan, specifically as a part of the executive summary. In today’s technological age, most companies also post their mission statement on their website for any internal or external stakeholders to read and review.

How to write a mission statement

Mission statements convey important information about the company and its goals to the people who work for the organization, the investors or donors who help fund the business and the customers who purchase the company’s products or services. Follow these steps to learn how to write a direct and concise mission statement:

1. Answer key questions

Before you can write an effective mission statement, you need to know a few substantive facts about your company. Mission statements explain the purpose of your organization to internal and external stakeholders, so establish a thorough and clear purpose by answering these questions:

What does our company do?

What does our company make or create?

Why does our company matter?

Who does our company matter to?

How does our company make a difference in the community?

2. Shape your answers

Review your answers from Step 1. These will make up the foundation of your mission statement. Look for overlapping ideas and consistent themes. This is a great time to invite other members of your organization to assist by brainstorming meaningful phrases or ideas based on your company’s core values and purpose. Amass several words, phrases and sentences to consider as part of your mission statement.

3. Consider the language

Look at the results of your brainstorming exercise from Step 2. Highlight or mark the ideas, words and phrases that best explain your company’s purpose. Seek input from others and consider voting on the favorite language choices of the group. Use this time to cull your brainstorming work down to a few all-encompassing ideas you can use in your actual mission statement.

4. Write a draft

Take the top contending words, phrases and ideas from Step 3 and use them to craft a cohesive mission statement. It’s often useful to review other company’s mission statements to see how they’re structured and what you might like to replicate in yours. There are also several mission statement templates available to help you shape your mission statement on your own.

5. Ask for feedback

Once you’ve completed the first draft, share it with your colleagues and other internal stakeholders for notes. Use their feedback to help make your mission statement as concise and coherent as possible. This process of drafting and editing may take a bit of time, but since you’ll use your mission statement for a variety of purposes, like seeking investors and engaging with customers, it’s worth taking the time to ensure it’s ideally worded.

6. Update and share

Once you’ve arrived at the ideal mission statement for your organization, update any materials on which you plan to publish the statement and share it widely. In addition to including the mission statement in your business plan or investment-seeking materials, add it to your website for customers to read and to your employee handbook for all internal stakeholders to see.

Template of a mission statement

Mission statements can be anywhere from a single sentence to a short paragraph. While there’s no singular template for every organization’s mission statement, this template is a great starting point for most businesses. Use it to establish your first draft and then edit and adjust to best represent your organization from there:

[ Company name ] ‘s mission is to [ primary purpose ] by [ how company achieves purpose ] .

Mission statement examples

It’s often easiest to see how mission statements work by reviewing examples. Consider these fictional examples to help you better see how you can structure and present your own mission statement:

Polly’s Playhouse

Polly’s Playhouse is a toy store that specializes in producing locally made dolls and accessories. Here’s the company’s mission statement:

Polly’s Playhouse’s mission is to support local artisans and our local community of children by offering dolls, accessories and toys made from materials in our area and that represent our diverse backgrounds.

The Mane Event

The Mane Event is a hair salon that offers hair services for men, women and children. Here’s the company’s mission statement:

The Mane Event’s mission is to offer high-quality hair cuts, hair coloring and hair treatments for customers of all ages. We’re committed to excellence and proud of our inclusivity.

Bountiful Books

Bountiful Books is a bookstore that sells books in a brick-and-mortar store and through an online platform. Here’s the company’s mission statement:

Bountiful Books’ mission is to ensure every man, woman and child has access to an array of reading materials to grow their minds and their perspectives. We do this by working with local organizations to provide books for low-income families and by selling online to people all over the country.

Software Solutions

Software Solutions is a technology retailer that sells multiple types of software to consumers through an online platform. Here’s its mission statement:

Software Solutions’ mission is to make finding, purchasing and downloading the software you need for your personal or professional computer system easy by providing excellent customer service and helping customers understand our products.

Ever encounter a business and wonder what they do and why they do it? What is their fundamental purpose?

“The increase and diffusion of knowledge”

That is the mission statement of the Smithsonian. It tells consumers, both internal and external, what the organization hopes to accomplish in a simple and concise way. Not all mission statements are as poignant as that one. Some provide a broader vision of the company. For example, insurance company Aflac’s mission statement is:

To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers

It says to both employees and potential customers that they value quality products and services at competitive prices. A mission statement articulates the purpose of the business. That makes it an important part of any brand building plan. Consider how the right mission statement can work for your business.

Why do businesses need a mission statement?

A well-crafted mission statement focuses the business for both employees and the target audience. It serves as a framework, giving everyone involved a launching point to build from when establishing the brand. For consumers, it sets the company apart from the competition without limiting the business purpose.

You notice Google’s mission statement doesn’t mention running a search engine even though that is their initial claim to fame. It is just broad enough to let the business grow into the conglomerate it is today.

What should a mission statement accomplish?

A mission statement should tell others why the business exists and what makes it different.

Why they exist: To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies

What makes them different: They mobilize the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors

How is that different from Goodwill Industries?

Why they exist: To advance employment, education and skill-building

What makes them different: They employee and educate

Clearly, the core business model of these two seemingly similar companies is very different.

Finding a Balance for Your Mission Statement

The goal here is to strike a balance between overt realism: We offer quality products and good service

. . . and optimism: We aim to be an industry leader

Neither one of those statements makes the company stand out, but combined they are stronger. What is it about your business that is better than the other guys, though? That is where adding the key elements come into play.

The Key Elements of a Mission Statement

Focus your statement on these four elements.

  • Value – What is the value of the business to both customers and employees?
  • Inspiration – Why should people want to work for the company?
  • Plausibility – Make it sound reasonable
  • Specificity – Tie it back to the business

How to write a mission statement

Value – To create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages

Inspiration – To grow our business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our products

In their mission statement, Honest Tea is not promising to cure cancer, only to make a healthy product. They also point out they create organic beverages that taste great, tying the statement back to the business brand.

Tips for Creating an Effective Mission Statement

There are many schools of thought on how to go about creating the perfect mission statement, but there are some clear do’s and don’t’s to consider.

  • Do keep it short and concise. Sum up the company’s mission in just a few sentences.
  • Don’t write an essay. That is not the purpose of this brand building tool. You want the mission statement to be tethered to the brand and that means it must be memorable. Long drawn out prose is rarely memorable.
  • Do think long-term. The mission statement is an investment in your company’s future, so keep it open enough to reflect your long-term goals.
  • Don’t make it too limiting. We want to provide the best products ever to the town of Elmwood. Do you only see the business selling to the residents of one small town or do you hope to expand at some point?
  • Do find out what your employees think of the mission statement. This is a tool designed with them in mind, too, so get their opinion. Ask how they would improve it and what they dislike about it.
  • Don’t be afraid to change it. Things change in the business world. If the mission statement no longer represents the company, it is time for a rewrite.

A mission statement is a declaration of what makes the business important. By design, it guides the actions of the employees and draws in customers by creating direction by explaining what the company intends to accomplish.

This article was co-authored by Art Lewin. Art Lewin is an Entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. He specializes in business, sales, marketing, and real estate investing. Art is the CEO and Founder of four companies based in Los Angeles: Art Lewin Bespoke, Healthy Choice Labs, SFR Properties, and Professional Business Network (PBN). Art is known globally for his exclusive custom-made and ready-to-wear business wear designs. Some of his notable clients include royal family members, politicians, and Hollywood stars including Hugh Hefner, Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, and William Shatner.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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A mission statement distills the heart and soul of a company in an engaging, memorable paragraph or two. Your mission statement is your chance to create a compelling picture of your company for the rest of the world to see. To get started, have a brainstorming session about what you want your statement to include. Look at examples below to get a basic idea of what a mission statement looks like. Craft the statement, then ask others to help you perfect it. Read on to learn more about how to write a mission statement.

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A mission statement is a one-sentence summary of what a company does and what positive impact it wants to have. Creating a mission statement is a great way to outline your company’s objectives and values so the public better understands your business overall. In this article, we outline the importance of a mission statement, how to create a mission statement and tips for writing an effective one.

Why is a mission statement important?

A mission statement is important because it outlines who a company is, what they want to accomplish and why their efforts matter. It also provides employees with a set of moral guidelines to abide by and gives the public a greater understanding of the company’s goals, values and purpose. Here is a look at each of the key elements included in a mission statement:

Goals: By defining company goals, a mission statement helps to unify an organization, providing employees with a roadmap for achieving company success. This provides a better structure and can promote a more efficient workplace overall.

Values: Mission statements also help define a company’s culture, ethics and core values, which provide insight into a company’s standards and morals. It also lets the public know what type of behavior they can expect from the company.

Purpose: Mission statements let others know the company’s contribution to the greater public and its reason for existing. It gives companies an opportunity to explain why they do certain things, too. This element helps the company’s audience better understand what sets it apart from other organizations.

How to write a mission statement

When you write a mission statement, create a clear and concise statement that addresses all the key elements. Here are the steps for writing an effective mission statement:

Define the company’s purpose.

State how the company accomplishes its goals.

Include the reason for the company’s actions.

Review and revise the mission statement.

1. Define the company’s purpose

Start by stating the reason for the company’s existence. For example, a retail store’s purpose may be to sell shoes and apparel to customers.

Your company’s purpose also needs to emphasize how it’s different from competitors. Do this by outlining the company’s specialty, which allows customers to see its contribution to society. As an example, a retail store’s purpose could be to sell shoes and apparel to children using solely organic fabrics and textiles that are good for the environment. When customers know how you stand out from your competitors, it can help them decide who they want to purchase from or work with.

2. State how the company accomplishes its goals

Express how the company accomplishes its tasks by outlining its general operations. This often includes listing the company’s core values and beliefs. Some examples of company values include providing equal access to resources or providing superior products to its customers. For example, a vegetable company may provide customers with organic vegetables by using sustainable farming practices and growing them from their own family-owned farms.

3. Include the reason for the company’s actions

A mission statement also needs to include the company’s passion and the reason they do certain things. If you’re writing a mission statement for a company that has lost sight of this, start by considering the company’s purpose and the reason for its creation. This can help reignite the company’s spirit, too. Using the vegetable company example, the reason for its actions could be to promote a healthier quality of living. This is the company’s intended positive impact and the reason it provides organic vegetables to its customers.

4. Review and revise the mission statement

To provide a clear and concise mission statement, it’s important to read it aloud and check for grammar and spelling errors. Depending on the quality of your first draft, you may need to reword it for further clarity and understanding.

It’s also important to revisit the company’s mission statement to ensure it stills holds true over time. This is because a company may have achieved its previous goals, or the company culture may have shifted.

Mission statement template

Here is a mission statement template:

[ Company’s purpose ] [ How the company does what it does ] [ Reason behind the company’s actions ] .

Mission statement example

When you write a mission statement, consider its structure and your choice of words. Referring to examples can help you create a quality mission statement. Here are some examples to consider:

Example 1

Here is an example of a mission statement for a clothing company:

To offer stylish clothing at an affordable price by using local designers who are paving the way for ethically sourced apparel.

Example 2

Here is an example of a mission statement for a beverage company:

To provide customers of all ages with a healthy and organic beverage through the use of advanced harvesting techniques.

Example 3

Here is an example of a mission statement for an airline company:

To provide superior customer service by engaging customers with a positive attitude that showcases our company spirit.

Tips for writing a mission statement

Here are some tips can help you create a clear and effective mission statement that accurately portrays your company:

Be concise. Aim to keep your mission statement below 100 words to quickly present your company. Use direct statements and strong action verbs to emphasize the impact your organization wants to have.

Think long-term. Make sure your mission statement is inclusive of the company’s future. Though the company culture or goals may change over time, ensure your current mission statement reflects its long-term goals.

Get feedback. Consider asking other employees about your mission statement. Their opinion can help you improve it or provide you with insight you hadn’t previously considered.

How to write a mission statement

When you are developing a brand for your company, one of the most important considerations is your mission. It is your mission that should drive everything else that your business does. I look at it as the internal anchor for everything else that you do in your business. It’s that important.

Up until this moment, you may not have considered a mission statement to be very important…or relevant to you. Perhaps you are under the impression that mission statements are just for non-profit organizations or Fortune 500 corporations. And let’s face it – you’ve probably read a lot of mission statements that are reeeeeally boring. They don’t get you all fired up.

Unfortunately, in recent years mission statements have become watered down in the corporate world to the point where they are essentially meaningless and have negative connotations. In some business circles, mission statements are received only slightly better than tax increases.

In addition, most marketers don’t talk about your mission because they don’t think it has anything to do with your brand.

But they’re wrong.

Your Mission is Your Core Purpose

Knowing your mission will accelerate your brand like nothing else can.

“I believe that purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they’ll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs. ”

-Dee Hock

Why You Should Have a Strong Mission Statement

Kinesis approaches branding as a process (not a project) – one that has deep roots inside each company’s mission. A well-crafted mission statement can provide the focus and motivation you need to take your business to the next level. These are the values that drive your business personality, customer service, and marketing messages. In fact, your mission is the soul of your brand. It is your Why. It is the very reason that your company does what it does.

Your mission is about getting really clear and staying really focused. It provides your company with direction. It helps you find the right customers. your most profitable customers. I call this your internal branding. Your mission is something that you should write and post in places where every single member of your staff can see it. As the leader of your company, look at your mission often during the day. Remind yourself of it. Then live it and breathe it. Every. single. day.

Your mission statement should be the driving force behind everything that your team does within your company, and externally with prospects, customers, vendors, and associates. It also shapes your internal corporate culture.

One of the reasons your team needs this anchor is to stay on track. It is so easy for business professionals to get bogged down in the day-to-day of our business lives. We get our to-do list tunnel vision and lose sight of the big vision. Your mission statement always reminds each person in your company of your overarching raison d’etre. where you are going. what you are doing. and why you are doing it.

How to Develop Your Mission Statement

To develop your mission, here are some questions to ask:

  • What do we do?
  • For whom do we do it?
  • Why do we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  • How do we serve our clients in the way that we do?
  • Why are we in this industry?
  • Why did we start this business?
  • What image of our business do we want to convey?

When writing your mission statement, use vibrant, exciting words. Get really clear about your passion and values for operating your unique business. Create dynamic, visual images and inspire action. Describe your purpose using unusual, colorful verbs and adjectives to spice up your statements. Drop in words like “passion,” “sizzle,” “outrageous,” “fun,” and “marvel” to add zest. Keep your mission statement fairly short and make sure that it feels really good when you read it and say it. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s goals and the philosophies underlying them. It signals what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the community.

And, woweeee!

When you live your mission through your business brand, then amazing, phenomenal things start to happen. Your perfect, dream clients are drawn to you. People get really excited about what you are doing. They spread the word to their friends, they sign up for your services, they give you great testimonials. You get more customers, make more revenue, and your business grows with ease. And best of all – your team is more creative and having more fun than ever before because everyone is in absolute alignment with your Why. (Click here to read more about your Why)

Examples of Mission Statements

Let’s look at some phenomenal examples of other brands and their mission…their “reason for being.” This should help you get some ideas for developing your own.

  • Nike:To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
  • Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
  • Chevron:To be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership, and performance.
  • Amazon:To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.
  • Intel:Delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.
  • Ebay:Provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.

Here is my challenge to you and your company: Write a mission statement with a goal that’s an action, not a sentiment. Make it quantifiable, not nebulous. If you have an old wonky mission statement that sounds like a corporate Hallmark Card (you know what I’m talking about), then take it and rip it to shreds. Then reflect on your true passions and values, and write a mission statement using the guidelines above that reflects the difference your business will make in the world.

After you write your mission statement, your next step is to make sure you have strong company values. We have two articles to help you:

Hire Kinesis to Grow Your Business

Developing a mission is one of foundations that we emphasize in our work with business leaders. Click here to learn more about the Kinesis approach to marketing and business consulting.