What drives your business? What is its primary purpose, and what are the company’s core values? If you can summarize a few examples of your small business’ objectives, your company’s services and your company culture, you’re already on your way toward writing an effective mission statement. With such a mission statement in hand, a small business can implement solutions and make sound decisions that will benefit the company, its employees and its customers.
What is a Mission Statement?
What is a mission statement? Simply put: A mission statement describes an organization’s purpose or its mission. For example, The Small Business Administration has a mission that it calls the 3 Cs. It refers to the SBA mission to provide small businesses with Capital, Contracts, and Counseling.
A mission statement is an actionable declaration of an organization’s purpose to its audience. In the case of a small business, a mission statement details the function a company serves for its customers. Why does the business exist?
Now, what makes a good mission statement? The question is more difficult to answer. After all, anyone can string together a few objectives, attach them to a company name, and call it a mission statement. But an effective mission statement is bold, direct and action-oriented. It states a company’s purpose in an inspiring manner that encompasses the organization’s current potential. Many of the best mission statements are short, sweet and to the point.
It’s important to note exactly what is the difference between mission and vision statements. While a mission statement describes what a company’s objectives are today, a vision statement describes what an organization attains to become in the future. Both a mission and vision statement are important to an organization, but a mission statement focuses on now, while vision statements deal with the overarching vision of the potential future.
Sometimes it’s easier to design your own mission statement after looking at examples of effective and memorable mission statements from other business organizations. What do socially conscious businesses use for their mission statements? What mission statements work best for some of the world’s leading producers, leaders in financial services and successful companies that have achieved the ideal relationship with their target audience?
Why Your Company’s Mission Statement is So Important
An effective mission statement is considered the bedrock of a successful organization. A powerful mission statement serves as a navigational tool for leadership when a company is facing major decisions. Which path will best lead the business toward its primary purpose? By understanding this purpose, you can better determine other goals that will further your small business’s journey to success.
Mission statements don’t only benefit company leadership. A strong mission statement helps employees by ensuring teams know their function and purpose and how that relates to a business’ overall goals. A mission statement even helps customers by promoting a company’s core values, which then can instill trust, respect and admiration in the eyes of target audiences.
How to Write a Mission Statement for Your Business?
How do you write a mission statement? It probably seems like a daunting task to define a company’s purpose in a way that inspires leadership, employees and customers. How can you summarize an organization’s entire existence in a few bold words?
Fortunately, you can write a strong and effective mission statement with some careful thought and consideration. The following steps will help write a great mission statement for your small business:
- Define your purpose. Write a basic sentence that describes what your company does. What function does it serve in the market and the world? Use as simple language as possible in this step.
- List a couple of your company’s primary core values. What do you stand for? What ideals does your company represent to your customers?
- Describe how your company achieves its goals. Considering your core values, how does your company fulfill its purpose? Write a sentence that links steps 1 and 2.
- Finally, define why your company does what it does. How does the company’s purpose impact its core values? Write a sentence that explains why the company serves its purpose.
- Look at the sentences you’ve written. This is the message you want to convey in your mission statement. Now, combine and condense the language of the sentences into just one or two strongly worded sentences that memorably express the same ideas.
- Look to examples of great mission statements from successful companies to get some more ideas on how to write your own mission statement.
Company Mission Statement Examples to Use as a Guide
Almost every successful company has its own mission statement, and the biggest brands invest greatly in defining their ideal missions. Looking to examples of successful mission statements can help when writing your own.
Tesla’s crafted mission statement is simple yet bold: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
2. Southwest Airlines
The Southwest Airlines mission statement focuses on its status as a customer centric company: “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
In its memorable mission statement, the Walt Disney Company focuses on the company’s greater purpose: “To entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling; reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds, and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
4. Virgin Airways
The Virgin Airways mission statement is simple yet profound: “Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways… to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.”
The Starbucks mission statement speaks of inspiration and growth: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Caterpillar describes its function in a good mission statement: “To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.”
In its mission statement, LinkedIn describes the company’s purpose: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Google uses a bold mission statement: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The company speaks to a large audience in the Nike mission statement, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world,” and it adds extra emphasis by adding an additional statement with an asterisk: “*If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
The Sony mission statement describes the company’s passion: “To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity. Our unlimited passion for technology, content, services, and relentless pursuit of innovation drives us to deliver ground-breaking new excitement and entertainment in ways that only Sony can.”
Verizon speaks of innovation in its mission statement: “We deliver the promise of the digital world to our customers. We make their innovative lifestyles possible. We do it all through the most reliable network and the latest technology.”
In its mission statement, IKEA focuses on its products: “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.”
13. Mary Kay
Mary Kay’s well crafted mission statement relates to enriching the lives of its customers and consultants: “Enriching the lives of women and their families around the world, with an unparalleled business opportunity.”
The Harley-Davidson mission statement defines the dreams of motorcyclists: “We fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.”
In its mission statement, Chobani states two basic goals: “To bring high-quality yogurt to more people and create positive change in our country’s food culture.”
eBay uses a simple mission statement: “Be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.”
In the company’s mission statement, Loreal speaks to its customers’ needs: “To provide the best in cosmetics innovation to women and men around the world with respect for their diversity.”
18. Honest Tea
Honest Tea’s great mission statement lists its obvious goals: “Create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.”
JetBlue designed a basic and straightforward mission statement: “To inspire humanity — both in the air and on the ground.”
In its short and sweet mission statement, PayPal defines its overall purpose: “To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
Nordstrom describes its desire for its customers in its mission statement: “To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”
22. American Express
Like other great mission statements, American Express summarizes its overall goal for its brand: “We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand.”
23. Cradles to Crayons
In one of the best mission statements, Cradles to Crayons uses a detailed, company focused description of its goals to give kids a better everyday life: “Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school, and at play.”
Patagonia also uses a short and sweet mission statement: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”
25. Universal Health Services, Inc.
In its unique mission statement, Universal Health Services, Inc., emphasizes its most important points: “To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.”
Short Business Mission Statement Examples
Some of the best mission statements are the shortest and most direct. Most mission statements are longer, but companies don’t need many words when expertly crafting mission statements.
You can’t get much simpler than TED’s mission statement, a direct, two word mission statement: “Spread ideas.”
The McDonald’s mission statement is short, sweet and to the point: “To be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.”