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 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’re going to show you exactly how to do just that.
Table of contents
- What is a mission statement?
- How long should a mission statement be?
- How to write a business mission statement
- Business mission statement template
- Business mission statement examples
- Words to use in your mission statement
What is a 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:
- What products/services you provide
- For whom
- How you make it possible
- The ultimate value/positive outcome of those products/services.
That last bullet is key. Because while your mission statement is factual, it needs to be delivered in a way that communicates authenticity and inspiration. Let’s take a look at two examples so you can see what I mean:
An uninspiring mission statement example:
We build Class A commercial office buildings for high-end tenants in the Greater Boston area, using our proprietary management system to deliver projects to specifications on time and on budget.
All the information is captured here, but with no emotion.
An inspiring mission statement 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.
Mission statement vs vision statement vs values
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. Because your business achieves your goals through the lens of your core values, you fulfill your mission which fuels your vision.
See how it all connects? Here’s an example of a mission, vision, and core values:
- Example mission statement: We empower individuals to save money while saving the planet by intersecting creative, sustainable packaging with wearable technology that educates, inspires, and drives Earth-friendly action.
- Example vision statement: To change the way we think about saving the planet.
- Example values: Tomorrow-minded, knowledge is power, assume best intentions, sustainability.
It’s worth noting that not all business have a separate vision and mission statement—sometimes they are blended together.
How long should a mission statement be?
A business mission statement should be between one and three sentences, around 100 words. So, not 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 subheading 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 mission statement for business
Distilling your business down into a matter of sentences is hard work, but we’ve got a six-step process to help you write your company’s mission statement:
- Take inventory
- Answer the key questions
- Widdle it down
- Add color
- Make it public
- Adjust as needed
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 particular location or region?
2. Answer the key questions freely
Gather together your answers to these questions and use them to answer the five key questions below:
- What you do
- How you do it
- Who you do it for
- Where you do it
- What ultimate benefit/value you achieve
Write freely—this is the creative writing part of the exercise. You’ll notice that sometimes, parts of the list are blended together or not included. There is no right or wrong mission statement.
3. Widdle it down
Now it’s time to distill each answer down into a phrase or two for each of the above elements. In the process, you’ve likely landed on words and phrases that you really like, so this part should be easy.
Now, plug them into 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 more emotional feel, like Campaign Monitor does with “deliver,” “complex,” and “beautifully uncomplicated.”
“We deliver technology that solves complex problems in a beautifully uncomplicated way.”
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 templates
As stated above, here is a basic mission statement template:
We [what you do] by [how you do it] for [target customers] to [ultimate value you provide].
And you can re-order the elements:
- We [provide this value] to [target customers] by [what you do] through [how you do it].
- By [how you do it], we [help target customers] [achieve ultimate value] through [product/service].
For more inspirational wording, you can use this template
We help/empower/equip [target customer] to achieve/reach/eliminate [desire/painpoint] by providing/building/creating [tangible deliverables].
The best 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.”
11. WordStream by LOCALiQ
And last but not least, our mission statement here at WordStream by LOCALiQ is:
To be the go-to resource for digital marketers and local business owners, providing the tools, strategies, data, and creative ideas they need to learn, grow, and succeed.
Words to use in your mission statement
We’ll finish off with some words and phrases you can use in your mission statement. For a more complete list, check out these 350+ power words!
- Bridge the gap
- Make it easy for
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.
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