Crafting a Mission Statement that Actually Impacts Your Business
Achieving business success starts with a firm grasp on the purpose of the organization and its goals. Creating a mission statement is the first step toward verbalizing what you’re working toward and emphasizing the purpose of your business. This guide outlines how to craft a mission statement that has a real impact on your organization, as well as the benefits of doing so.
What is a Mission Statement?
Understanding what a mission statement is helps guide you in your efforts to craft a statement that is meaningful and useful. A mission statement is a concise and simple declaration of the purpose of a company. It should outline its reason for existing and how it interacts with others. Mission statements are typically one to two sentences, emphasizing the culture, ethics and values of companies. This type of statement may overlap with other marketing pieces but differs in its purpose from the vision or value statement.
Mission vs. Vision Statement: What’s the Difference?
As mentioned, a mission statement declares the reason for a company’s existence. By contrast, a vision statement outlines the future goals and initiatives of a company. The two terms may be used interchangeably but they should be viewed as distinct aspects of a company’s identity.
To better understand how the two differ, you might think about your own answer if asked about your current professional life. When answering such a question, you might describe your current role and responsibilities. But if asked about your future aims, you will likely have a different answer that includes your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Similarly, a vision statement should emphasize the future aims of your organization.
What is the Purpose of a Mission Statement?
The purpose of a company mission statement is to describe the reason it exists. For example, your mission statement might emphasize the pain points it aims to solve or the different efforts being made across the organization to support members of its target audience. This statement should serve as a compass for your business, declaring its purpose and guiding decision-makers.
Another purpose of your mission statement is to define the values of the organization. It should communicate the current goals to stakeholders both inside and outside of the business. With a clear mission statement, your workforce can become more aligned in their efforts while experiencing a better sense of direction.
What are the Benefits of a Strong Mission Statement?
A well-crafted mission statement comes with many benefits. We’ve outlined a few of the key advantages below.
Guide how employees and management think
Guiding the efforts of employees and company leaders can greatly benefit the organization overall. Creating cohesion in the work being performed, as well as the mindset of those who are working toward shared goals, is vital in building a positive and engaged culture.
Help set performance standards
Another key benefit of a strong mission statement is the ability to set and measure standards for performance. When your workforce is achieving shared goals, you can look at the efforts of individuals to determine how they are performing overall. Additionally, performance standards can serve as a tool of measurement for issuing rewards and honoring top participants.
Attract the right talent
Your company mission statement can also serve as a recruiting tool, helping teams to attract talent that will align with the culture. Sharing this statement on your website and any recruiting platforms is vital in getting the message across and establishing more consistent employer branding.
Provide stability through big changes
Every company goes through significant changes, whether due to acquisitions and mergers, shifts in the industry, or technology upgrades. With a firm understanding of why these changes need to occur, employees can move forward with confidence.
Inspire people to work together toward a common goal
Without a baseline understanding of the goals of the business, it’s difficult for teams to work together in a collaborative and supportive way. In some organizations, only leaders are familiar with business goals, leaving employees wondering about the purpose behind their efforts. But a clear and highly communicated mission statement puts everyone on the same page.
Support PR and outward brand image
The company’s brand image plays a role in its overall success, and the mission statement is part of that image. Your organization should maintain consistency in its customer-facing communications, with all content supporting the mission statement.
What Makes a Good Mission Statement?
A well-crafted mission statement should be concise and easy to understand. It can serve a similar function as a map, guiding all who interact with the business in the right direction. Some of the key qualities of an effective statement include:
How to Write a Mission Statement
Now that you have a better understanding of what a mission statement is, it may be useful to review how to write one. Follow the steps below to craft your own meaningful and relevant statement.
Find answers to key questions
The first step in writing a mission statement involves finding answers to certain questions. These questions should relate to the organization and its overall goals, as well as how it interacts with members of its target audience. Some of the key questions to answer include:
- What is the value we bring to customers and employees?
- Who does the company serve?
- Why should people want to work with us?
- How is our company different and unique?
Are the answers to these questions reasonable and specific? As you consider and craft your statement, you can use similar questions and answers to create a vision statement that will go hand-in-hand with your mission statement.
Compile answers into a concise statement
As you answer the questions outlined above, you can compile the data into a longer statement that outlines what the business aims to do. From there, you can simplify it to ensure its conciseness and ease of understanding to anyone reading it, even if it is their first interaction with your business.
Collect feedback and refine
Make sure to request feedback from members of your workforce, as they may have a different approach or unique thoughts to add. Use the feedback to further refine the statement where necessary.
Mission Statement Examples
It may be helpful to review some mission statement examples as you prepare to craft or revise your own. Explore some of the mission statements from top organizations:
- 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.”
- Life Is Good: “To spread the power of optimism.”
- Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” (If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
- Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, not bound by convention.”
- Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
- Warby Parker: “To inspire and impact the world with vision, purpose, and style.”
What to Do with Your Mission Statement
Once you have crafted your mission statement, it’s worthwhile to use it as much as possible rather than setting it aside and forgetting about it. Its influence should guide internal and external communications, as well as motivate and inspire team members and potential customers, vendors, and others who interact with the company. The mission statement should influence decisions made by key stakeholders and be incorporated in strategic planning sessions.
By taking steps to create or improve your company mission statement, you can strengthen the culture of the organization while taking steps toward greater success. This dynamic tool can evolve with the company, serving as an ongoing process for alignment and reflection.
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