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An effective mission statement does more than reflect a company’s values or product. It shows the world why a company does what it does.
The best mission statements not only convey a company's purpose but also motivates its employees to work toward that purpose.
A good mission statement can also help you, the over-worked business owner, stay focused as you develop your marketing strategy and grow your business.
It's hard to know where to begin when writing a mission statement. Many companies just throw their hands in the air and write about the highest quality products they offer and the excellent customer service that goes with it. But that is hardly inspiring and will hardly motivate your employees to work together towards the bigger vision.
So it's important to spend some time crafting your mission statement so that it succinctly conveys your vision and says what you're going to do for the customer.
In this post, I'll walk you through what a mission statement even is, what the most important elements of a mission statement are, and then give you some inspiring examples to go off of. Then I'll answer your burning questions, like when to use a mission statement and how to write one.
Let's get started.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is an action-based description of your company’s purpose, your products and services, and your goals. An effective mission statement clearly explains your company’s ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ and how you stand out from others in your industry.
Your mission statement is more than a generic description of your company; it declares why your company exists, unifies and guides your employees' actions, and attracts customers with clear direction about what goals your company intends to achieve.
Mission Statement Vs. Vision Statement
It is common to get mission statements and vision statements confused, they work well together but are actually different.
A mission statement defines the driving force and focus of your company, what your company is currently doing. It reflects your company’s culture and core beliefs. A vision statement describes the aspirations of your company; what your company would like to achieve in the near or long-term future, and the actions you can take to achieve them.
Here are some examples of mission statements vs vision statements from some well-known and small companies:
- Mission Statement: Our Movement’s mission is to prevent or reduce human suffering wherever it is found.
- Vision Statement: Human dignity, peace, safety, and wellbeing for all.
- Mission Statement: Our Mission is to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone.
- Vision Statement: To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald's serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.
- Mission Statement: “What We Seek to Achieve: Grow our global business by serving the logistics needs of customers, offering excellence and value in all that we do. Maintain a financially strong company-with broad employee ownership-that provides a long-term competitive return to our shareowners. Inspire our people and business partners to do their best, offering opportunities for personal development and success. Lead by example as a responsible, caring, and sustainable company making a difference in the communities we serve.”
- Vision Statement: Helping customers pioneer more sustainable solutions, delivering packages more efficiently, creating more connections around the world, and finding more ways to take action and give back.
- Mission Statement: Passion for our product - respect Resources - Foster Relationships - Share Success
- Vision Statement: We celebrate the abundance of the Great Lakes Region in every beer, dish, and story we share.
- Mission Statement: To forge indelible connections between brands and consumers. To do that, we needed the right team. Not just expert strategists, creatives, and brand activators – but ones who shared our passion for connecting with people in new and exciting ways. The great work we do is inspired by our larger purpose: finding a cure for pediatric cancer. And that’s the most meaningful mission of all.
- Vision Statement: Building meaningful relationships with the world around us. (We) believe in fostering a culture that embraces ingenuity, explores ideas fearlessly, and challenges everyone to think a bit differently.
- Mission Statement: To glorify God while serving our clients and people with a passion for growth. Harvest works with innovative entrepreneurs as well as some of the world's largest, most-respected CPG companies.
- Vision Statement: To transform people and businesses around the world through remarkable growth is supported by our amazing team relentlessly striving to live out our core values of Relationship, Journey, Excellence, Integrity, and Legacy every day in everything we do. At Harvest Group, our values aren’t just on the wall for visitors to see, they are evident in every client conversation, every company meeting, every email, and every 1:1 conversation.
The 3 Parts of a Good Mission Statement
A 2004 study looked at the link between customers, employees, and the company mission statement. The purpose was to maximize the benefits of business mission statements, and to discover how employees not understanding the mission statements can result in a waste of management time.
What the study revealed was not only what made a good mission statement but also why.
When mission statements favored ‘concern for customer satisfaction’ and the company’s competitive strategy and innovation, employees were more motivated in their commitment towards learning and achieving the mission. Statements with limited effects mainly focused on clarity and innovation and competitive strategy.
So getting clear about your company's goals are not only helps the company improve customer experience but also improve the quality and value of service that employees provide to customers.
The study boiled successful mission statements down to three parts.
1. The Target Audience
Focusing your company mission statement on your customers and how you wish to care for them allows your employees to focus their work more effectively towards building your customer base.
You can (and should) do this by first identifying your target market. From there, develop your buyer persona and get to know your ideal customers intimately. It is important to identify who your company serves and what experience you wish your customers to have with your company and encourage returning customers.
2. The Product Or Service
Asking why you started your business and what you want for your company, customers, and employees allows you to better customize your product or service in your advertising campaigns towards your target audience.
3. The Unique Selling Proposition
Defining your company’s public image or branding, and its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) at what makes you uniquely different from your competition allows you to reflect this within your company's mission statement.
This allows your target audience to differentiate you from your competitors and create memorability for your product or services.
7 Mission Statement Examples
Knowing what to write in your mission statement can be tricky. Though we’ve gone over all of the points to include, it helps to see what other mission statements look like. Here are some solid mission statements to get you started.
"Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."
Tesla has been known throughout its history to cross new frontiers of electric automobile manufacturing with its revolutionary ideas and technology. The mission statement indicates a focus by the company to target market opportunities for renewable energy and by making its batteries and other energy storage products relevant and appealing to the electric vehicle market.
The company establishes its role in helping the industry to progress towards technologically advanced sustainable products and businesses with “to accelerate” in its mission statement. With “the world’s transition”, it directly relates to Tesla’s corporate vision to dominate the global market for electric automobiles and other related products, and help accelerate the world's shift to renewable technology. With the growing global demand for renewable energy, this company focuses on not just producing electric automobiles but other renewable products that are potentially profitable in the future.
Why It Works: It inspires employees to be part of the global change by contributing to the company’s projects and plans for the sustainable energy industry. With its revolutionary electric cars and technology, it continues to push its team through innovation towards making the global shift to renewable energy a reality.
Customers who are environmentally conscious and tech-savvy are attracted to this company for its strong core values towards a sustainable world by purchasing electric automobiles and its related products which rely on renewable energy.
How To Do It: Look at creating a mission statement that clearly reflects your company’s current strategic objectives, and connect your company’s corporate social environmental responsibility (CER) with your company’s purpose and the basis of its products/services.
"To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."
The core values of the mission statement reflect Starbucks' dedication towards its customers' experience and satisfaction, company goals, and its focus on positively impacting communities around the world.
With ‘one cup’, it looks at delivering the best quality coffee, coffee products, and services to its customers. Starbucks cafes are designed to make people feel at home and their employees carry a sense of warmth and friendliness, making customers feel welcome; thus creating that draw for customers to choose Starbucks as their favorite place to gather, hold their meetings, and work.
Their reference to “one neighborhood” reflects their mission to grow their business close to their customers, making it easy for them to spend time with others. They also focus on building respect, dignity, and positivity within their company and with their customers using these shared values through their service, ambiance, and products “to inspire and nurture the human spirit”.
Why It Works: Starbucks’ mission statement makes its employees and customers feel that they matter “one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”. Their focus on corporate social responsibility allows customers to purchase and support responsibly grown and fair trade coffee, thus creating an extremely loyal coffee fan base.
They are known for being an equal opportunity employer who invests in their team and gives their new employees onboard training when they join. This inspires a loyal team dedicated to helping this exceptional company grow. The products sold by Starbucks are also uniquely designed and renewed every season to increase their customers’ happiness and satisfaction; thus increasing their profitability “one cup...at a time”.
How To Do It: Reflecting your company’s values and goals in your mission statement show your investment towards supporting your employees and customers’ happiness and satisfaction with their life, making you stand out from your competitors as an exceptional employer who values their team and customers. This gives a strong ‘why’ reason for your employees to provide a high quality of customer service and be more dedicated to your company mission and for your customers to support you.
“A.M. Transportation is a professional and experienced provider, understanding the needs and contributing to the success of customers by arranging for transportation of their freight with the most reliable transportation methods in North America while providing our employees a supportive work environment fostering decision-makers and problem solvers.”
There are tons of freight companies in the world, but A.M. Transport Services’ mission sets it apart from its competitors with a mission statement that goes beyond transportation: “to understand the needs and contribute to the success of customers … with the most reliable transportation methods in North America.”
This mission to support their customers with their knowledge of transportation methods shows that they will use the best options from their 32 years of experience to make the freight delivery a success, reassuring their customers that they are not just another number on their delivery list.
The mention of providing a “supportive work environment fostering decision-makers and problem-solvers” shows the business’s willingness to inspire and nurture their team every day and for the long term.
Why It Works: The mission statement makes customers feel safe trusting this business with their deliveries. Timely deliveries for any business is vitally important for retaining customers, and A.M. Transport Services supports this understanding by promising that it uses “the most reliable transportation methods in North America” by keeping up with the industry’s latest technological advancements.
The nature of this industry requires timely action by its employees to ensure that deliveries are made on time, and with attention given to supporting the ideas and feedback of its team, this business stands out from its competitors by working closely with its team.
How To Do It: Notice the mission statement does not emphasize what it does, but the needs of the customer and the team. By addressing your customers’ and team’s needs in your mission statement, you inspire your team to work closely together to accomplish your goals and reflect the personalized touch that you provide in your products and services; thus making your customers feel cared for compared to larger corporations. It says a lot to your customers when you give customers your attention in your business and include it in your mission statement.
“Armor Protective Packaging® is an international corrosion management system provider with global reach and a proven, world-class reputation for quality.”
ARMOR’s mission statement combines both the values that bring them market success (making clean, safe, easy-to-use, and extremely effective high-quality products) and the values that promote a healthy work/life balance for their team (earning them a place on Inc. Magazine’s 2018 & 2019 list of Best Workplaces).
For the people behind this business, they believe in the importance of volunteers and the generosity of giving back to the community:
“We believe good people make great employees and great employees do great things, that is why we emphasize good citizenship and that is why we created our VALOR (Volunteers of ARMOR) program. Through the VALOR program, each employee receives 24 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer in the community.” These values foster a creative, tightly-knit team that works closely to create a “world-class reputation for quality”.
These values create a sense of pride and company spirit within the team.
Why It Works: The mission statement reflects the company’s strategic goals to create a world-class reputation globally for great and effective products with a strong reputation behind its brand. They reflect the title “Eradicators of Rust” showing the high quality of products and services with their experience.
How To Do It: Incorporating your company’s pride in its team’s wellbeing and the effectiveness of your products/services in your mission statement shows your customers your high quality of products/services and attracts a great team who wants to be part of helping your company continue to flourish and grow.
“This isn’t about selling handbags, it’s about manifesting a feeling, an experience, and a community - all in honor of the journey.WHY? Because it’s not about the bag, it’s where you take it.”
Consuela’s mission statement jumps straight into the reason why we buy bags, speaking to its audience who purchase its bags because of how it makes them feel, and how they want to use it in their day to day activities. This appeals towards increasing their customers’ intangible happiness with “manifesting a feeling, an experience” and incorporates their bag gifting community program ‘It’s not about the bag’ which honors amazing ladies who get nominated “a community - all in honor of the journey”.
Why It Works: Instead of focusing on its bags, the mission statement talks about why their brand is different from other bag designers, how they focus on creating a pleasurable experience with their bags, and how they give back to the community.
How To Do It: Alluding to a community cause that is important to you and your company in your mission statement and the impact you wish your products/services wish to have on your customers help to make you stand out in a highly competitive industry which is flooded with inexpensive consumer products. Having a charitable cause as part of the company's mission creates a compelling shopping experience possible for your customers to support your brand.
“Our mission is to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible.”
We all love stories of companies giving back to the community and changing lives. But nothing is more inspiring than Ally and Jeff Davidson using their winnings from the American Gladiator’s Grand Championship to create Camp Gladiator, a workout community with uniquely fun and challenging workouts. They “positively impact the physical fitness” by training physical trainers and support their team by promoting a “responsible, solution-orientated mindset” with a primary purpose to “honor God and serve others”. By taking great care of their people, their 1000+ team has been able to help them accomplish their mission to impact “the lives of as many people as possible” in 350+ cities, 3,500+ locations.
Why It Works: Camp Gladiator’s mission statement is very succinct with the industry they wish to make an impact and why they were created, to help improve the lives of as many people as possible. This also motivates employees who are interested and dedicated to helping more people get healthy through physical fitness.
How To Do It: By using a clear and concise mission statement of why you want to help or serve others with your products/services, and the industry you wish to make a difference in, your dedication and passion in the mission statement will attract a like-minded team dedicated to your mission and loyal customers who love what you do.
“Transforming every life we touch by the way we treat people and the beautiful work we produce.”
As a Missouri family-owned architectural woodworking firm, Cohen’s mission statement reflects the two things they value most - relationships and excellence in what they do.
Their dedication towards “creating a masterpiece every time” is reflected in their statement “the beautiful work we produce” is complemented by “the way they treat people” in their line with the Pillars of Character; transparency, having a constant pursuit of improvement, fair transactions, accountability and treating “both employees, clients, vendors, and competitors” as “valued friends”. Their declaration to “refuse to take an adversarial relationship with anyone” and to “keep a drama-free workplace and pursue drama-free lives” says a lot to its employees and their customers about their character and their openness towards working together in harmonious constructive ways.
The simple mission statement concisely sums up how this business is different from others, and how they treat their work with high quality, and, their employees and customers and respect.
Why It Works: Cohen’s mission statement succinctly included their most important values on relationships and their high-quality services. It instills a sense of pride for their employees to work for them in a supportive and respectful work environment.
As a family-owned business, their customers know that they are easily approachable and will add a personal touch to their services.
How To Do It: Reflecting your personal values in your mission statement helps to create a sense of pride for your employees working for you. Whether it is an emphasis on honesty or your positivity, your values show your employees the type of environment and company they are working for, thus creating pride in what they do and who they work for. From your mission statement, your customers will be able to see the values you treasure and attract like-minded loyal customers to you.
FAQ About Writing a Company Mission Statement
Where should I use my Mission Statement?
Mission statements are the foundation by which companies operate. Everyone in your company should work towards your mission statement to help your company achieve its goals. If your employees are not familiar with it, they will not understand the purpose of their role in the company and may not understand the goals they should be working towards.
- Your company’s mission statement is best highlighted during your recruitment and training sessions so that all new employees on their first day of work can be made aware of your company’s goals. This will allow all your employees to be aligned with your company’s mission with a sense of purpose.
- Vision statements are great for small businesses to show their achievements and values.
- Placing your mission statement on your office premises, office stationery, website, promotional merchandise, and advertisement campaigns are powerful ways to make your company’s mission statement highly visible to your employees, existing and new customers.
How Long Should a Mission Statement Be?
The average length of a mission statement is between two and four sentences, with at least 29 words, not exceeding 100 words. The best mission statements are usually kept to a single succinct sentence.
However long your mission statement is, it should carry your point across, inspiring your team with clarity to achieve your company goals.
Another way to write a good mission statement is by looking at other effective mission statements and how they are written, as you can learn about how to write an effective mission statement for your company.
How Do I Write A Mission Statement?
When crafting your mission statement, one of the first steps you can take is to consider these qualities to the making of a great mission statement:
- Clarity: Your mission statement has to be easy to understand so your employees can use it in their job.
- Specific statements: Make sure your mission statements are specific to help your business stand out.
- Stand out: In your company mission statement, describe your company’s uniqueness and why it is important. Having a mission statement that reflects your company culture makes your company stand out amongst your industry competitors.
- Clear and Concise: Using jargon and complicated words can make it hard for others to understand your statement. Having a clear mission statement makes your business memorable and easily recognizable.
- Future Direction: Think about your company’s high-priority goal for the next few years, what inspires your employees, and incorporate it into your company mission.
- Your Company Values: Including your company values in your mission statement shows the world how you are making a difference to your customers.
- Employee Feedback: Having feedback from your team helps you to improve it further.
- Update: Keep your mission statement relevant to your company situation. Don’t be afraid to rewrite it to better reflect what your company stands for.