Lost, with no direction? Learn through this article how to write a mission statement and add purpose to your business. Discover how to improve your decision-making and strategic planning to achieve success for your organization.
I’m sure in your personal life you have your own beliefs, rules and principles that will guide you through your activities, relationships and work — something that you truly believe in to achieve your goals.
When starting an online business, whether you are doing a collab with a big retail company or starting an online store, this isn’t different. You must know how to write a mission statement to define your company's objectives.
Every business, big or small, has a purpose, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the owner or an employee; this purpose moves your daily schedule and relationship with stakeholders. You’re following this mission without noticing it because upper management is leading your daily tasks based on this common goal.
A good mission statement is a short, clear and concise statement that outlines the purpose and values of a company, helping communicate a particular vision of the organization and purpose to all the stakeholders involved in this business.
Giving a quick definition to a mission statement is easy, but you should rely on other essential aspects of your activities. Through this article, you will learn what it is, how it can help your business, and how to write a mission statement for your own company regarding your values and purpose.
This fundamental statement will guide you, helping to set a strategy for your company and advising you on what you must do to succeed. Let’s explore building your company’s mission statement together!
What is a mission statement?
A winning mission statement communicates a business’ organizational purpose, establishing companies’ activities and what they do, who they serve, and how they will achieve their goals, providing a framework for decision-making and guiding strategic planning.
The mission statement helps to communicate to all the stakeholders the organization’s values and to build a brand identity for your business. Upper management must be in charge of setting the company’s goals to address this critical objective, establishing a workflow that allows all stakeholders to add value to the organization actively.
A well-crafted mission statement should be clear and memorable. It should capture the essence of your business and the values you want to add to your company so that everyone will easily understand it (suppliers, employees, investors, customers, etc.).
To start writing a great mission statement, you must follow the key elements listed below, and you must have them in mind while you’re considering what to add to your message:
The mission statement should clearly articulate the organization’s purpose. The organization must know why it exists and the needs it seeks to address. We will talk more about purpose in a specific section, but while we’re here, think of what moves you and your teammates to pursue success — for example, if you want to change people's lives through ecommerce.
Your company’s mission statement should describe all the organization's activities to achieve its purpose and how it creates value for stakeholders. You must ask yourself about the main activities you’re doing to run your business. Are you selling digital products or services? Which kind of activities are you more focused on?
That’s something you can’t escape. Every organization must know about its primary and potential customers, stakeholders and beneficiaries.
You’re working to deliver the best possible products and services to them. In terms of deliveries and profit margin, they are the thermometer of your work.
Ethical standards and principles are taught to us since we’re children and are an essential part of a society’s cultural environment. As entrepreneurs, we’ll carry some of our beliefs and values to our work. The statement must translate morals and mores that are the foundation of business activities.
The market out there is wild. Every day businesses are open, but only differentiation will help them to thrive.
When starting your own business, you must seek characteristics that will make you stand out from the crowd to create an identity for your customers (and when we say customers, we mean not only the ones who buy your products but every stakeholder involved in the equation). This differentiation will help your brand develop features to distinguish itself from competitors.
After following all the steps, the mission statement still needs to be finished. Organizations, people and goals can change fast, so mission statements must be revisited and updated periodically to reflect the changes in strategies, priorities and operating environment.
A mission statement is vital to an organization’s strategic plan that defines its purpose, activities, customers, values and differentiation. It must be communicated throughout all the departments and channels, like social media platforms.
That’s a start to aligning business activities to build a sense of direction and purpose for everyone (people and organizations) involved in the company’s intents.
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Finding the purpose of your organization
Why does this company exist? 🤔
Well, everybody has their motivations when it comes to starting a business. Entrepreneurs worldwide want to change their lives, improve the life quality of their families, be their own bosses, or just make more money. Of course, that’s important, but it’s not the only reason to do it. When starting a business, you probably want to do something different to add value to what you’re building.
A purpose is why something exists or the intended outcome or goal it seeks to achieve. In the context of an organization, the purpose will drive the fundamental reason why the company exists and what the company stands for beyond just making a profit or achieving financial success.
An organization’s purpose is its reason for being, the impact it seeks to have on the world and the needs it aims to address. It reflects values, beliefs and vision for the future. Honestly, that’s almost like a state of mind, the company spirit.
There are several reasons why a company should have a clear purpose for its existence, and a purpose is a guiding principle to achieve them:
1. Direction and focus
Having a direct purpose will help management and all team members to have a clear direction in everyday life while working, ensuring that the company’s resources are aligned with its goals and vision.
For example, you’re working for a logistics company that says on its mission statement that it is helping people to receive their products the fastest way possible. After knowing this information, I'm sure you’ll have a more precise direction on decision-making while facing a problem with an order.
2. Motivation and engagement
I don’t know if it’s your case, but I’ve never met someone that takes on a challenge without knowing the rewards. A strong purpose can motivate and engage employees, customers and other stakeholders, creating a sense of meaning and purpose in their work and driving more significant commitment to the organization. If they know what they’re pursuing, they will probably work harder to achieve it.
Why open a business to be the exact copy of other companies?
You must put your mark on the world, differentiate from competitors and build a unique value proposition for your customers.
Don’t go after sales, but for a community engaged in what you sell and believes in what you offer. A purpose is shared with coworkers and everyone involved in running a business.
You must nurture your customers' trust and loyalty, demonstrating that you’re committed to your beliefs. That, for sure, will give a competitive advantage.
In summary, a purpose is a fundamental reason you put so much effort into your business. Beyond just earning money or financial success, it reflects values, beliefs and vision for the future. You must stick to what you believe and show the world what you’re up to.
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Vision statement vs mission statement
Mission and vision statements are essential components of an organization’s strategic plan. Although they’re related, they differ in what they mean to a corporation.
On the one hand, a mission statement describes an organization’s purpose and outlines what it does, who it serves and how it achieves its goals in decision-making and strategic planning.
On the other hand, a vision statement describes the organization’s long-term aspirants and what it hopes for the future.
A company's vision statement is an ideal future state and often includes a description of the impact it hopes to have on its stakeholders. A vision statement is intended to inspire all the stakeholders as the mission does but in a more aspirational way.
For example, Google’s vision statement is “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” Of course, you may need more clicks to do it, but this is what moves them to the future.
If this isn’t clear to you yet, we’ve prepared a list with the main differences between these two statement to help you conduct your mission statement writing to a greater degree:
1. Purpose: The mission statement defines the company’s purpose, while the vision statement describes future aspirations. An example should be that your mission is to have a better career and quality of life. Your vision is to be the more successful-relaxed-enjoying life entrepreneur of all time!
2. Focus: While a mission focuses on the present and why you are doing it, the vision statement is conducted to the future and the impact your company hopes to have. Right now, you’re probably working because you need it. Still, in the future, after so many years of hard work, you’ll want to your vision statement to be “become the most retired person ever.”
3. Content: A mission statement should be brief and outline why you’re doing your primary activities. The vision statement is way more aspirational, and some companies write it as almost a dream in terms of goals.
In conclusion, mission and vision statements are equally essential components of a strategic plan and serve different but complementary purposes in guiding an organization's direction. Every statement has its objectives and different approaches to follow.
Core values: your company's ethical standards
I’m sure you’ve faced a moment when your beliefs were questioned at some point, but you managed to stick with what you believed in, or perhaps they changed after you realized they were not as ethical or just as you thought.
These beliefs are your core values, defining your values and ethical standards. When talking about business, a company’s core values are essential for several reasons:
Help the team to make choices
From this point, you already know that a mission statement, vision and core values guide decision-making. Still, values are mainly used in conflicting interests or ethical dilemmas.
When your company’s value is clearly understood, your employees will use them as a framework to make their decisions aligned with the business’ purpose and beliefs.
Foster a positive culture
When employees share the same values, it creates a sense of community. The team is more motivated to work towards shared goals when sharing a common purpose. The core values also help to create a supportive and respectful work environment where diversity and inclusivity are encouraged.
Attract and retain top talent
Nowadays, no one wants to be related to a job or company that doesn’t match their values, so values are essential in attracting and retaining top talents.
Team members are more likely to be engaged and motivated when they work for an organization that shares their beliefs and ethical standards.
Organizations that prioritize their core values can differentiate themselves from their competitors and become more appealing to potential candidates. For example, suppose you’re vegan and want to work for a cosmetics company. In that case, you’ll probably want to work for a business that doesn’t test its products on animals.
Build trust and credibility
Core values are a critical component of an organization’s brand and reputation. When an organization’s values are aligned with its behavior, it builds trust and credibility with its stakeholders.
Conversely, you won’t trust a company that preaches about diversity but doesn’t have people from different ethnic groups working together. When an organization’s behavior is inconsistent with its values, it can damage its reputation and erode stakeholders’ trust.
Drive business success
You must not ignore your values. They’re more than an abstract concept but integral to business success. Organizations that prioritize their values tend to be more innovative, adaptable and resilient.
Core values are something that customers would feel attracted to. Suppose they know you believe in the same things. In that case, you can achieve long-term success, partnership with your customers and value to stakeholders.
How to write a mission statement
Now is the time to get your hands dirty! Crafting a well-written mission statement can be a challenge for many people. However, it’s an essential part of any business or organization. Don’t worry because we prepared a few steps for you to craft your new mission statement and get your business to the next level. Check it out:
Define the purpose of your mission statement
Why am I writing this?
Before writing your mission statement, define why you are crafting it. What are the objectives you want to achieve with your mission statement? What do you want to communicate to your stakeholders?
Answering these questions will give you a clear understanding of the purpose of your mission statement. Write a list with all these answers and questions!
Identify your values
A mission statement shows the values of an organization. As we told you before, values are the fundamental beliefs that guide your organization's behavior, decision-making and culture. Some typical values include integrity, innovation, teamwork and social responsibility. Identify the values necessary to your organization and ensure they are reflected in your mission statement.
Define your unique selling proposition
Your mission statement should differentiate your organization from others in the market. It’s a tool to display your business idea. Identify what makes your organization unique and different from others. Your unique selling proposition should be reflected in your mission statement.
For example, what’s the difference between your products and jewels from other brands if you're selling jewelry? What value is being added to make your customer buy it?
Start to write your mission statement
Now that you clearly understand the purpose of your mission statement, your values and your unique selling proposition, it’s time to write your mission.
Mission statements should be short, clear and concise. It should be easy to understand and memorable. Here are some tips to help you write your mission statement:
- Start with a solid opening sentence that communicates the purpose of your organization.
- Keep it short — ideally, it should be one sentence long.
- Use simple language that is easy to understand.
- Avoid jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to stakeholders.
- Make it memorable — use a catchy phrase or slogan that captures the essence of your organization's purpose.
- Ensure it reflects your values and unique selling proposition.
Refine your mission statement
Once you have written your mission statement, you must revisit it all the time to refine it and see if it matches your value proposition. Here are some tips to help you refine your mission statement in order to keep it aligned with your business goals:
- Edit your mission statement to remove any unnecessary words or phrases.
- Ensure it is easy to understand and communicate.
- Get feedback from stakeholders, including employees, customers and partners.
- Refine it based on feedback to ensure it accurately reflects your organization's purpose, values, and unique selling proposition.
Communicate your mission statement
You didn’t write it to hold it in a safebox, right? 😐
Once you have refined your mission statement, it’s essential to communicate it to your stakeholders. This includes employees, customers, partners and the general public. The communication strategy depends on the channels you use to reach your team, but here are some tips that can give you some ideas:
- Include it on your organization's website, marketing materials and social media interactive posts.
- Use it in your internal communications, such as emails, newsletters and meetings.
- Train your employees on your mission statement and ensure they understand it.
- Ensure it is visible in your organization's physical space, such as reception or conference rooms.
It’s not that hard, right? Writing a mission statement is something that’s already on your mind. You know your company values and what you must do to succeed. All you have to do is write it on paper and spread it out!
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Ways to share mission statements
All departments should be equally engaged in promoting and living the organization's mission, vision statement, values and culture. However, the HR department can play a critical role in ensuring that these elements are integrated into team member communication, training and performance management. HR teams must be the gatekeepers of a company’s organizational culture and spread ideas about it.
Through marketing campaigns and other initiatives, the marketing department may also promote the organization's purpose to external stakeholders, including customers, partners and investors. But promoting the mission, vision and values is a shared responsibility across all teams. Everyone must work together towards this common goal.
Talking about common goals and sharing an organization's mission, clear vision and values with employees is crucial for aligning everyone toward a shared purpose. Here are some great ways to share your organizational culture with employees:
1. Communicate regularly
Communicating your mission, vision and values regularly is essential, not just during onboarding or performance reviews. Ensure they are incorporated into daily communication, meetings and company-wide updates.
2. Use multiple channels
Use multiple channels to communicate your mission, vision and values, including email, newsletters, intranet, posters and social media. This will ensure that everyone in the organization has access to the information.
3. Incorporate it into training
Ensure that your mission, vision and values are incorporated into employee training, including new team member orientation, ongoing professional development and leadership training. That will help you ensure everyone is on the same page from the start.
4. Lead by example
Professionals in upper management are the ones that direct all the teams to a common path. Leaders should lead by example and model the organization's values and behaviors. They should also reinforce the mission, vision and values in their communication and decision-making, using the culture as part of their strategic planning.
5. Create opportunities for discussion
You must spread ideas! Not only say what your team must believe but create opportunities for employees to discuss the mission, vision and values!
Including group discussions, feedback sessions and team-building exercises will help them to share ideas and commit to the organization's purpose.
10 mission statement examples
After learning why a mission statement is important and how to write it, we know you need some inspiration to get to the next steps of crafting your statements.
To help your brain start the engines and think about great ideas, we prepared ten mission statement examples of well-established companies you may know:
"To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
2. The American Red Cross
"To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors."
"To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."
"To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online."
"To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."
"To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."
"To work for the survival, development, and protection of children worldwide through education, advocacy, and fundraising."
"To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions."
"To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more."
10. The Walt Disney Company
“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."
Note that these mission statement examples provide a clear sense of purpose, values and activities based on what they offer as a product!
These statements were crafted exclusively for those companies to work like motivational quotes to inspire the team and adapt to their organizational culture to represent all the beliefs involved on working with them.
How to write a mission statement: conclusion
If you’re here, you’re a pro! In all the sections above, we showed you how mission statements can be crucial to building your organization’s culture. Just to summarize everything you read, we prepared a few more paragraphs for you to check everything you’ve learned from this article.
In conclusion, writing a mission statement is a critical component of defining the purpose, values and goals of an organization. A well-crafted mission statement can guide decision-making, inspire employees and build trust with customers and stakeholders.
While writing an effective mission statement, it's crucial to begin by defining your organization's purpose, values and goals. This should involve a deep understanding of your target audience, the unique value proposition of your organization and the specific benefits you provide to your customers.
Once you clearly understand your purpose, values, and goals, you can begin crafting your mission statement. This should be a concise and memorable statement that communicates the essence of your organization and what your company serves.
Consider incorporating a vision statement that outlines your long-term goals and aspirations to make your mission statement even more effective, and set values that guide decision-making and define priorities for your company’s future.
When communicating your mission statement to employees and stakeholders, it's important to make it a central part of your organization's culture and to ensure that everyone understands and buys into it. This can involve an organization sporting it into company communications, including it in employee training and onboarding, and regularly revisiting and revising it as necessary.
After well-crafting a mission statement, you can lead the purpose and direction of your organization, inspiring employees, building trust with customers and stakeholders, and guiding choices and decisions made on daily activities by upper management and employees. By taking the time to craft your mission statement carefully, you can help ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your business.
Ready to help your business to leave a mark on the world? After all this reading, we’re sure that your a capable of adding more value to your business plan with a great mission statement that will describe the power and success of your company. Stay focused and work hard! 💪