Every company should have a mission statement that explains its goals, purpose, and values. A strong mission statement articulates why the company exists and what they hope to achieve, which helps employees and consumers alike understand the business and its trajectory.
Writing a mission statement isn't easy, but it is necessary for the company's public image and for cohesion within the team. You should know what elements are involved in a great mission statement and how you can create a strong and memorable statement for your company.
How to Craft the Perfect Mission Statement
Coming up with the perfect mission statement requires patience, planning, and creativity. Breaking the writing process down into smaller steps makes the experience much more manageable.
The purpose of your company is central to your mission statement, so you should start by identifying what exactly the business does. You don't have to write it out in perfectly eloquent terms. First, all you have to do is write down your company's purpose as concisely as possible. For example, if you're a clothing retailer, you could simply start with, "Sell clothing."
What are your company's priorities? How do you plan to achieve your goals? What do you want people to think of when they hear about your company? Ask yourself these questions to get a better understanding of your brand's values.
Your company's core values could relate to the quality of the product or to the customer experience you offer. If your brand promotes ideas like philanthropy, environmentalism, or innovation, those may be values worth mentioning in your mission statement.
When you establish your purpose, you state what the company does. Your core values should be an explanation of how the company does what it does. For example, a clothing retailer's mission statement could include the line, "To sell high quality, ethically sourced clothing."
The company exists for a reason, and that reasoning is a important element of the mission statement. What inspired the creation of the business? What was the market lacking that your company provides? Why should consumers care about the brand?
One common mistake in writing a mission statement is focusing only on what you want to accomplish for yourself. While it's expected that you want the company to grow and turn a profit, this shouldn't be the main idea presented in your mission statement. Instead, focus on what your brand offers the world and why the market is better because your company exists. For example, a complete mission statement for a clothing retailer could be, "To sell high quality, ethically sourced clothing so that shoppers can wear clothes they love with pride."
You probably have plans and hopes for the company to expand over time. Don't limit your mission statement to its current state of operations. Consider the future you see for the company, and keep the mission statement broad enough that it will stay relevant as you grow.
The statement doesn't have to be set in stone, though. You may find that your company has outgrown its mission statement, and adjusting it to fit your new vision is perfectly acceptable. Your mission statement should leave room for growth, but it shouldn't be so vague that it lacks substance.
Unless you're the only person operating your business, the company is a collaborative effort. Your mission statement should be collaborative, too. Before you finalize your mission statement, run it by your team to get their feedback. They should have a strong understanding of the company, so their insight is valuable.
You could even get your team involved from the very beginning of the writing process. Ask your employees what qualities or values they believe are central to the business and what they think the brand offers to consumers. You'll probably get a variety of answers, but look for common themes or trends in your team's suggestions.
Observing successful companies is an excellent way to get inspiration for your mission statement. Read as many mission statements as you can, and notice what you like or dislike about them. Although you can't copy another brand's mission statement, you can use a similar style or format if you think it will work well for your company.
Here are three examples of high-quality mission statements:
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Tesla's mission statement is very succinct and memorable, and it finds the middle ground between broad and specific. The statement makes the company's purpose clear: to increase sustainability. It also highlights that we're in the middle of a transition to sustainability, so it acknowledges the current state of the world while looking ahead to the future.
Notice that the mission statement doesn't mention what Tesla sells. This open-ended approach allows room for the company to expand their niche while still fulfilling their mission.
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
This is a great example of a mission statement that lists several goals. It includes Patagonia's intention to sell products, but it also acknowledges their efforts to support environmental causes. The company's values are clear in their mission statement, so everyone who reads it will know that Patagonia emphasizes environmentalism.
This is possibly the shortest mission statement of any brand, but its brevity makes it memorable. In TED's case, this is all they need to say to explain their purpose. This short phrase articulates their goal of spreading knowledge, and it explains their core values: wisdom and education.
Not all brands can have such short mission statements, so don't worry if yours is longer. However, TED's mission statement is a valuable example of how you can express your goals without going into intense detail.
Take your time when crafting your company's mission statement. Get inspiration from other companies, and brainstorm with your team. Write several drafts until you feel completely satisfied with the statement. Your mission statement should be the perfect representation of your company and its purpose, and it should be something you and your employees take pride in.