When it comes to defining the purpose of your company, you’ll want to put together an effective mission statement. This is important for your business plan.
When you’re starting your company, you have a bigger picture in mind. When it comes to defining the purpose of your company and what makes it stand out, you’ll want to put together an effective mission statement. This is an important facet of your business plan that outlines why you founded your company and what you’re hoping to achieve. When written properly, your mission statement can serve as a guiding light and a marketing tool.
How to write a mission statement isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Let’s take a look at the definition of a mission statement and the recommendations of our Cultivate Advisors experts to help you write your own.
What Is a Mission Statement for a Business?
Business mission statements outline the purpose and the core values of a business. It helps to set the stage for where you currently are as a business and it only needs to be a few sentences long. The majority of effective mission statements outline what a company does, how it does it, and the reasoning behind the mission.
It’s not uncommon for a mission statement to include information on where a company is based in addition to its target audience or market. While some may include generalized statements about company goals, others may include a company’s core values, philosophy, and noteworthy competitive advantages.
Why Does Your Business Need a Well-Thought Mission Statement?
Whether you’re writing a new mission statement or updating one that you currently have in place, it might cross your mind as to how necessary a mission statement is for your business. In reality, well-written and strategic mission statements are beneficial to both your internal employees as well as your target audience.
A company mission statement provides a framework and jumping-off point when you’re building your brand and helps differentiate yourself from your competitors. From a company morale standpoint, well-written mission statements are an easy way to unite your team and can attract and retain talent. Think of your mission statement as a guide to your employees to show them where you want to take the company.
What Makes a Good Mission Statement?
At this point, you may be wondering how to write a mission statement for a business. The length doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences and it shouldn’t be too specific. When thinking of what makes a good mission statement, keep in mind that it should have some sort of employee buy-in to help get them excited about your organization and make them happy to work there.
If you currently have core values that govern how you operate your company, this is a good starting point. Consider what your business is, how you are operating your business, and for whom you’re doing it. Finally, mission statements can change so don’t be afraid to approach them like a living, breathing document.
How to Write a Mission Statement for a Business
At Cultivate Advisors, we like to approach mission statements with a strategic visioning exercise. Here’s an example of how we would help you curate your mission statement.
- Write a sentence that outlines what your company does in the most basic terms. For example, if you own a catering company, your sentence could be something like “we are a catering company in Chicago”.
- Next, you’ll want to outline your core values. Your core values are a representation of what is the most important to your company and often include examples such as integrity, teamwork, accountability, diversity, etc. If you don’t yet have core values established, you’ll want to do so before moving forward with the mission statement writing process.
- Now that you have your core values in mind, the next step in creating a mission statement for a business is to write a sentence that explains how your company does what it does.
Then comes writing a sentence that explains why your company does what it does. In the case of a catering company, the “why” could be something like “We want to make catering a simple, enjoyable, and affordable experience”.
- Finally, reflect on the three sentences that you’ve written and try to combine them so your mission statement is as to the point as possible.
This might not happen overnight and it could take some trial and error to get the statement to a point that you’re happy with, stay patient!
Mission Statement Examples
Sometimes, it’s easiest to see mission statement examples to help inspire you. We’ve outlined three mission statement examples for business owners below.
One great mission statement is Southwest Airlines. It reads: “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” As you’ll notice, the company doesn’t say that they’re an airline or will help you get from one location to another. They focus on a commodity experience and put their employees at the forefront.
Starbucks has another interesting mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” Again, there is no mention of coffee but rather an emphasis on inspiration and a larger company mission.
Glasses Company Warby Parker has another great example of a mission statement: “To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.” This mission statement outlines its offerings and unique selling point without being too specific.
Tips for Writing a Mission Statement
Mission statements are not one-size-fits-all and there are different approaches to creating them. There are, however, some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re writing yours:
- Keep it short: You’ll only want to use a few sentences to write your mission statement. Anything longer and your audience will quickly lose interest.
- Make it memorable: It’s tempting to write an essay that conveys why your company is so great and why people should care about you, but the most memorable mission statements are short and punchy.
- Think ahead: Remember that a mission statement is like an investment in the future of your company. You’ll want to keep it open-ended enough that you can tweak it to reflect your long-term goals.
- Don’t make it too limiting: Don’t get too specific in terms of the service area of offerings. You’ll want to appeal to a larger audience than just your current town.
- Loop in your employees: Mission statements should include the opinions of your employees so you get their buy-in and so they become passionate about what your company stands for.
- Don’t be afraid to make changes! Things are always changing in the world of business. If you pivot or expand, your mission statement can as well.
Mission Statement Help Is a Phone Call Away!
Although it might take some time and thought, developing and writing a mission statement is an integral part of your brand identity and appeal. Our leadership development advisors are highly skilled in helping companies like yours develop impactful mission statements. If you’re interested in seeing how we can help, please reach out to our team of experts, we’re happy to help!