If someone were to ask you to sum up your business in a quick sentence, you’d probably feel a little uncertain about what to say. We all know that making a great first impression is priceless, which is why you can’t afford to fluff your lines when it comes to the crunch. With the right mission statement, you won’t.
As a business owner, creating a great mission statement may not feel like an overly important task, but it is a key ingredient in the recipe for building a strong company profile. Whether you want to learn more about their importance in business or need a free mission statement template to help you get your goals in order, this guide is just for you.
The term mission statement is just one of many that you will hear in the business arena. So, the first question you’ll want to ask is: what is a mission statement? Oxford Languages defines it as:
A formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.
It should be a brief statement no longer than one paragraph (or 100 words) that clearly defines the purpose and objective of the business, covering what it does and why. It should set out the core values of the company in a way that resonates with workers and clients alike.
As such, it should be more than just a catchy slogan and should focus on establishing and expressing the true purpose of the company. We’ve listed some good mission statement examples from major organizations below to help inspire you:
The mission statement examples above show how they define the company profile to cover what, why, and how the company performs in just one short and succinct paragraph. As such, the mission statement you settle upon should feel unique to your business and industry.
A deeper appreciation of the role that a personal mission statement can play in your business should motivate you to get it right. A strong mission statement is a foundation on which you can continue to build your business.
For starters, it gives your company a brand identity that employees and customers can buy into. This can be an important feature, as over 80% of millennials actively want to work with companies that they feel aligned to. However, the mission statement can additionally direct all future planning, performance analysis, and goal-setting activities. It provides clear guidance for all stakeholders and employees.
Whether you’re dealing with internal dilemmas or interacting with customers, a powerful mission statement is something that can be revisited time and time again to reestablish a sense of clarity. In turn, this may help the business stay on track while avoiding distractions and wasting time or money.
If you don’t have a mission statement, ambiguity can impact your productivity and profitability. Mission statements can be used by companies across all industries; they’re just as good for local brick-and-mortar firms as they are for eCommerce retailers.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that writing a paragraph of no more than 100 words could be completed in a matter of minutes. However, the influence a mission statement has on your daily and overall functions means that you absolutely must get it right, not least because the content of the paragraph is unlikely to change much over the years to come.
As such, you can expect the process to take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of your business. Indeed, many companies will hold several in-depth meetings to perfect their mission statement. The following business mission statement template should help you master the process in style.
Before writing your mission statement, you must first take the time to interview key people to gain an understanding of how they view the business. You should ask them about the following issues:
After this, you can analyze the findings to spot trends and common themes. In turn, you’ll be able to build a mission statement that is clear, attainable, and motivational. It should feel unique to your company by setting out its USPs. Aside from inspiring your team, it can create the consistency to boost sales by up to 23%.
After collecting the necessary and relevant information about your company profile, you can focus on actively using the template mission statement to confirm your core values. To complete your mission statement, you should:
The final stage is to combine the sentences and turn them into a more concise paragraph. The statement must be all killer, no filler while simultaneously showcasing your brand personality. There should also be room for inspiration and interpretation rather than just facts. This way, employees can turn back to the statement for motivation when they need to improve their productivity or get their ideas back on track.
In most cases, it’s also wise to avoid industry jargon or buzzwords. Your mission statement should be clear, concise, and relevant to you, not just a series of cliches.
After writing your mission statement, you should be left with a single thought that encapsulates your company's purpose and values. However, you should be prepared for the idea to be finalized through the process of iteration. This is because:
With this in mind, you’ll find that you have several options to present to the leaders of your company. This is what allows the iterating process to hone in on the perfect solution. It can be a little frustrating, especially when your short defining paragraph feels close to the mark. Nonetheless, it will all feel worthwhile when you land on the right choice.
And you’ll know when you do.
While a generic mission statement template can be used by all companies, you may want to think about your specific industry or sector too. This is a step that can improve all of your intended outcomes, from sounding more professional to providing guidance to your teams.
For example, a real estate mission statement template can give you a real edge over firms that focus on a more generic approach. As a service-based business, you will be focused on the customer and what you can achieve for them. The statement should be simple, humble, and authentic while focusing on the problem your business solves.
If you’re running a nonprofit organization, you’ll want to use a nonprofit mission statement template, because the purpose of the organization is different to that of a business. Rather than being driven by financial gains, it’ll exist to support a cause or community. This philosophy should feature in the mission statement.
Mission statements do not have to be limited to businesses either. A family mission statement is defined by Stephen Covey as follows:
A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.
A family mission statement template is very similar to a business one. You will want to call a family meeting to discuss the key issues (family purpose, what you want to be, what issues you see within the family, and family responsibilities and principles).
In turn, you should be able to develop a concise statement that your family can live by and use for guidance.
Meanwhile, personal mission statement examples show that a statement can be used for guidance and motivation in your own life. The personal mission statement template is very similar, except the research phase is completed alone. Think about who you are and what your purpose in life is for optimal results.
As well as a mission statement, most companies will find that they can benefit from writing a vision statement. These two brief definitions of your business are certainly in the same ballpark, but individuals who use the two terms interchangeably are technically incorrect.
The mission statement sets out to establish what the company is, looking at its purpose and how it differentiates itself from the crowd. Conversely, LifeHack.com offers the following definition of a vision statement:
A vision statement is like a photograph of your future business, which gives your business shape and direction.
As such, it’s really a tool used to think about what the company wants to be, which will subsequently allow all parties to consider what steps are required to make that happen. Like a template mission statement, it helps identify the company’s unique characteristics to promote clarity across the organization. However, the vision statement gives further insight into the company’s strategy, whereas the mission statement focuses on the values.
Some vision statement examples are listed below:
The above examples show why many people think that the two statements are the same thing. However, the wording highlights that the focus of a mission statement is different to that of a vision statement. As such, the latter often builds upon the foundation established by the former.
As shown by customer loyalty statistics, keeping people focused on your company and developing strong bonds is a tough job. Mission statements are a valuable tool that can help define your business and make it a household name that will stick in everyone’s minds.
And it’s not just that - vision statements make business owners, employees, stakeholders, and clients think about the purpose the company serves while also considering the how and why. Crucially, a mission statement should do this in no more than 100 words.
Businesses of all sizes across all industries can benefit from taking this approach. When writing yours using a mission statement template, be sure to make it concise, accurate, attainable, and unique. The right statement is one that can support the organization throughout its business journey.
Virtually all successful companies boast a clear, concise, and complete mission statement that defines who they are and what they do. For example, fashion brand ASOS states its mission as follows: “To become the number 1 fashion destination for 20-somethings globally.”
To write a mission statement you’ll need to find a sentence or two that can set out the fundamentals of what your business does and why, along with its core values. You’ll probably find that it's best to write a short paragraph about what, how, and why your company operates. It will subsequently be easier to chop it down to a suitable mission statement.
Generally speaking, a mission statement will cover the company’s purpose, values, and goals in 100 words or fewer. It looks at how the business serves its employees, clients, and the wider community. A powerful mission statement should also come across as dedicated to your brand.
A mission statement and a vision statement are quite similar. The big difference is that a strong mission statement focuses on what your organization currently is, while a vision statement focuses on what you want it to become. Together, they can provide the guidance needed for sustained success.
Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.
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