What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose (s). The statement is usually short, either a single sentence or a short paragraph.
Key points to remember
- A mission statement is used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose (s).
- It is usually a sentence or a short paragraph explaining the culture, values and ethics of a company.
- Mission statements serve several purposes, including motivating employees and reassuring investors about the future of the business.
How a mission statement works
Mission statements serve a dual purpose of helping employees stay focused on the tasks at hand and encouraging them to find innovative ways to increase their productivity in order to achieve business goals.
A company’s mission statement defines its culture, values, ethics, core goals and program. In addition, it defines how each of these elements apply to the company’s stakeholders: its employees, distributors, suppliers, shareholders and the community at large. These entities can use this statement to align their goals with those of the business.
The statement reveals what the company does, how it does it and why it does it. Potential investors can also refer to the mission statement to see if the company’s values match theirs. For example, an ethical investor against tobacco products would likely not invest in a company whose mission is to be the world’s largest manufacturer of cigarettes.
It is not uncommon for large companies to spend many years and millions of dollars developing and refining their mission statements. In some cases, mission statements end up becoming colloquialisms.
Mission statements aren’t just for big or small businesses. Many successful individuals, professionals and investors have taken the time to write a personal mission statement. These personal mission statements often integrate the financial, professional, spiritual and relationship aspects of life. This, in turn, helps an individual maintain a healthy work / life balance which increases personal achievements in all of these areas.
The mission of a company is its identity, and its vision is its journey towards the accomplishment of its mission.
Writing a mission statement
While it can be difficult to target your business in just one statement, here are some tips to help you write a good mission statement.
- First, describe what your business does. It can be a good that you produce or a service that you provide to your customers, no matter what makes your business run.
- Next, describe how your business does what it does. Instead of being technical (that’s not the topic here), think about the values that are at the heart of your business. Maybe you value quality or customer service, or sustainability, or you encourage creativity and innovation in your business. These are key points to emphasize in your mission statement.
- Finally, indicate why you are doing what you are doing in your mission statement. This is the key. It helps you stand out as a business, highlighting what sets you apart from others in your industry. Remember to keep the mission statement short and to the point.
Once you’ve written it, be sure to check it out, edit it, and have someone else proofread it. After you approve it, you’ll need to find a way to integrate it wherever you can, including on your website or as part of your ad campaigns, wherever it’s visible to your stakeholders.
Advantages and disadvantages of mission statements
Businesses can benefit from a mission statement. First, it describes a company’s goals and position in the industry for its customers and other stakeholders. It also helps the organization to focus and stay on track to make the right decisions about its future.
In addition, the mission statement helps clarify the purpose of a business. With a mission statement, a company’s customers and investors can be assured that the company is fully committed to achieving its goals and upholding its values. It is also useful for guiding and motivating employees, keeping them in line with the values of the company.
But there are downsides to having a mission statement. Mission statements can sometimes be very high and far too unrealistic, which can distract employees from corporate goals. Even if a mission statement is short and concise, developing it can take a lot of time and money. Resources spent on a bad mission statement might be better spent elsewhere.
Examples of mission statements
Mission statements vary widely from company to company. The following examples are the mission statements of some of the trending companies from 2021:
- Chipotle (CMG): providing “food with integrity”.
- MGM Resorts International (MGM): MGM Resorts International is the leader in entertainment and hospitality, a diverse collection of extraordinary people, distinctive brands and premier destinations. By working together, we create partnerships and experiences that engage, entertain and inspire.
- Nike (NKE): Develop human potential by creating breakthrough sports innovations, making our products more sustainable, building a creative and diverse global team, and making a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.
- Walmart (WMT): We save people money so they can live better.
- Starbucks (SBUX): to inspire and nourish the human spirit: one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
- Tesla (TSLA): Accelerating the Global Transition to Sustainable Energy.
- JP Morgan (JPM): To be the best financial services company in the world.
Mission statements versus vision statements
A company’s mission statement differs from its vision statement. While the mission statement remains largely unchanged and represents who the business is or aspires to be for its entire existence, the vision statement may change. The latter describes what the company must do to stay as it is. Indeed, the mission of a company is its identity, and the vision is its path towards the accomplishment of its mission.