A mission statement articulates a company’s purpose. It announces to the world at large why your company exists. Every business should have a mission statement as a way of unifying the organization.
You can think of a mission statement as a combination of what your business or nonprofit does and how and why it does it, expressed in a way that encapsulates the values that are important to you. It can be a challenge to clearly and concisely bring these ideas together, though. Here is a simple guide—along with some examples—for writing your own company mission statement.
Describe What Your Company Does
There’s no need to be fancy here. Just say it simply for the moment. What product or service does your business produce or provide? Get down to the bare basics and don’t add any filler. You will elaborate on this purpose in the next steps.
My company's purpose is to:
- Sell shoes
- Provide educational services
- Grow market vegetables
- Design phone apps
- Provide financial advice
- Sell women's clothing
- Provide pet sitting services
Describe How Your Company Does What It Does
This is the tricky part, because we're not looking for a detailed description of your business' physical operations here. Instead, we're looking for a description of how your business generally operates. This usually means incorporating one or more of your core values into your description.
So take a moment to list the core values that are important to express in your business. Here are some sample values that you may want to use when you write a mission statement:
- Provide high product quality
- Protect the quality of the environment
- Ensure equal access to resources /creativity
It might be helpful to focus on your business’ core competencies when you’re considering which values are worthy of including in your mission statement. Zero in on one (or two at the most) to add to your description of what your company does.
Mission Statement Examples
Here's what the first three examples from step one might look like when you add values to them.
My company's purpose is to:
- Sell shoes of the highest quality.
- Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success.
- Grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices.
Remember, these are not finished yet. There's one step to go before your mission statement is complete.
Add Why Your Company Does What It Does
This is the part of your mission statement that describes your spark—the passion behind your business.
Why does your business do what it does? For some people, it helps to think back on why they started their business in the first place.
Mission Statement Examples
This is what our three mission statement examples might look like when you add "why" to them:
My company's purpose is to:
- Sell shoes of the highest quality so every customer can find a pair of shoes they actually love to wear.
- Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community.
- Grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices.
When you're finished, have another look at your mission statement and see if it captures what you want to say or if there's a better way of phrasing it. Be sure to change the phrase "my company's purpose" to the name of your company.
"My company's purpose is to grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices,"
"At Earth's Bounty, we grow market vegetables in a way that's good for the earth and good for the table."
And, "Our company's purpose is to provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community,"
could be better phrased as:
"Our company, Hopscotch Learning, exists to provide educational services that allow all children to experience success in learning and success in life."
Put Your New Mission Statement to Work
Once you've crafted your business's new mission statement, you'll want to put it to work right away.
Besides directing your business planning, you want your mission statement to be front and center in the minds of everyone who works in or interacts with your business. As the statement of why your business exists, it also explains to them why they would want to do business with you.
Some businesses go so far as to make their mission statements the themes of their advertising campaigns. If you do nothing else, you should make sure your mission statement is highly visible on your business premises, website, and all your marketing materials.
A good mission statement isn't just a slogan; it's the foundation of your operations manual—and it can't provide guidance if people aren't familiar with it.
Besides having mission statements to communicate who they are and what they do, successful small businesses also have vision statements to describe their ultimate achievements. You can follow a similar process to create your own vision statement.
Examples of Famous Mission Statements
Virgin Airways: "Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways. to embrace the human spirit and let it fly."
Tesla: "Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."
Facebook: "Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them."
Starbucks: "To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."
Imagine going to work each day, full of purpose and conviction. You strongly believe in your organization’s values, and you are passionately committed to its mission.
Because you understand the good that your organization does in the world, you love what you do. You’re happy to come into the office, and you put your heart and soul into your work, because you know it matters.
People can be genuinely inspired if their organization has a compelling vision and a clear, worthwhile mission; and these can be powerfully expressed in well-crafted mission and vision statements.
Click here to view a transcript of this video.
These statements can be highly motivating when they are expressed clearly and with intent, and when they are communicated effectively to everyone in your organization. They also express your organization’s purpose to customers, suppliers and the media, on whom they can have the same effect.
In this article, we’ll explore how to create motivating mission and vision statements.
Mission and Vision Statements Explained
These statements are the words leaders use to explain an organization’s purpose and direction. When expressed clearly and concisely, they can motivate your team, or the organization as a whole, with an inspiring vision of the future.
The two statements do distinctly different jobs:
Mission statements define your organization’s purpose and its primary objectives. They are set in the present tense, and explain why you exist as a business, both to members of your organization and to people outside it. Mission statements tend to be short, clear and powerful.
Vision statements also define your organization’s purpose, but they focus on its goals and aspirations. These statements are designed to be uplifting and inspiring. They’re also timeless: even if the organization changes its strategy, the vision will often stay the same.
Usually, people write these statements for an organization, or for an organizational unit or a team. You can also create statements to define the goals of long-term projects or initiatives.
Some examples of Mission Statements are shown below:
(pharmaceuticals) – “To discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.” (drugstores) – “Champion the health and well-being of every community in America.” (sportswear) – “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” (chemicals) – “Become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable Materials Science Company in the world. (online retail) – “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”
Some examples of Vision Statements are shown below:
(retail) – “Be the global leader in convenient foods and beverages by winning with purpose.” (nonprofit) – “Our vision is a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.” (retail) – “To create a better everyday life for the many people – for customers, but also for our co-workers and the people who work at our suppliers.” (nonprofit) – “The vision of the ASPCA is that the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness.”
These examples are concise, focused and inspiring. Do everything you can to make your statements similarly succinct – long, rambling statements can be difficult to decipher and lead to confusion.
How to Create a Mission Statement
To develop your mission statement, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Develop Your Winning Idea
First, identify your organization’s “winning idea,” or unique selling proposition (USP). This is the idea or approach that makes your organization stand out from its competitors, and it is the reason that customers come to you and not your competitors.
Developing a “winning idea” is a core goal of business strategy , and it can take a lot of effort to find, shape, test, and refine. To start, see our articles on USP Analysis , SWOT Analysis and Core Competence Analysis .
Step 2: Clarify Your Goal
Next, make a short list of the most important measures of success for your winning idea.
For instance, if it is to create cutting-edge products in a particular industry, how will you know when you’ve accomplished this goal? If your idea is to provide excellent customer service, what key performance indicator will let you know that your customers are truly satisfied?
You don’t have to include exact figures here, but it’s important to have a general idea of what success looks like, so that you know when you’ve achieved it.
Combine your winning idea and success measures into a general, but measurable goal . Refine the words until you have a concise statement that expresses your ideas, measures and a desired result.
Keep this statement in the present tense, and make sure it is short, simple , clear, and free of jargon . Yes, the language needs to be inspiring, but don’t include adjectives just so it “sounds better.”
Produce store Farm Fresh Produce’s winning idea is to “provide farm freshness.” The owner identifies two key measures of the company’s success: freshness and customer satisfaction. She creates the following mission statement, which combines the winning idea and her measures of success:
“To be the number one produce store in Main Town by selling the highest quality, freshest farm produce directly from farm to customer, with high customer satisfaction.”
Carl has just become the leader of a new team. The team will focus on one key project: streamlining the organization’s internal databases, so that the entire system runs smoothly and without problems.
With this in mind, Carl creates a mission statement to guide his team’s understanding of their purpose:
“Our team’s goal is to streamline our organization’s database management system within 12 months. We will develop a new system that is easy to use and reduces the frequency of user errors.”
How to Create a Vision Statement
Step 1: Find the Human Value in Your Work
First, identify your organization’s mission. Then uncover the real, human value in that mission. For example, how does your organization improve people’s lives? How do you make the world a better place?
Our articles on working with purpose and The Triple Bottom Line include tips that you can use to find the deeper meaning in what you do.
Step 2: Distill Into Values
Next, identify what you, your customers and other stakeholders value the most about how your organization will achieve this mission. Distill these into values that your organization has, or should have.
Some examples of values include excellence, integrity, teamwork, originality, equality, honesty, freedom, service, and strength.
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Mission, vision and values statements serve as the foundation for an organization’s strategic plan. They convey the purpose, direction and underlying values of the organization. When developed and implemented in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, these statements can serve as powerful tools that provide organizations with meaningful guidance, especially under times of rapid change. Consequently, taking the time to craft relevant mission, vision and value statements should be carefully considered.
The mission statement defines an organization’s purpose or reason for being. It guides the day-to-day operations of the organization, communicates to external stakeholders the core solutions the organization provides in society and motivates employees toward a common near-to-medium term goal. In short, the mission statement paints a picture of who the company is and what the company does.
A good mission statement should only focus on what is most important to the organization. It should be brief, clear, informative, simple and direct. It should avoid elaborate language, clichés, and generalizations and it should emphasize outcomes and the people the organization is serving.
When writing a mission statement, consider the following questions:
- What do we do today?
- Who do we serve?
- What are we trying to accomplish?
- What impact do we want to achieve?
- LinkedIn: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
- Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
- Twitter: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information, instantly, without barriers.
- TripAdvisor: To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.
- Tesla: To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
- Sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
The vision statement describes the future of the organization. It reveals what the company aspires to be or hopes to achieve in the long-term. The vision statement is inspirational and motivational but also provides direction, mapping out where the organization is headed. In this regard, it serves as a guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
An effective vision statement should be concise, unambiguous, futuristic, realistic, aspirational and inspirational. It shouldn’t be generic but rather focus on outcomes specific to the organization.
When writing a vision statement, consider these questions:
- Where are we going moving forward?
- What do we want to achieve in the future?
- What kind of future society do we envision?
- LinkedIn: To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
- GoDaddy: To radically shift the global economy toward independent entrepreneurial ventures.
- Wikimedia Foundation: Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.
- Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
- SouthwestAirlines: To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
The values statement highlights an organization’s core principles and philosophical ideals. It is used to both inform and guide the decisions and behaviors of the people inside the organization and signal to external stakeholders what’s important to the company. An organization’s core values shape daily culture and establish standards of conduct against which actions and decisions can be assessed.
A values statement should be memorable, actionable and timeless. The format of the values statement depends on the organizations; some organizations use one, two or three words to describe their core values while others provide a short phrase.
When drafting a values statement, some questions to consider include:
- What do we stand for?
- What behaviors do we value over all else?
- How will we conduct our activities to achieve our mission and vision?
- How do we treat members of our own organization and community?
- Ownership mentality.
- Don’t optimize for the short term.
- We are all builders.
- Go the extra mile.
- Do what’s right.
- Be transparent.
- We commit to our craft.
- We minimize waste.
- We embrace differences.
- We dig deeper.
- We lead with optimism.
The mission, vision, and values statements are the guiding forces behind an organization. The mission statement communicates the purpose of the organization. The vision statement provides insight into what the company hopes to achieve or become in the future. The values statement reflects the organization’s core principles and ethics. Together, these statements provide strategic direction for an organization, informing current and future business strategies.
Learn how Bâton Global supports organizations in building lasting and impactful core commitments here.
Download 100 Examples
Interested in viewing examples from other organizations? Download our collection of of 100 mission, vision, and value statements below:
There's an art and science to writing core purposes statements and Bâton Global has helped numerous organizations worldwide write their winning statements. Complete the quote request below if you would like a proposal on how we can assist you.
Other Helpful Resources
William A. Nelson & Paul B. Gardent, March/April 2011, "Organizational values statements," Healthcare Executive, 56-59.
Edward L. Powers, 2012, "Organizational mission statement guidelines revisited," International Journal of Management & Information Systems, 16(4), 281-290.
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Learn what makes a Mission Statement unique, and how to write one. Includes frequently asked questions about Mission Statements.
Updated on March 4th, 2022
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A mission statement is a brief description of why a company exists. It states the goal of the organization and describes the nature of the product or service. Every company should have a mission statement to show its purpose. In order to reveal the goals of an organization, the mission statement should articulate what the business does, how it operates, and why the business does what it does.
Mission Statement Template – Free Download
Download our Mission Statement Template in Microsoft Word format.
How to Write a Mission Statement:
1. Define your business’s purpose.
It’s crucial for a business to share the value of its products or services. In this step, describe what the company does for its customers, discuss the problems it solves or the needs or wants it fulfills, and how it does this.
“The purpose of my business is to provide accounting services to customers in remote areas through our reliable video conferencing and secure file sharing solutions.”
This example includes what the business offers, describes its value, and mentions a problem and how the business can solve it.
2. State what the company does for its employees.
A mission statement must incorporate what the business offers to its employees. This step includes a brief outlook of the qualities and culture of the company. Depending on the type of company you have, your company could provide multiple products or services. However, because mission statements are very brief, only include 1-3 qualities.
“At [company name], we ensure our employees have access to fair compensation, creative workspaces that encourage teamwork, and a wide variety of growth opportunities.”
This example mentions at least three qualities or opportunities provided by the company.
In the foundational stages of company creation, most organizations spend a good deal of time crafting a mission statement. This succinct statement condenses the business's values and goals into a quick, easy-to-understand paragraph. Knowing how to write and evaluate an effective mission statement can be a valuable skill as you move into leadership roles. In this article, we describe what a mission statement is, explain how to write a mission statement, offer a mission statement template and share several mission statement examples.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a short, usually sentence- or paragraph-length message that explains the company's purpose and primary driver. Mission statements can take a variety of forms and share additional information, like how the company accomplishes its stated purpose. Usually, you can find a company's mission statement included in its business plan, specifically as a part of the executive summary. In today's technological age, most companies also post their mission statement on their website for any internal or external stakeholders to read and review.
How to write a mission statement
Mission statements convey important information about the company and its goals to the people who work for the organization, the investors or donors who help fund the business and the customers who purchase the company's products or services. Follow these steps to learn how to write a direct and concise mission statement:
1. Answer key questions
Before you can write an effective mission statement, you need to know a few substantive facts about your company. Mission statements explain the purpose of your organization to internal and external stakeholders, so establish a thorough and clear purpose by answering these questions:
What does our company do?
What does our company make or create?
Why does our company matter?
Who does our company matter to?
How does our company make a difference in the community?
2. Shape your answers
Review your answers from Step 1. These will make up the foundation of your mission statement. Look for overlapping ideas and consistent themes. This is a great time to invite other members of your organization to assist by brainstorming meaningful phrases or ideas based on your company's core values and purpose. Amass several words, phrases and sentences to consider as part of your mission statement.
3. Consider the language
Look at the results of your brainstorming exercise from Step 2. Highlight or mark the ideas, words and phrases that best explain your company's purpose. Seek input from others and consider voting on the favorite language choices of the group. Use this time to cull your brainstorming work down to a few all-encompassing ideas you can use in your actual mission statement.
4. Write a draft
Take the top contending words, phrases and ideas from Step 3 and use them to craft a cohesive mission statement. It's often useful to review other company's mission statements to see how they're structured and what you might like to replicate in yours. There are also several mission statement templates available to help you shape your mission statement on your own.
5. Ask for feedback
Once you've completed the first draft, share it with your colleagues and other internal stakeholders for notes. Use their feedback to help make your mission statement as concise and coherent as possible. This process of drafting and editing may take a bit of time, but since you'll use your mission statement for a variety of purposes, like seeking investors and engaging with customers, it's worth taking the time to ensure it's ideally worded.
6. Update and share
Once you've arrived at the ideal mission statement for your organization, update any materials on which you plan to publish the statement and share it widely. In addition to including the mission statement in your business plan or investment-seeking materials, add it to your website for customers to read and to your employee handbook for all internal stakeholders to see.
Template of a mission statement
Mission statements can be anywhere from a single sentence to a short paragraph. While there's no singular template for every organization's mission statement, this template is a great starting point for most businesses. Use it to establish your first draft and then edit and adjust to best represent your organization from there:
[ Company name ] 's mission is to [ primary purpose ] by [ how company achieves purpose ] .
Mission statement examples
It's often easiest to see how mission statements work by reviewing examples. Consider these fictional examples to help you better see how you can structure and present your own mission statement:
Polly's Playhouse is a toy store that specializes in producing locally made dolls and accessories. Here's the company's mission statement:
Polly's Playhouse's mission is to support local artisans and our local community of children by offering dolls, accessories and toys made from materials in our area and that represent our diverse backgrounds.
The Mane Event
The Mane Event is a hair salon that offers hair services for men, women and children. Here's the company's mission statement:
The Mane Event's mission is to offer high-quality hair cuts, hair coloring and hair treatments for customers of all ages. We're committed to excellence and proud of our inclusivity.
Bountiful Books is a bookstore that sells books in a brick-and-mortar store and through an online platform. Here's the company's mission statement:
Bountiful Books' mission is to ensure every man, woman and child has access to an array of reading materials to grow their minds and their perspectives. We do this by working with local organizations to provide books for low-income families and by selling online to people all over the country.
Software Solutions is a technology retailer that sells multiple types of software to consumers through an online platform. Here's its mission statement:
Software Solutions' mission is to make finding, purchasing and downloading the software you need for your personal or professional computer system easy by providing excellent customer service and helping customers understand our products.
Personal mission statements are a great New Year’s resolution. Equally important, and longer-lasting, is your company’s mission statement.
First, let’s be clear. It’s not the same as your vision statement, which is a broad view of how your company is going to leave an impact on customers and the greater community.
An effective mission statement must be a clear, concise declaration about your business strategy.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a mission statement. Every entrepreneur should write a mission statement early on because they provide you and your employees with the framework and purpose.
If you don’t have one, you need to get one. Here are four essential questions your company’s mission statement must answer:
If you have a mission statement, make sure it can answer these questions. It makes all the difference.
For example, Advance Auto Parts mission statement is: “It is the Mission of Advance Auto Parts to provide personal vehicle owners and enthusiasts with the vehicle related products and knowledge that fulfill their wants and needs at the right price. Our friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff will help inspire, educate and problem-solve for our customers.”
The company has clearly laid out the answers to those essential questions.
Most large companies don’t (especially big public companies). Their mission statements are vague and don’t say much. Avoid following that example.
Large corporations are in a different position than entrepreneurs and have a different audience.
As an entrepreneur, your company’s mission statement should be concise and specific so your customers understand your purpose and how you provide value to them.
As a quick exercise, check out this list of Fortune 500 mission statements to see which ones answer the questions that we are talking about and which ones don’t.
Here is an example of a mission statement from one of my companies, Bizilla:
“Our mission is to help connect people who want to sell a business with people who want to buy a business. We provide business owners and brokers with flexible options for listing their business online. For buyers, we offer helpful tools such as our saved listings feature and customized email alerts to make finding the right business easier.”
It’s clear and concise. The mission statement is focused on what the company does for its customers and keeps my employees focused on our objectives.
Your mission statement doesn’t have to look the same as everyone else’s. Figure out what’s important to you and your clients and go from there.
A mission statement is one of the most powerful tools you have for leading your business or organization to success. The trick is knowing how to craft the perfect one, before you start posting it around your office or on your business website. There are a few tips and tricks to nailing exactly the right wording to articulate your vision and values – to yourself, to your employees, and to your target audience. Let’s jump in and review what makes an effective mission statement and how to write one for your business or organization regardless of wether you're just starting your business or scaling. Plus, we’ve included seven excellent mission statement examples at the end for your very own inspiration.
What is a mission statement?
Let’s start with the basics. You’ve probably heard that a mission statement is the lifeblood of your business. But what really is it? A mission statement takes the ‘why’ of what you do and consolidates it into about one to two sentences (and no, a run-on sentence that’s the length of a paragraph does not qualify). This abbreviated expression of your values and purpose helps everyone who encounters your work to immediately understand what you’re all about. And it serves to remind you and your employees why you continue walking in the door each morning.
A strong mission statement will contain four key elements:
As in, readers will walk away understanding the value your works adds to the world or to their lives, feeling inspired to join your mission, convinced that your goal is achievable, and crystal clear on the nature of your business or organization. Once these four components are present, you’ve got yourself a mission statement that is dressed to impress.
Why your business needs a mission statement
The mission statement ingredients sound all well and good, but why exactly is it important for you to adopt one? There are both inward and outward-facing reasons. Internally, it acts as a guiding statement to frame all of your strategic business decisions. It’s easy to reference every time you need a reminder of the values you embody as a company, or the vision you are pursuing. Furthermore, it becomes an important contributor to workplace morale, serving up a dose of inspiration every time your declared purpose starts fading behind administrative emails and fundraising campaigns. Those are the moments when you write your mission statement down on a little sticky note and post it on your computer screen.
Externally, this expression is a critical figure in the landscape of brand identity. Readers will associate your tone and register key words you select, and values you highlight with the larger persona of your company. The mission statement, then, communicates to outsiders who you are, and what you will do to guarantee quality business to your clients. In its concise form, its task is to explain how to foster a connection with the curious minds viewing its several sentences, and explain why yours should be the right business or organization for them to choose.
How to write a mission statement for your business in 5 steps
Ask yourself three fundamental questions: What does your business do? How does it do it? And why? With the first question, evaluate your response through the lenses of your customers or beneficiaries, your employees, and – of course – yourself. When relevant, you can widen the perspectives to also define what your business does for your community, or even for the world. The exercise of answering these three questions will help you tease out your purpose, clarify the value you offer, and reconnect to your motivating passion.
Hold a brainstorming session: Either by yourself or with your team, throw around words and phrases that convey the answers you generated in the previous step. Of course, we know each of those questions could give way to an essay – sometimes even a book. Yet, here, brevity comes above all. Try instead for “snapshot words” that capture the sentiment of your business’ value and purpose. Don’t hold back here: All ideas are acceptable at this point, and you never know when a phrase that’s slightly off can spark the suggestion of the phrase that’s exactly right.
Narrow down your choices: Either through a group voting process or by soliciting the feedback of a few people you trust, whittle down the list you generated in step two. At the end of this step, you should emerge with a curated list of your favorite words and phrases that are fitting and truly reflect your brand.
Refine your words into sentences: Set aside a few hours, a quiet area, and put on your best ‘eureka moment’ playlist. It’s time to start massaging your list of chosen words and phrases into one to two complete sentences, keeping in mind all of the key elements we reviewed earlier. Check in frequently with those four criteria to ensure you’re on the right track. Finally, remember to write in the present tense. This an active proclamation of what you do – not what you hope to do someday.
Review what you’ve written: The editing stage is best done with fresh eyes, after you’ve had some time away from your first draft. Notice points where you can tighten the phrasing, or make your wording even more precise. Run through potential future developments for your business. Will the statement you’re crafting now stand the test of time and an evolving business strategy? Take care to build some of this flexibility into your final version (without losing sight of the specificity, of course). Lastly, cut out the fluff. Big words that sound fancy but don’t add much value or clarity for your readers should be directed straight to the trash can. What survives your editing annotations will be the strong, durable, and exact material that quality missions statement examples are made of.
This article was co-authored by Art Lewin. Art Lewin is an Entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. He specializes in business, sales, marketing, and real estate investing. Art is the CEO and Founder of four companies based in Los Angeles: Art Lewin Bespoke, Healthy Choice Labs, SFR Properties, and Professional Business Network (PBN). Art is known globally for his exclusive custom-made and ready-to-wear business wear designs. Some of his notable clients include royal family members, politicians, and Hollywood stars including Hugh Hefner, Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, and William Shatner.
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A mission statement distills the heart and soul of a company in an engaging, memorable paragraph or two. Your mission statement is your chance to create a compelling picture of your company for the rest of the world to see. To get started, have a brainstorming session about what you want your statement to include. Look at examples below to get a basic idea of what a mission statement looks like. Craft the statement, then ask others to help you perfect it. Read on to learn more about how to write a mission statement.
If you asked your employees what the company’s mission is right now, what would they say? More often than not, they will regurgitate a long, drawn-out paragraph full of inspirational jargon. But that leaves everyone wondering, what exactly does this mean? What is a mission statement and why is it so important?
A mission statement defines the “what,” the “who,” and the “why” of a company – generally in a punchy, purposeful and inspiring way. It serves as the roadmap for the brand promise, company core values, and vision statement. And it should, ultimately, act as a goal that every employee strives toward each day.
In this day and age, people want to interact with brands that care about consumers, the planet and their purpose in the world. To simply exist is not enough. Mission statements help define the brand and that, in turn, can drive more meaningful and profitable interactions with customers. This might sound daunting but when you reflect on the simple ‘what, who & why’ of your company, you can always find a more meaningful reason for existing. Let’s look at how to find the right mission statement by beginning with the basics.
What’s the point of the mission statement?
A mission statement should state why the company exists. Companies are founded to fill a niche, deliver a product or service, meet market demand, or create a new market with new demands.
So let’s start there! Why does your company exist? Let’s say you’re in the shoe manufacturing business. It’s apparent that your mission is to make shoes. Simple, right?
Ok, not all that inspiring, but at least it’s truthful, and a starting point. Now think about whom we deliver our products and services to. In this case, our shoe company focuses on athletic shoes for walking, running, training, hiking, and sport. Since we’ve narrowed the focus, we can be more specific with our mission.
Our mission: To make athletic shoes.
Well, we know exactly why the company exists now — to make athletic shoes. The next question that should immediately spring to mind is why our shoes are unique in the marketplace (or as we call it, your unique value proposition). The company has a broad demographic (everyone wears shoes), but this company has a unique design attribute that makes their shoes comfortable and lightweight. Also, their price is in the mid-range amongst all athletic shoes in the category. Because of the price point, they are not targeting high-performance athletes, but everyday people who value exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Now we know who we are in business to serve and what we’re delivering. Let’s update our mission.
Our Mission: To make comfortable athletic footwear for everyday athletes.
We’re getting warmer! Now let’s consider a few things that all companies go through in the course of their growth. Are we only ever going to sell shoes? Building brands is about building an idea around which consumer’s rally, a feeling that you share with your audience. Once we’ve found success in the athletic shoe market, we need to consider if we’re going to stop there. The next logical move would be to expand our focus and stretch our brand to complementary products. Ones that people who enjoy athletic shoes would also want to buy. It’s only natural to catapult off of our successes and pursue new opportunities, such as apparel and possibly even sporting goods. Maybe our mission is right for today, but does it give us the platform we need to think beyond today?
If your mission statement is about what you do today only, then you are missing an opportunity to make growth and change a part of your mission. Growth-oriented companies are constantly testing the waters of new markets and growing their offer to meet changing demographics and evolving markets. When we add this together, it’s apparent that our mission “to make comfortable athletic footwear for everyday athletes” is singular and lacks an inspirational quality or room for growth. Let’s think about how our current products and future products make our consumers feel: Inspired, athletic, fit, confident, strong, capable. These are powerful words that touch people at an emotional level, and we should focus on moving our brand to a space that inspires emotion in people. It’s how authentic brands differentiate from commodities and offer something special. Something difficult to replicate.
Let’s have one more go at the mission statement to make it more emotionally connected. One that will give us a broader platform for delivery now and in the future.
Our Mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Now that says something important, doesn’t it? It doesn’t even mention shoes; instead, it focuses on the audience we connect with. When our employees, engineers, designers, product reps, executives, and customers think about our company, they think about something different. The possibilities our products offer, the people that use them, the people we want to be. This gives us a broad platform, and a strong focus — the 2 critical elements of a mission statement.
Oh, and our fictitious shoe company? Not so fictitious after all, Nike Inc. took its first shoe order in 1964, and the rest is an inspirational story of growth, change, and success in the athletic marketplace.
Whether you work in a business or not, learning how to write a personal mission statement can benefit you. I’m not talking about a mission statement that guides your career—I mean one that is a navigational tool for life.
A personal mission statement can be your compass as you make everyday choices as well as those big decisions that affect your life’s path. Great people in the world have clear personal mission statements that help them achieve their goals and live according to their values.
Just like companies have mission statements, personal mission statements are a record of your big-picture intentions. They are both lofty yet achievable.
Let’s learn more about personal mission statements, review how to write a personal mission statement, and share some examples to get you inspired.
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice.
Table of Contents
What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission statement defines your purpose in life. It also explains your identity and values.
In essence, it’s a statement about who you are and how you will live. They are generally short—think one to three sentences.
However, the exact form and style can be customized, as you’ll see in the personal mission statement examples.
Why You Should Have a Personal Mission Statement
Your personal mission statement will serve as your guiding light as you go through life. Before you commit your time or energy to something, you can ask yourself “does this fit with my personal mission statement?” If the answer is no, then your efforts may be better spent elsewhere.
Your personal mission statement should be something you can easily remember. You can check your actions against it to see if you are living up to your own most cherished values.
As humans, I think we’re wired to wonder, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” With a personal mission statement, you’re answering those questions for yourself. Each of us has unique talents they’re bringing to the universe, but their worth cannot be fully realized unless we apply them purposefully.
Your personal mission statement can help ensure you are living as your truest self and making the impact you want to have in the world.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
Writing a personal mission statement will take some deep thinking. Take the time to get it right. Here are some questions to help you determine what to include:
- What is most important to you in life? What are you passionate about?
- How would you want others to describe you?
- What are your unique strengths?
- When you look back 30 years from now, what will you hope to have accomplished? What would you like to leave behind as your legacy? Dream big!
- What principles to you hold most dear (e.g., honesty, hard work, integrity, faith)?
Think about your answers for a while, and when you feel ready, give writing your personal mission statement a try. Don’t expect it to come out perfect on the first draft.
Work with what you wrote and see if you can boil it down even more. Strip out any extra pieces until you’re left with a concise statement that gets right to the core of who you aim to be.
Try saying it out loud to see if it feels right. Will this statement push you to be your best self? Does it feel true to you and your ideals?
While your personal mission statement is about you, remember that they often include something about others and the wider world as well. After all, the key to finding joy in life is putting others first.
Reviewing some examples can also help with writing a personal mission statement. Though each one will be highly individual, you can see how they reflect that person’s highest goal.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
The personal mission statements of some highly influential figures show you just how powerful these words can be:
Oprah Winfrey: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
Malala Yousafzai: “I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated.”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”
Walt Disney: “To make people happy.”
Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
If you’re still struggling with how to write a personal mission statement, you can try a simple formula like the ones below:
To use my [personal strengths] to [impact you want to have].
- To use my creativity and positivity to better the lives of those around me and inspire others through a quiet inner strength.
- To live a life worth writing about and to use my passion for feminism, fitness, and the written word to empower women and girls.
Because I value [personal value], I will [what you want to achieve].
- Because I value equality, I will use my activism and powerful voice to give those in need a chance at a brighter future.
- I believe learning is the greatest gift, so I will explore the world with curiosity and wonder.
Living Your Personal Mission Statement
Now that you’ve learned how to write a personal mission statement and crafted one that inspires you, it’s time to put it into action. Know it by heart and write it somewhere where you’ll see it often, like the first page of your journal or day planner.
Try to think about your personal mission statement frequently and give yourself self-assessments. Are your actions measuring up? Are you putting your time and energy where it matters most?
We all have some daily activities we have to do to get along in life that don’t necessarily contribute to achieving our ultimate goals. But when you think big picture, are you headed in a direction that aligns with where you want to go?
If you need to make some change in your life, know that it can take time. Give yourself some grace and value progress over perfection.
Your personal mission statement might need refining or revision over time if you realize your long-term goals have changed.
Now that you’ve mastered how to write a personal mission statement, you could also write a mission statement for your career or family. These more specific mission statements can help guide those areas of your life.
A family mission statement is like the mission state of an organization where all members work collectively to uphold the family values and achieve a common goal.
I hope you find writing a personal mission statement to be a worthwhile experience that can serve you for years to come. Share your mission with people in your life to hold yourself accountable and inspire others.