Some people hear “mission statement” and think it only applies to nonprofits and other cause-based organizations. This simply isn’t true. Every company has a mission. Otherwise, why are you even running one? An effective mission statement can benefit any organization from charities to banks and everything in between. These tips will help you get started.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement communicates an organization’s purpose. At its core, a mission statement describes what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement is similar, but not exactly the same. A vision statement communicates the vision and future direction of an organization. It can be a useful tool for setting long term goals. Basically, a mission statement focuses on the present and a vision statement focuses on the future.
Mission Statement or Vision Statement?
Though the two are similar and sometimes used interchangeably, mission statements and vision statements serve different purposes. Which one you center in your marketing will depend on your business, but it doesn’t hurt to have both written. You could even combine the two into a comprehensive mission statement.
Why Do Businesses Need a Mission Statement?
A good mission statement serves as a framework for customers and employees alike. People care about companies’ values now more than ever, so stating your core values on your website and elsewhere in your marketing will make potential customers feel like they have something in common with you. For your team members, a mission statement gives them a jumping off point and a goal to work towards in their day-to-day work.
What Should a Mission Statement Accomplish?
Simply put, a company’s mission statement should let the public know why they exist and what makes them different from other companies, as specifically and succinctly as possible.
Finding a Balance for Your Mission Statement
A great mission statement is all about finding a balance between honest realism and high hopes. “We make high quality products” is (hopefully) true about your business, but that alone isn’t compelling. “We aim to create the best products on earth” is great energy to have, but it’s meaningless without a little background on how you plan to get there. This is why specificity is so important when crafting a mission statement.
The Key Elements of a Mission Statement
What value does your business bring to customers and employees?
What inspires you to do what you do? Why should people want to work for your business?
Keep it realistic
Tie it back to the specific goals of your business
Key Questions to Consider
What beliefs do I hold to be true?
Your core beliefs about the world around you shape the core values of your business.
What things do I truly value?
Similarly, the things you value most are likely things your company values. What are they?
Why does my organization exist?
You can take this question in a couple different directions. What need does your organization fill and what makes it the right choice to fill that need? What motivated you to start your business? What drives you (besides money) to keep doing the hard work it takes to run it? These can all inform your company’s purpose.
What action word is best for my organization?
A strong action verb gives any mission statement specificity and pizzazz. Does your organization help? Does it empower? It might even deliver, disrupt, or revolutionize.
How do I want my mission statement to be perceived?
Optics are important for marketing. To get a sense of how your mission statement lands for other people, ask people outside of your organization for honest feedback.
How will I communicate my mission statement?
Once you have a mission statement, where and how will you make it visible? Putting it front and center on your website is a great place to start. After that, decide what other marketing and corporate material you want to put it on.
What to Avoid when Writing a Mission Statement
Knowing what to do is only half the battle. This is what not to do when you’re writing a company or nonprofit mission statement.
Being too general
Specificity is the key to being compelling. If your mission statement is too vague, it won’t tell people anything important. “We help people” doesn’t tell people anything if you don’t elaborate on which specific populations you help, what you help them with, and how you help them.
Formal language or jargon
Your mission statement should be easy for the general public to understand. Littering it with insider jargon, flowery language, and meaningless buzzwords will get in the way of that. Edit your mission statement down to the most concise, straightforward version possible.
Taglines are an important part of branding your company, but don’t confuse them with your mission statement. They’re catchy, but they don’t describe the company and what they do.
Some companies put their mission statement on their website once and call it a day. Here are some other great ways to get your mission statement out to the world:
- Put it in your email signatures
- Include it in your social media bios
- Include it in advertising
- Put it on merchandise
- Say it at meetings
- End every employee training video with it
Great Mission Statement Examples
Now take inspiration from some of the best mission statements from nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies alike.
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
“We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.”
“To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
“To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
“The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
“At Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived. We believe that it’s in the wild, untamed and natural places that we find our best selves, so our purpose is to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.”
“Bright Pink is on a mission to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age.”
“To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.”
“Water.org empowers families with access to safe water and sanitation through affordable financing.”
The Coca-Cola Company
“Refresh the world. Make a difference.”
“We’re in business to save our home planet.”
“Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.”
“To unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”
“To help bring creative projects to life.”
How Sav Can Help
Sav’s mission statement is “Empowering creators to succeed online.” Whatever your mission is, we want to help you achieve it by making it inexpensive and easy to create a beautiful website. Owning a small business is hard, but building and managing your website shouldn’t be. That’s why we offer industry low domain pricing, free security, and website builder plans to fit every budget. Yes, even your small nonprofit budget. Start your free trial today to learn more.