What makes a good mission statement?
This is a question almost every business will struggle with at some point. Getting it right can make or break your company, as it tells your customers and investors who you are and what you stand for, as well as providing a guideline for your business with clear goals.
These action-based statements are key for any successful business, incorporating your core values while reflecting the brand’s personality. It gives you, your employees, your investors, and your customers something to believe in and aim towards with every decision.
A great mission statement will stand out in the minds of your customers, setting you apart from the competition and showcasing how your values match theirs. This is your purpose: so it’s essential to get it right.
What is a mission statement?
Before you can go ahead with crafting the perfect mission statement, you need to understand precisely what a mission statement is.
A company’s mission statement should clearly define your brand’s purpose, core function, and goals. In other words, it tells the world who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you do it differently. All in a few words.
But a mission statement can also go further than this. It can help guide your business decisions to ensure you stick to your values and goals. In this way, your company’s mission statement becomes a guideline by which your business should operate… Everything you do should work towards your mission statement.
A good business mission statement should be between one and three sentences and never exceeds 100 words. This means they’re a little longer than most company slogans, but they’re still short, catchy, action-focused statements that encapsulate what your business does and what its values are.
What is the difference between a mission statement and a value proposition?
Mission or vision statements and value propositions can appear incredibly similar at first glance. They both reflect what your company does, its values, and its goals. However, they are different, and it’s vital to have a clear, distinct mission and value statement within your business.
While a value proposition defines the benefit you provide to your customers and how you do it uniquely well, a mission statement looks more towards your brand’s cause and values.
An excellent way to think about how these two aspects work together is that your mission statement should act as a roadmap to your vision statement… Telling the world what you want to achieve as a brand and how you will achieve it.
How to write a great mission statement
When it comes to creating a company mission statement, there are a plethora of aspects to consider. Not only should your mission statement explain who you are and why you do what you do, but it should do this in as few words as possible. So, getting the balance between information and conciseness can be a challenge.
To get you started on how to write a strong mission statement, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions?
- What does your business do?
- Why are you in business? What are your goals?
- Who are your customers?
- What makes your business stand out from the competition?
- What’s the public image of your brand, and what would you like it to be?
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re in business simply to make as much money as possible, this isn’t a good mission statement. Your goals should be more genuine and thorough than this: something customers and investors can relate to and believe in.
Another way to craft a strong mission statement is using the VIPS method:
- V – Value – What value does the business offer to customers, employees, and the world at large?
- I – Inspiration – Why should people want to get involved with the business (either a customer or as a professional)?
- P – Plausibility – It’s no use having a mission statement filled with wild dreams you’ll never be able to accomplish. Your mission statement should be plausible and achievable.
- S – Specifics – It’s important to tie your mission statement back to your specific business, showcasing how your actions will bring about your goals.
Once you’ve answered these questions, the next step is to cut them down into a few short sentences (no more than 100 words) that quickly summarize your company goals and mission in a way that will stand out to your customers and make your brand memorable.
30 of the best mission statement examples
Knowing the technicalities of how to write an inspiring mission statement is only half the battle. The best mission statements are memorable and stand out from the competition. A great trick for crafting an excellent mission statement is to check out other mission statement examples from small and big businesses. You might also want to see what sort of mission statements similar, successful brands have written, and what your competitor company’s mission statement is.
To get you started, we’ve collected 30 of the best and most inspiring mission statements from successful brands to give you a better idea of what makes a good mission statement.
“The idea for our new mission is: “bring the world closer together.”
“Our full mission statement is: give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. That reflects that we can’t do this ourselves, but only by empowering people to build communities and bring people together.”
2. Virgin Airways
“Today, Virgin Atlantic’s purpose is to embrace the human spirit and let it fly. This stems from our deeply rooted values - optimistic, inclusive, and adventurous. Abiding by these daily ensures we remain a ‘Business for Good,’ helping to develop as innovators and providing customers with unique experiences.
“Turning an ordinary like into an extraordinary love is one mission, with the other being ‘Change is in the Air’ - a new sustainability program which sees Virgin Atlantic working with a number of charity partners and encouraging customers to offset their carbon.”
“Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. … Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.”
Starbuck’s mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Patagonia’s previous mission statement is also worth mentioning here: “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
7. The Coca Cola Company
“Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better-shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities, and our planet.”
Slack’s mission statement is to “Make work-life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive”
Walgreens strives “To be America’s most-loved pharmacy-led health, well-being, and beauty company. Champion the health and well-being of every community in America.”
10. Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters’ mission is “to build a strong emotional bond with the customer. To do this, we must build lifestyle environments that appeal emotionally and offer fashion correct products on a timely basis.”
“Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”
“to provide outstanding service every day, one customer at a time. A further focus is provided to Nordstrom employees at all levels with this Nordstrom goal, which is also a management mission. We work hard to make decisions in the best interest of our customers and those serving them”
“We [Squarespace] exist to help people with creative ideas stand out and succeed. We create a modern platform that enables millions to build a brand, share their stories, and transact with their customers in an impactful and beautiful online presence.”.
Uber’s short and sweet mission statement is: “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion”
“Our company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
“Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter campaigns make ideas into reality. It’s where creators share new visions for creative work with the communities that will come together to fund them.”
Shopify aims to “Make commerce better for everyone.”
“Our mission is to enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.”
19. American Red Cross
“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement were born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield. The Movement endeavors in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found.”
21. Whole Foods Market
“Whole Foods Market’s mission statement is: Our purpose is to nourish people and the planet. We’re a purpose-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.”
“The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Spotify has had a few mission statements. Most recently, it’s “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.”
24. Make-A-Wish Foundation
“The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.”
IKEA’s mission is “to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
“JetBlue’s mission is to inspire humanity - both in the air and on the ground. We are committed to giving back in meaningful ways in the communities we serve and to inspire others to do the same.”
“Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.”
28. American Express
“Our Mission Is Helping Others Accomplish Theirs”
Nike’s mission is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete”
30. Doctors Without Borders
“Our mission is to provide lifesaving medical care to those most in need.”
Characteristics of a compelling mission statement
When looking at some of the best company mission statements out there, you’ll notice that there’s a significant amount of variation between the brands.
For example, TED’s “spread ideas” mission statement summarizes what the brand is all about in just two words. In contrast, brands like American Red Cross or Nordstrom have a much longer mission statement that details what the business stands for.
Facebook has even broken its mission statement into two parts; the first is a short phrase that almost feels like a slogan. The second is a more comprehensive statement providing more detail about how they’ll achieve their goals.
But while powerful mission statements can vary in length, you’ll notice they all clearly state the brand’s goals and give you a reason to want to interact with them. From charities like Make-A-Wish to financial service providers such as American Express, every company on our list offers a benefit to their customers, investors, and/or the world at large… Making them stand out for all the right reasons.
Mission statement dos and don’ts
Once you’ve figured out your company’s mission/goals, checked out some motivational mission statements from other successful businesses, and picked your common themes, you’re nearly ready to write a powerful mission statement yourself.
But before you start writing your company mission statement, consider the following dos and don’ts:
Keep it short, sweet, and summed up.
Stick with a maximum of three sentences and 100 words – but the shorter, the better!
Think long-term. A mission statement is an investment in the company’s future, so be sure to consider your long-term goals and the business’s changing needs.
Find out what your employees’ opinions of your company’s mission statement are and take their feedback to heart. Ask them what they like/dislike about it.
Edit your mission statement as required, particularly when crafting it, to ensure it’s precisely what it needs to be.
Write an essay. Long prose is rarely memorable, and customers won’t be interested in what you have to say if it’s too long.
Make it too limited. For example, if your mission statement only mentions residents of your hometown, your mission statement will no longer reflect your values if you decide to expand the business.
Be afraid to change your mission statement. If your mission statement no longer reflects the values or goals of your business, change it!
Our final piece of advice for writing a mission statement is to ensure it’s achievable. There should be a potential point when you can say “mission accomplished” and develop a new mission statement or a new goal for your business.
Remember to consider what sets your company apart from the competition and what makes you unique. After all, customers want to engage with brands that share their values… So, what do you value? What are you doing about it? And how are you going to communicate it to your audience?
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is usually one to three sentences summarizing a company’s goals and overall mission. It should tell others who you are, what you do, and why you’re doing it.
How long should a mission statement be?
A powerful mission statement tends to be as short as possible while also providing information about your business for potential customers, investors, or even employees. At the most, a mission statement should never be more than 100 words.
What’s a great example of a mission statement?
One of the best mission statements we’ve found is Amazon’s: “Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.”
This mission statement is great because it’s able to communicate the brand’s values and commitment to its customers and employees. It provides a quality roadmap that should influence every decision made by the business and lets others know what’s important to it. And it does this in one sentence.
How is a mission statement different from a vision statement?
A vision statement or value proposition clearly outlines the benefit you provide to your customers and how you do it uniquely well. This involves focusing on customer pain points and how you solve them.
On the other hand, a mission statement is more of an actional statement that explains how your brand works to benefit others and what’s important to you as a business. It should inspire others to act and influence every business decision you make.
We like to think of them this way: your value proposition is the end-goal, your mission statement is how you’re going to achieve that goal.