Why Is a Mission Statement so Important?
Knowing why a mission statement is important to a company involves understanding what a mission statement is in the first place.
We are really drawn to the following definition of a mission statement:
“A statement used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being.”
A good mission statement forces simplicity.
It forces an owner or group of company leaders to truly think through what the business does, why it exists, what its values and culture are, and what makes it distinct.
An effective mission statement should be a powerful message to customers and clients and also to employees.
Internally, for current employees, a mission statement should have value. It should evoke an emotional response and serve as a reminder of how employees contribute to the larger company. It should be realistic and help align day-to-day productivity and focus.
Many project leaders connect milestones to how they directly impact the company’s greater mission. Employees disconnected from the mission statement or who don’t understand how it relates to their day-to-day activities are often not invested and less productive. Mission statements are action statements. They should inspire and promote action in the workplace.
Externally, a mission statement should speak to customers and clients and also to sponsors, investors, volunteers, and even prospective employees on the job hunt. A mission statement is a direct reflection of a company’s brand—it shows identity and allows a deeper connection to people’s lives and values.
Many job seekers, for example, look to a company’s mission statement as a way to find out if they are suited to a position. They want to understand what the company stands for and be inspired to work for the company.
For customers, clients, and external partners, a mission statement should evoke enthusiasm and an authentic relationship with the business. A well-thought-out and intentional mission statement connects directly to customers’ loyalty—and to the company’s bottom line as well.
Tips & Best Practices
If a mission statement is so important, it might be nice to hear some advice on how to write a mission statement. In our opinion, the best mission statements are short, clear, inspiring, distinct, attainable (not “pie in the sky”), and credible. A mission statement is a chance to summarize what a company is, what it does, and what it believes in by using a single sentence or two.
The non-profit, TED, provides one of the best purpose mission statement examples: “Spread ideas.”
These two words check off all the main mission statement guidelines:
- Explain the product or service
- Identifyt he core values of the company
- Explain who / what / why concisely
- Leave room for growth
- Inspire action
- Are clear
We also really like the mission statement of clothing and lifestyle brand Life is Good: “To spread the power of optimism.”
Another important tip, when you think through a good mission statement, understand the differences between a mission statement and a company’s vision statement, motto, and core values. These are four different things, and they have their own purposes.
A vision statement is future thinking. It’s aspirational and meant to guide the direction of a company. When new products or goals are discussed, a vision statement should be consulted to ensure alignment.
A motto is a slogan; it’s a catchy phrase or tagline.
A set of core values is a list of a company’s principles that express the philosophy by which that company serves its employees but also its customers and the larger community of which it is part.
See if you can highlight the differences between Apple’s mission statement, vision statement, motto, and core values.
Mission Statement: “To bring the best user experience to [its] customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.”
Vision Statement: “To make the best products on Earth and to leave the world better than we found it.”
Motto: “Think Different”
- Inclusion and Diversity
- Racial Equity and Justice
- Supplier Responsibility
Examples for Inspiration
Any company, big or small, can have a mission statement. It’s a necessary exercise during the inception of a business, and it’s something that should be revisited frequently throughout the lifespan of a company. It should be discussed with employees and should be a key component of onboarding.
A mission statement can be adjusted or changed, especially if the future prospects or path of a company are different from when it started. A mission statement is meant to be current.
Plenty of businesses have amazing mission statements, but many not-so-good mission statements remain. And some companies don’t have mission statements.
A mission statement can make a company more legitimate and authentic. It shows purpose and intention. A few words can speak volumes about a company and can spark interest and inspiration…or not.
Here are a few companies with good mission statements for your own inspiration:
- Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
- LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
- Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”