While all businesses have the same goal—to make a profit—each business has a different mission. One entrepreneur might want their business to enlighten and educate their customers. Another might want to provide the most joyful customer experience possible. To keep a business on track with its mission, business owners will often write a mission statement that concisely states the company’s purpose.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement clarifies an organization’s purpose for existing, what it wants to accomplish, and its core values. A good mission statement is short, ranging between one and three sentences long to a few paragraphs, and distills the operating principles that guide the organization’s actions.
While it’s not mandatory to have a mission statement, many business owners find it helpful to write and keep a strong mission statement on hand to help steer the business when opportunities or challenges arise. Additionally, a mission statement can help employees understand company values and a company’s culture, as well as explain these to potential customers, board members, and investors.
Businesses often post their mission statement on their websites under “Mission” or fold them into the “Our story” section. However, you can also choose to keep your mission statement within the confines of the company; each business owner can decide for themselves who the internal and external audience of their company’s mission statement will be.
How to write a mission statement
- State what your company does
- Explain your goals
- Highlight why you created your business
- Define how you conduct business
- Edit for clarity
Writing a well-crafted mission statement isn’t easy: You must find a balance between explaining your philosophy and defining your goals clearly. Don’t worry, your business doesn’t have to save the world or lift the human spirit; but you do need to explain precisely what you aim to achieve and why.
1. State what your company does
To get the ball rolling, write a brief description of what your company does and who your company serves. Do you sell reusable bags online? Design websites for tech startups? Facilitate online focus groups for corporations?
2. Explain your goals
A company’s goals are often multifaceted. For example, an apparel brand may want to create a compelling shopping experience, tackle clothes waste by promoting slow fashion, and bring awareness to the environmental crisis. It can be difficult to choose which of your organization’s goals to highlight, but use this activity to define your primary and secondary goals.
3. Highlight why you created your business
Articulate why you created your business and what makes your company unique. Write down what compelled you to launch this business. Did you want to provide consumers with a product that causes no unnecessary harm? Fill a particular gap in the market? Solve a problem? Create the most compelling shopping experience possible?
4. Define how you conduct business
Next, write down your company values and your company’s reason for making certain choices to implement solutions. For example, why you might pay above average rates for locally manufactured goods versus buying cheaper goods manufactured abroad. Or you might prioritize outstanding customer service to customers who speak many different languages. This step is about the way you conduct business and how you treat partners, employees, and customers.
5. Edit for clarity
Create a concise mission statement that makes sense to your employees, partners, and target consumers. Edit for clarity and simplicity.
Keep the statement simple and realistic; your mission statement isn’t a TED talk meant to inspire humanity, and a grandiose mission statement can come across as unachievable, naïve, or pretentious. A bad mission statement can turn off potential customers, as it can read as a marketing ploy rather than a genuine statement of your core purpose.
Mission statement examples
One of the best ways to start thinking about your own mission statement is to read company mission statement examples that may resonate with you, even if the products, services, or business structures are different. Here are a few effective mission statements:
Meow Meow Tweet
The vegan personal care product company Meow Meow Tweet’s mission statement, found on the Our Values page, is clear and concise. In one sentence it states, “To create ethical and natural personal care products that are not stressful to the earth, do not harm animals, are manufactured and packaged in a positive work environment and are presented to the consumer at an accessible price point.”
Shiza Shahid, who previously co-founded The Malala Fund, created the high-quality cookware company Our Place to facilitate creating shared home-cooked global cuisine and spark conversation. The first paragraph of Our Place’s inspiring mission statement reads, “We believe in the power of home cooking to bring people together. It’s why we create products that make cooking and sharing a meal easier and more joyful. Our products are designed for how we live and celebrate making (and breaking) traditions with family: given, chosen, and found.”
Based in Italy, Velasca sells leather shoes, apparel, and accessories, geared primarily for men, made by Italian artisans using local Italian materials. Velasca’s three-sentence mission statement reflects the focus on both quality and price. Found on the bottom left of each webpage, it states, in part, that “Velasca was created to offer you artisanal quality shoes and clothing at a fair price. To be worn for a lifetime.”
Fly By Jing
Jing Gao is the founder of Fly By Jing. Her company offers Sichuan pantry staples like chili crisp and Zhong sauce to mainstream US markets. Fly By Jing has a colorful website, and a single statement found on the Our Story page that centers its founder: “Fly By Jing doesn’t conform to anyone else’s notions of value, taste, tradition. It is one person’s recipes, one person’s vision, and one person’s story. With these products, I’m telling you mine.”
Launched in 2010, Pela makes eco-friendly smartphone cases from alternative plastics. Pela’s mission statement is six sentences long, and found on the same webpage as its origin story and core values. The mission statement’s most salient two sentences read, “This is why we are developing products made of environmentally sensible materials. To educate and inspire the global community of people who are committed to making a positive impact on our planet.”
Mission statement FAQ
What are the three parts to a mission statement?
A mission statement includes what a company does, the organization’s purpose, and/or what it wants to achieve, and its values or how it wants to achieve those goals.
What is one example of a mission statement?
The outerwear company Cotopaxi has a vision, encapsulated in its mission statement. It reads, “Adventure inspires us to see the world and make it better. That’s why we build gear that fuels both outdoor experiences and global change. To achieve our mission, we dedicate at least 1% of our revenue to nonprofits that help communities experiencing poverty.”
What’s the difference between a mission statement and a company’s core values?
A mission statement distills a business’s purpose, while core values is a list of ethical values that often include integrity, sustainability, and collaboration.
What’s the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?
Mission and vision statements overlap slightly, but there is a difference. Mission statements focus on a company’s purpose and how it achieves its goals, while vision statements are an inspirational declaration. A vision statement describes the hopes for a company’s future and its long-term aims.
Can I change my mission statement?
Yes, you can change your mission statement as your company evolves, but be intentional. A frequently changing mission statement can make a business appear unmoored and unprofessional.