Explaining what, how, and why is important for a company.
By Alexandra Walsh
A mission statement is helpful to small business owners in numerous ways. For one, it helps focus business efforts on the right behaviors and goals while also attracting and keeping the right employees.
A great mission statement also represents the business to the public, helping customers understand not only what the company does, but how and why it does it.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement outlines a company’s goals and position in the industry for its customers, its competitors, and other stakeholders. It also helps the business to focus and stay on track to make the right decisions about its future.
The mission statement helps clarify a company’s purpose. With a mission statement, a company’s customers can be assured that the company remains fully committed to achieving its goals and maintaining its values.
It is also useful to guide and motivate employees, keeping them in line with the company’s values. The right wording for a mission statement can inspire and nurture employees, unifying them around a single purpose.
A mission statement can spread ideas among potential customers about why the company exists and how it could impact their lives, thus strengthening your brand identity. A mission statement adds validity to an organization. From the outside looking in, a mission statement demonstrates that a company has considered the big picture and the major goals it wants to accomplish. It demonstrates thoughtful leadership, a good reputation, and a source of inspiration to potential customers or employees.
It can guide business planning. Most mission statements include an executive summary, a high-level explanation of your company—what it does, its goals, and how it will achieve them. This portion should be a quick read, so your mission statement is a perfect way to kick it off.
It keeps you, your company leaders, and your employees on track to set and meet the right goals and take the right paths forward.
Drafting a Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement for your company can be a simple, three-step process. While crafting mission statements sounds like an easy process, make sure to give it some real thought. What separates a good mission statement from a great mission statement is its clarity and brevity. Everyone should be able to read it quickly and understand it easily.
A mission statement starts with three main questions: What? How? Why?
Before you delve into answering those questions, keep in mind once again that the best mission statements are short and written in a clear style. While it may be difficult to narrow down the focus of your company to a single statement, here are some tips to help you write a good mission statement.
First, outline what your company does and the services you provide to your customers.
Next, describe how your company does what it does. Rather than being too technical, think of what values go into the core of your business. Maybe you value product quality, customer service, or your company being sustainable over time. These are key points to outline in your mission statement.
Finally, include why you do what you do in your mission statement. This is the key. It helps you stand out as a business, highlighting what sets you apart from other companies in your industry. Once again, don’t forget to keep the mission statement short and to the point.
Displaying a Mission Statement
Once a mission statement is crafted, it’s up to the company to make it publicly known. A mission statement only holds value if it is shared with present and potential customers, vendors, or employees.
A mission statement should always be found somewhere on a company’s website. Because a company’s mission statement is often short, it should be easy to incorporate into marketing materials and used in marketing documents. Also, a mission statement can be incorporated as part of a company’s standard email signature.
A mission statement is also a perfect customer service or sales pitch that key people in your company should know. Because it’s so brief, it’s easy to memorize. It’s a perfect introduction for someone who has never heard of your company or wants to know more.
Whether it’s at an industry event, a social gathering, or on public transportation, a mission statement is an easy way to captivate a stranger’s (or potential customer or employee’s) interest in your company.
A company’s mission is its identity, and its vision is doing all it can to accomplish its mission. A company should take as long as it needs to craft the right statement to describe its mission.
Alexandra Walsh is the vice president of Association Vision, a Washington, D.C.–area communications company. She has extensive experience in management positions with a range of organizations.