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Why A Mission Statement Takes Your Business To The Next Level – How To Write Yours
When you are trying to build a brand and place it strategically into the market, there are key foundation pieces that your business should establish first: your mission statement, your vision statement, and your core values. These are core elements of your brand’s identity and have multiple benefits to any business, and especially a new business. This article is going to look at what a mission statement is, how it helps your business to have one, and how to write one that will best suit your biz.
What exactly is a Mission Statement in business terms?
A mission statement is a specific statement that identifies what your organization’s or business’ current activities and purpose is.
What is your business doing, right now, through its everyday operations, and why is it important? How does your business make a difference, specifically?
Your mission statement should summarize this in one clear sentence.
Sounds simple, right? But sometimes it can tough to write something that seems so easy.
Many business owners find themselves freezing up or getting flustered because this sentence is so powerful. They are supposed to symbolize the mission of your entire business, after all. And most businesses develop their tagline from their mission statement, adding even more pressure to create a powerful one.
But a few guidelines can help make writing a mission statement much easier and give your business the leverage it needs to make a grand entrance into the world.
What is the difference between a mission statement and a tagline?
This is a great question because even with a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner, I didn’t really get the difference until I learned it in grad school!
They are such similar statements with pretty much the exact same meaning… but it’s the purpose that makes ALL the difference.
A mission statement is developed for business purposes.
First and foremost, you would put your mission statement on your website to help establish your brand identity and attract the right audience.
You would also want to include it when appealing to investors or completing a business plan. You would discuss it when interviewing and hiring, looking for business partners, teaming up with vendors or affiliates, or any other time other people become involved with your business, to make sure everyone you work with is aligned with your business’ plans.
A tagline, on the other hand, is used for marketing purposes.
It is often very similar to your mission statement, but the tagline is written to attract clients, customers, or your general audience. It is often catchy and powerfully worded, but also short and easy to remember. Your tagline would typically be included in your advertising material and social media marketing.
Why should I write a mission statement for my business?
Okay, so now that we’ve established what the mission statement is, and what it’s used for, let’s talk really quickly about the BENEFITS of having a well-written mission statement.
There are 3 main benefits to having (and using) a mission statement for your business:
1. A mission statement can help you create a strategic plan and align your goals with the purpose of your business.
Once you have identified your goals, you can then create a vision statement and level your business up even further. (See our article about why a vision statement is important here.)
2. A well-written mission statement is used to attract the right audience. If your business sells home movie equipment, you want to create a mission statement that will attract avid movie fans.
REI, which sells outdoor activity gear, for example, does an excellent job at using their mission statement to show that helping people truly enjoy the outdoors is their top priority as a business.
The mission statement is an opportunity to set your business apart from the competition.
3. A mission statement is also an important tool for helping your employees to work together towards the business’ goals, and to help make sure your values are aligned with the other people your business works with, from vendors and clients to managers and influencers.
This is all part of your brand identity- i.e. how others see your business. This affects how others interact with your business and can affect the success of your business overall.
So now that you’ve got the basics down on what a mission statement is and why your business needs one, let’s talk about how to actually write one that will totally rock for your biz.
How to write an amazing mission statement for your business:
Most mission statements encompass (or at least align with) a business’ core values. This helps to ensure that the business is moving in the right direction.
In fact, many businesses write their core values FIRST, before establishing any other statements, advertising, or copywriting for their business.
We have a helpful guide to writing your core values here, if you don’t have yours figured out quite yet.
Once you’ve established your core values, then we can move on to the next step.
Questions to ask yourself when writing a mission statement:
- What does your business do?
- Who do you serve or help?
- Which problem does your business solve?
- How does your business make the city/state/country/world a better place?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- What does success mean to your business?
Here are a few tips to get you started on writing your perfect mission:
1. K.I.S.P. (Keep it Simple and Powerful)
I know, I know, there’s like 20 different variations of the KISS acronym, but at least it’s easy to remember, right? Just keep it simple!
When you are writing your mission statement, simple can go a long way. You don’t want to write a paragraph that people will struggle to remember. One sentence, maybe two, can make a big impact.
Power tip: Using a thesaurus can help you find the best words to explain things in a concise way without losing meaning or value.
Start by writing down the goal of the business as descriptively as you can, even if you have to write two or three sentences.
Then, look at what you’ve written and start reducing it, taking out unnecessary words and making sure you don’t repeat yourself. Swap out words and keep reducing until you get something that is simple but powerful.
2. Allow room for growth
Most businesses have the same mission statement for years at a time, and often even forever. This is because they want their customers (and partners) to know that their business is still reliable, consistent, and means what they say.
It’s important for a good mission statement to allow your business to grow, even if it grows in unexpected ways.
A lot of businesses find themselves facing new opportunities or areas to expand in that they didn’t initially consider. Or sometimes they see an ability to do new things as technology and operations expand.
For example, Tesla’s mission is ‘to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.’ They may have started with electric cars, but nobody thought it was odd when they began creating solar roof panels for homeowners and sustainable energy sources for businesses, because it still fit into their mission, even though it was technically a new market for them to enter. They went from the automotive industry to the housing and commercial industries, just like that.
You want your mission statement to be vague enough to allow for growth in new markets. Having a very descriptive mission statement may prevent you from making significant sound decisions in the future.
For instance, unless you are dead set on making a call center for healthcare facilities, and ONLY healthcare facilities, you want to keep the word ‘healthcare’ out of your mission statement. This way, your business could expand to call centers for other types of businesses as well, and still stay true to the mission statement.
3. Keep it easy to understand
The purpose of the mission statement is to help your organization make decisions based on the identity of the organization. So you want the mission statement to be easily understood by those who represent the organizations. And you want the statement to be easily understood by your potential customers.
When people come to your ‘About Us’ page on your website, they should be able to clearly understand your mission.
Power Tip: Don’t use technical jargon that only industry professionals will understand. Replace it with easy to distinguish similar words so everyone can understand what your mission is.
4. Match your mission to your goals and values
Lastly, and most importantly, your mission statement should match your business goals and values.
When you go through the editing process, you can quickly get lost in technicalities and fancy wording, and find yourself straying from the main point of your business.
Once you finish writing your mission statement, go back over it and make sure it matches your business goals and values one last time.
Power tip: Ask a friend or family member to read your mission statement and then tell you what they think it means.
This is a great way to see if you’re on track, or if you got lost trying to make your point somewhere along the way.
I know this process can be frustrating to try and pinpoint. What is constricting, and what is smart? What is descriptive, but still vague? How do you know the difference?
Always go with your gut. And in case your gut is queasy, check out the mission statements of companies that inspire you and get some great ideas for your own business!
Here’s a list of amazing mission statements from 10 of the world’s most successful businesses:
Disney: To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe.
Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit- one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Youtube: To give everyone a voice and show them the world.
Scholastic: To enrich the lives of all children with the joy and power of reading.
Ikea: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Microsoft: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Facebook: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Habitat for Humanity: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Samsung: We will devote our human resources and technology to create superior products and services, thereby contributing to a better global society.
Wow. Feeling inspired, yet?
Don’t worry, you can totally do this! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any successful business. So it only makes sense that a mission statement will take some time, too, right? *wink wink*
A powerful mission statement is what sets your business or organization apart from the rest. It makes your business stand out from everyone else who does what you do.
A mission statement demonstrates your purpose, your passion, and your values.
It is the foundation of all current and future decisions made on behalf of the company.
So writing a mission statement can be a HUGE step forward toward’s establishing your brand identity and growing in the right direction.
You’ve totally got this! Just take your time, answer those questions above, and keep our four writing tips in mind as you go.
Congratulations! You’re one step closer to your best business ever. Great job!