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How to Write a Mission Statement

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is short description of a business’ purpose. A mission statement is usually a phrase or one or two sentences that emphasize values that drive the business. It may be customer-oriented or product-oriented and focuses on purposes rather than goals.

Sample business mission statements

“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google

Google’s mission statement is customer-oriented and directs employees to focus on accessibility and usefulness of all it’s products, and it lets consumers know what to expect from Google services. Speaking as a web designer, I can tell you that Google really does emphasize accessibility and usefulness in its search results, and uses its power to positively influence designers to create products that are useable by and useful for everyone.

“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”

Apple, Inc.

Apple’s vision is broad and product-oriented. Apple says it is focused on providing physical tools to help humanity advance. This broad statement allows for almost unlimited expansion of product line and vision by employees and customers.

“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the [sic] many people.”

IKEA

Ikea is focused on “the many people”, and its customer-oriented statement guides it in directing employees to developing products that enhance everyday life. The simplicity of this message helps IKEA focus on providing products that are affordable for everyone.

“The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has stated a clear, customer-oriented purpose of alleviating human suffering during emergencies by mobilizing volunteers and donors. Its mission statement includes emotive words like suffering, power, and generosity to convey urgency of purpose.

Why do businesses need a mission statement?

A mission statement can help businesses focus on their core purposes without straying into areas that aren’t part of their purpose. A clear values-oriented statement can help consumers know what type of service to expect from a business and how those services will be rendered ethically-speaking. For example, if an executive at the American Red Cross were to suggest the organization begin selling internet services in impoverished countries, a responsible person would ask if selling internet services fits into their mission of providing services during emergencies through volunteers and donor generosity.

Be Realistic

Your mission statement explains what’s special about your business, but it must also be realistic in order to serve as an effective guide for business decisions. For example, a business owner may want to become a world leader in the orthopedic shoe business, but a realistic mission statement would be “to provide comfortable, supportive orthopedic footwear”. This short statement provides an ethical purpose without limiting the company to a small geographic area or demanding more than is possible at first.

3 Mission Statement Writing Tips

There are many schools of thought on how to go about creating the perfect mission statement, but there are some clear do’s and don’t’s to consider.

  1. Be concise. Sum up the company’s mission in just a few sentences.
  2. Think about values, not goals. What motivates you to keep trying even if your company never turns a profit?
  3. Think long-term. Keep your mission statement realistic and broad enough to accommodate future growth.

A mission statement is short description of a business’ purpose that guides the actions of the employees and attracts like-minded customers by explaining how the company intends to accomplish its purposes ethically.

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