Do you want to learn how to write a mission statement in a few easy and effective steps? Continue reading for more!
Every company exists with a purpose. Of course, the ultimate goal of most businesses is to make money – otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to exist in the first place.
However, beyond this monetary goal, there is usually something else – in other words, what is the fundamental goal of every company? What is it trying to accomplish through its product or service?
Today, we will talk about the essence of mission statements, and we will discover how to write a mission statement in several easy and effective steps.
What is a mission statement?
Of course, before we immerse in the step by step process on how to write a mission statement, it is important to understand what exactly this is.
A mission statement is the “reason for being” of a company – why it exists, and what is the fundamental goal that it is trying to accomplish through its product or service. A great mission statement example is IKEA’s “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”.
Mission statements should be short, clear, and straightforward. Ideally, they should be able to identify the company’s products and services, define its line of business, and specify the markets it serves – as well as the future target markets.
Having said this, let’s see how to write a mission statement in a few easy and effective steps:
1. Be prepared to answer some key questions
If you want to write a mission statement that’s effective, memorable and able to stand out from the crowd, you should be prepared to answer some key questions.
Question #1: What does your company do?
First and foremost, your statement should articulate the core essence of your business. In what sector are you operating? What is your product or service? Let’s take a look at this mission statement from airline company Lufthansa:
|Lufthansa’s mission is to become a leading name in the world of air travel by being the top preference of customers and shareholders all over the world. It aims to continue playing a significant role in shaping the global aviation market as it has been doing for the past decades.|
In this statement, the company clearly defines its line of business – “air travel”, as well as the industry – “global aviation market”.
How to write a mission statement #1: Be prepared to answer some key questions
While it doesn’t explicitly say “we are an airline”, they have included enough keywords to make this clear, emphasizing on the fact that they want to become leaders in air travel by becoming the most preferred company for customers and shareholders.
Question #2: How does your company do what it does?
Next, you will need to clarify how does your company do what it does. To make it easier to understand, let’s take a look at this mission statement from The Walt Disney Company:
|“To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”|
The company has done a great job not only on stating their purpose – “to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe”, but also on explaining how – “through the power of unparalleled storytelling”, which reflects what makes them a great entertainment company.
Question #3: Why does your company do what it does?
Of course, if you want to learn how to write a mission statement that works, one of the most important questions that you should be able to answer is the why. In other words, why does your company do what it does? What is the fundamental goal, the mission behind it?
This question is the most essential one when it comes to defining your mission statement. Let’s take a look at this example from Facebook:
|“To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.“|
Their mission is simple – to put the power of building a community into people’s hands. Here is another great statement, this time from Starbucks:
|“Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.“|
They are on a mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit through the iconic coffee and coffeehouse experience they provide.
How to write a mission statement: An example from Starbucks
2. Decide the target audience of your statement
Next on our list of steps on how to write a mission statement for your business is to decide the main target audience of your statement.
Most companies choose to target it exclusively to their customers, but others decide to include shareholders and/or employees as well.
Deciding your target audience is important for taking the right approach towards your statement. While mentioning other audiences apart from your customers is optional, it helps you define your positioning.
It also shows that you think of everyone that plays a key role in your organization, and not only those who pay you money. Now, let’s take a look at some examples before moving to the next step on how to write a mission statement.
For example, Intel. The company includes everyone – customers, employees and shareholders:
|“To delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.“|
Others, such as The Coca Cola Company, has a purpose that goes even beyond that:
|To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, to create value and make a difference.|
Their mission is not only to satisfy customers, employees and shareholders, but also to make a difference and inspire happiness on a more global scale.
How to write a mission statement: An example by Intel
3. Focus on your long-term goal
Next on our list of tips on how to write a mission statement is to have a long-term vision rather than thinking just about the near future.
Keep in mind that your mission statement portrays the desired future of your organization, and should reflect your long term goals. Let’s take a look at this example from Nike:
|To expand human potential by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.|
Instead of only focusing on short to mid term goals such as increasing their market share or acquiring more customers, their long-term purpose is to create value and expand human potential through groundbreaking innovation.
Additionally, they talk about sustainability and making a positive impact in different communities. These kind of goals are only achievable over a long period of time, and with really consistent efforts along the way.
And now, let’s move on to the next step on how to write a mission statement:
4. Make a brainstorming session
If you want a practical exercise in order to learn how to write a mission statement, our next tip is to make a brainstorming session with your team, or a couple of colleagues that can contribute with their experience and creativity.
Some effective brainstorming techniques include:
- Brainwriting – a nonverbal method in which everyone writes down three ideas related to the topic, in this case the mission statement of your company. Then, each member of the team passes down their ideas to the others who will add their vision and enrich the idea.
- Rapid ideation – during this process, everyone will write down as many ideas as possible in a set amount of time. Once this time has finished, these ideas will be discussed so you can see which is the best one for the mission statement of your organization.
- Brain netting – brain netting, also known as online brainstorming, allows you to develop ideas with your team members over the Internet, for example on Slack or Zoom. You can even put togetther a Google doc so that everyone can write down your suggestions.
The main goal of having a brainstorming session is to align the whole team regarding the company’s fundamental purpose. After all, everyone should be working towards a common long-term goal, which will then be reflected on your mission statement.
Brainstorming allows you to throw in ideas associated with your company’s competitive advantage, unique selling proposition, and other essential concepts that will help you shape your statement and find the right approach for it.
5. Think about what problem your company solves
Next on our list of tips on how to write a mission statement for your organization is to think about the problem that your company solves for its customers.
Every product and service was created to make the life of its customers easier or better in one way or another, to solve an existing problem they have.
How to write a mission statement: Focus on the value that you deliver to customers
For example, travel search sites such as Skyscanner make it faster for customers to search and find the cheapest flights, saving them both time and money. IKEA has converted furniture shopping into a fun and affordable experience for everyone.
Other companies like Spotify have made listening to music more comfortable and satisfying than ever. Netflix, Amazon Prime and DisneyPlus are transforming the movie industry.
You get the idea!
For this reason, writing your mission statement starts with figuring our what problem does your company solve for your customers. How do you add value to their lives? How are you working towards making this value bigger and better every day?
For example, LinkedIn does a great job in explaining how their purpose is aligned with the value they add for professionals:
|“The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”|
They have a very clear mission in mind – to become the much needed point of connection for professionals from all over the world, helping them become more successful in their careers by providing the tools to build a powerful network.
The company aims to solve a very big problem for many people nowadays – to establish new connections and build a network. Something which is difficult in the real world where you can’t easily meet new people from your field every day.
Another mission statement that I absolutely love is this one from Shopkeep:
|“To rescue independent business owners from the nightmare of archaic POS, and replace it with something beautiful, simple, and affordable.”|
I love the way it’s worded, showing in a powerful manner how the company solves an existing problem – “to rescue” business owners “from the nightmare of archaic POS” by delivering a more simple and affordable solution.
To write a mission statement that works, you really have to think of the problem that your company solves, and how your solution adds value for your customers.
6. List the values of your organization
A huge part of your mission statement will be defining your beliefs, values, and what you stand for. So, if you really want to learn how to write a mission statement, you should start by listing your company’s values and what do you do to stand out for them.
How to write a mission statement: Think about your company’s values
Next, take out a piece of paper and write down all the values that your organization firmly stands for. Some examples include:
- Customer Service
Once you have a complete list, think about the values (or value) that are the most important for your business. What are you doing to show that you are true to your beliefs?
One great example is Calvin Klein, a company that consistently proves its belief in authenticity and individuality through their Marketing campaigns, showing diverse people that are not afraid to be themselves.
|“We strive to make a positive impact on the world. We inspire passion in our people. We embody authenticity and embrace individuality.”|
Another example that I love is this one from Sephora:
|“We believe beauty is for each person to define and ours to celebrate. Together, we support and encourage bold choices in beauty—and in life. Our purpose is to inspire fearlessness.”|
Their values are similar to the ones stated by Calvin Klein, but they are expressed differently – from the prism of diversity of beauty, and how we should celebrate it in any shape or form.
So, in order to write a mission statement that works for your business, make sure that you are reflecting your values in it.
7. Keep it short and straightforward
Next on our list of strategies on how to write a mission statement for your organization is to try to keep it short, concise, and straightforward.
How to write a mission statement: Keep it short and sweet, and make it easy to understand
Let’s be honest – nobody wants to read a long mission statement and try to figure out what it means. If you are not capable of expressing the goal of your organization in a way that’s simple and easy to understand, people won’t bother to decipher your statement.
A mission statement shouldn’t be too long. It can be as short as a single sentence, such as this one from Facebook:
|“To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”|
Or a little bit longer, such as this mission statement from Sprout Social:
|“Sprout Social is built on the idea that the world is better when businesses and customers communicate freely. We exist to help streamline and enhance these conversations.”|
Ideally, it should be between 1 and 5 sentences. Some companies dedicate a full page explaining their mission statement, but the truth is that potential customers won’t really spend a lot of time reading text that really doesn’t matter much to them.
They are on your website to decide on whether they would like to purchase a product or a service from you, not to decipher what is the fundamental goal of your organization.
So, try to make it as simple and clear as possible, as opposed to writing a full blown essay.
Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to change your mission statement
And last but not least, once you learn how to write a mission statement, you may notice that at some point it isn’t resonating with your brand anymore. Don’t be afraid to change it if you feel that it doesn’t reflect your fundamental goal after a certain period of time.
How to write a mission statement: Don’t be afraid to change it if it doesn’t resonate anymore
After all, companies are constantly evolving, changing, and transforming their businesses in one direction or another. This often means that at some point, your mission, vision and values might get misaligned.
If this happens, don’t worry, it’s completely normal, and it’s actually a good thing to re-visit your mission statement and upgrade it if needed. This way, you will make sure that your team is aligned with the company’s goals at all time.
And that was all from me for today on how to write a mission statement for your organization! Thanks for taking the time to read my article, and I hope to see you in the next one!
In the meantime, if you want to see more examples, I invite you to read my article 101 Incredible Mission Statement Examples (in 2021). You can also check my article 73 Amazing Vision Statement Examples to Spark Your Creativity for even more examples related to your brand positioning.
What about you? What do you think is the most important thing on how to write a mission statement? Let me know in the comments below!