If you can provide a brief description of the purpose behind your company, then you have created a mission statement. If you start a company, then you should have a purpose for it. Your company exists to provide some sort of service, either in the form of in-person help or a product they are trying to sell.
Definition of a Mission Statement
You can create a statement for any business, non-profit organization, government agency, or just about any other group. The mission statement should clue customers in on what your company does on a daily basis, and why they exists.
Your mission statement is not the same thing as your business plan. Your business plan explains what your company will do to turn a profit, your mission statement is the reason for wanting to turn a profit in the first place. Mission statements are explained in simple and easy to understand terms, and they can serve more than one purpose. Motivating employees to put in hard work, and reassuring investors of the long-term stability of your company are some of these purposes.
Mission vs. Vision
Make sure your don’t confuse your mission statement with your vision statement. Your mission statement puts its main focus on the present state of a company, whereas the vision statement focuses on the future of the company. Who you are as a company is answered by the mission statement; where your company would like to go is answered by the vision statement.
Functions of a Mission Statement
Your statement should help employees stay in the present and keep focused on the tasks at hand for the company. Your mission statement also encourages employees to find creative solutions and maintain their focus on achieving the company goals.
The different parts of the statement include: the agenda, culture, values, ethics, and fundamental goals of the company, as all these elements should be better defined with the mission statement. With better definition and clarity, these elements can be more easily communicated to the company’s stakeholders including: distributors, suppliers, shareholders, and the community, along with the employees.
Creating Your Mission Statement
To create the first draft of your mission statement, here is a step-by-step process you can follow to ensure that your message has a solid structure.
Step #1: Company Outline
Your first step should be to make an outline of the main thing your company does. Whether it’s a unique product you make or a simple service you provide for customers, make it known that this is the main reason for your business.
Step #2: Describe the “How” Behind the “What”
Your statement should try to describe how your company operates, without getting too technical. Focus on the core values of your business. Values include, but are not limited to, quality, customer service, sustainability, and fostering creativity and innovation.
Step #3: Interview Company Leaders
If you need help in describing the key features of your company, then consider interviewing leadership. What is the company’s main purpose according to them? Ask key questions like;
- What problems does our company solve, and why do we exist?
- Who are our customers, and what matters most to them?
- What is the image we want to convey to the outside world?
- What makes us stand out from our competitors?
- How are our products or services used to achieve our goals?
Step #4: Identify Common Themes
What may rise to the surface in your interviews are bits of information that can buffer your mission statement. If you can identify any common themes from your conversations, work them into short paragraphs. Take as much time as you need in order to find the right information to use. Mission statements are important in identifying your company’s key motivations.
Step #5: Always Include and Emphasize the “Why”
Throughout the mission statement, form it around why your company does what it does. Your mission statement can play a key role in establishing the identity of your company. There should be no confusion among customers or employees about your company’s goals and aspirations. If there is no emphasis placed on the “why” behind the “how” and “what”, your mission statement probably won’t bear fruit.
Common Mission Statement Mistakes
While creating a draft for your company’s mission statement, it is important not to make the following common mistakes. These mistakes reinforce the fact that you have to carefully review the information you discover before writing the statement.
1) Little to No Inspiration
If your mission statement reads more like an instruction manual than an explanation of a company’s reason for existing, then you should go back to the drawing board. Don’t just make a list of what your company does and then jump to the heart of the matter. Bring out the main source of inspiration for your company’s workforce, and focus on what drives your company’s strategy.
2) Lack of Personality and Flare
Your company has a unique personality, and that should be incorporated into the mission statement. Oftentimes, the element of fun is overlooked by companies when their mission statements are created. While you should maintain a sense of professionalism and seriousness, it is also important to showcase the culture that makes your company stand out. In other words, your mission statement should stay true to what your company is about on a personal level. Don’t be dull in your choice of words. Feel free to have fun!
3) Use of Flowery Language
Having fun with your mission statement does not mean that you should fill it with flowery language. Buzzwords, jargon, and repetitive rhyming are just some of mistakes with using flowery language. Your statement should be written with clear language that is easy to understand and describes the purpose of the company.
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Mission Statement Examples
The following mission statements are some of the best examples to model your statement after. The messages behind these statements are made clear to the customers and communities that will be impacted.
At the heart of the company, Goodwill is a thrift store that provides customers with access to items they might normally not be able to afford. Its mission statement is “Goodwill® works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.” With values like respect, stewardship, ethics, learning and innovation, Goodwill promotes responsibility and performs a service for customers that need it most.
With the help of their equipment, Caterpillar helps economic growth through infrastructure and energy development. Caterpillar provides solutions that support communities all over the world. Their website that their solutions help customers build a better world. Improving, powering, restoring and inspiring are four key elements that drive Caterpillar’s core purpose. The machinery of Caterpillar fulfills a basic need for businesses, they help build a foundation from the ground up that businesses can work with for years to come.
TED’s mission statement is made up of only two words; “Spread ideas.” It is simple and stands out. These two words fit this media organization’s branding, it exists to share ideas online at no cost to consumers. TED talks are normally limited to only 18 minutes, but what you can get in that amount of time is information you never previously had, and rapid-fire brainstorming that gets you to think.
LinkedIn is all about maintaining professionalism. Their mission statement is “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” This statement rings true in LinkedIn’s actions as it connects professionals from all over the world. It defines the main function behind LinkedIn’s existence, strongly emphasizing the platform’s users, who are always taken into account when LinkedIn reviews its design strategies.
Workday’s mission statement is “To put people at the center of enterprise software.”. It highlights the company’s stance that they create enterprise software, which makes them stand out from the competition. Additionally, it broadly reviews the Human Resource software industry as a whole, boldly stating that even in the HR space, people are often considered to be afterthoughts. It is a double-edged statement that monitors the state of the industry and promotes Workday’s values.
The act of working together is an important part of how companies function on a daily basis. The mission statement of Asana is “To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”. With its primary focus being on their product, an organizational tool that lets you assign tasks, Asana personalizes their mission statement and makes their company more relatable. The Work Graph Data model created by Asana has helped shape how companies assign teams for their projects. This fulfills a need in an ever increasingly busy society.
The purpose of credit card companies is obvious, they provide support for people who don’t readily have cash on hand. Putting emphasis on their commitment to customer service, the mission statement of American Express reads “We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand.”. This statement reflects the value of customer service by acknowledging customers, and considering the opinions of employees. By putting action behind their mission statement, American Express has proved they are an important brand.
Cons of the Mission Statement
There are both benefits and drawbacks to your company having a mission statement. When it comes to drawbacks, it is easy to make your statement sound unrealistic, to the point where it seems like a scene from a movie. You may have your adrenaline pumping as you write your mission statement, but the things that happen in reality are not as straightforward as what you write on paper.
You should spend time writing your mission statement. However, it is a waste of time if the main reason for creating the statement is not known. Your statement, if not properly developed, can lead to issues that will need to be addressed later on. It only takes one part of a statement to go wrong for the entire statement to fall off the rails.
Vague, empty, and confusing are the three common terms used when describing a bad mission statement. It is important to include details about a company’s daily functions in the statement. Your message should make sense to people before you publish it.
In conclusion, mission statements help you bridge the gap between what you know your company does, and what customers see your company doing. For example, a mission statement should help define the reason for a company’s existence. It should also let your company map out strategies that revolve around your core values. While it isn’t the most critical document to have in your company, a mission statement is an essential document. It gives your company the clarity, focus, and drive to achieve the goals that have been set out.
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Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More