What is a mission statement?

A mission statement answers the question ‘who are we and why do we exist?’ Your mission statement should describe what makes you different. It is a brief description of your businesses fundamental purpose. The vision statement answers the question ‘where are we going and what is the desired end state for our efforts?’

The difference between the mission statement and the vision statement is that the mission statement focuses on a businesses current state while a vision statement focuses on a businesses long-term future.

Why a mission statement is important?

Every business should have a mission statement to ensure that everyone in your team is “on the same page” and to help with a baseline for effective business planning. Developing your mission statement is valuable to do with your team (if you have one).

Here are some of the questions for you to think about in relation to having a clear mission statement for your business:

1. What do we do?

Just say it simply… what product or service does your business produce or provide? Get down to the basics and don’t add any fluff.

2. Whom do we serve?

A well-crafted mission statement focuses your business for both your target audience and your team. It serves as a framework, giving your team a place to build from when establishing your brand in the market. For your target audience, it sets you apart from your competition without limiting your businesses purpose.

3. How do we serve them?

This is a description of how your business generally operates. This usually means incorporating one or more of your core values (your next ‘with’ guide) into your description. For example:

  • Protecting the quality of the environment
  • Encouraging innovation/creativity
  • Sustainability for a cleaner future

4. What value are we bringing?

This is about covering off how you are different from your competition – your unique value.

Some well-known examples to help you think through how to articulate your mission statement:

  • Amazon: “Our mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. This is what unites Amazonians across teams and geographies as we are all striving to delight our customers and make their lives easier, one innovative product, service, and idea at a time.”
  • Tesla: “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
  • Apple: “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world….”
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways: “… to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.”
  • TED: “Spread ideas.”
  • Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”