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4 tips for crafting a business mission statement

4 tips for crafting a business mission statement

Key takeaways

  • A business mission statement defines what you do for the people you serve
  • An effective mission can help your brand connect with clients while keeping team members engaged
  • Keep your business mission statement short but powerful so it stands out

A high-quality product or service is just one ingredient for small business success. It’s what gets customers through the door. But when you want to inspire long-term customer loyalty, a business mission statement can be your best asset. Learn what a business mission statement is, why it’s important, and which actionable steps you can take to craft one of your own. Plus, you’ll also find some useful examples of effective mission statements. 

What is a mission statement for a business?

A business mission statement is a short phrase or sentence that defines your company’s unique purpose. It gives customers, team members, and other stakeholders insight into what you do and who you serve. It may even hint at your core values, giving your company a purpose beyond profiting.

An effective mission statement makes your company’s intention clear and gives clients a reason to continuously support your brand.

Mission statement vs. vision statement

Mission and vision statements can help you clarify your company’s purpose. But they’re two distinct branding tools that must be crafted differently. 

A mission statement focuses on your present actions. It’s all about what you’re doing right now to help the world. For example, this is LinkedIn‘s mission statement: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”

A vision statement is broader, focusing on your goals for the far future. It shows your ideal outcomes—or what will occur once your business accomplishes everything it aims to do. Here is LinkedIn‘s vision statement: “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”

Your mission statement essentially acts as a roadmap to achieving your vision.

Why should I have a business mission statement?

Woman writing a business mission statement on her laptop

A good mission statement is a key element of effective small business branding. When your marketing is consistent with one core message, your audience can envision how your business can uniquely help them solve problems or enhance their lives. Your mission makes you more customer-centric, giving clients more reason to connect with your brand. This can foster loyalty and give you a competitive advantage in your industry.

Your company’s mission statement can also be a powerful tool for improving your business operations. With a clear mission, your team members can align behind your company’s goal so the decisions they make will move you closer to your definition of success. Whether you’re creating social media posts or brainstorming new product ideas, more focused decision-making can lead to more efficient results.

A mission statement can also contribute to a company culture that unites your team. Your team members themselves will know they’re serving an important purpose, which can increase engagement and retention.

How to craft a great mission statement

A powerful business mission statement likely won’t come off the top of your head. If you want to create the highest quality statement possible, follow these four steps.

1. Define what you do

The core function of a mission statement is defining what you do. Start brainstorming some brief phrases that accurately describe your company’s role. For example, a dental practice might come up with these phrases:

  • Promote oral health
  • Prevent dental diseases
  • Provide dental care
  • Improve personal well-being

The phrases you come up with will be broad, but they will send you in the right direction.

2. Explain how you do things differently

After defining your role, you need to make your brand distinct from others. Shape your mission statement by coming up with a phrase that answers how you perform your role differently than others. For example, you might have a niche audience or a unique way of operating. Here are some phrases that would suit a dental practice:

  • Increase access to dental services
  • Offer higher-quality care for patients
  • Educate patients with empathy

As you take this step, ask yourself what phrases your target audience will connect to the most.

3. Put it together

Close-up shot of person typing on laptop

Start drafting your mission statement ideas by mixing and matching the phrases you brainstormed in the first two steps. As you do so, strengthen your statements by using compelling, active verbs (like “to advocate” instead of “to be”), which can make your mission more eye-catching. Add additional context to your phrase as needed.

Using our previous examples, here are some phrases you could come up with:

  • To promote oral health in disadvantaged communities by increasing access to dental services
  • To help patients live disease-free lives with higher-quality dental care
  • To empower patients with empathetic dental care and education 

4. Keep it short

If you notice any unnecessary words in your mission statement, cut them out. Effective mission statements are brief and memorable, so the less wordy you can make it, the better.

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3 effective mission statement examples

Crafting the best mission statement possible is easier when you have a bit of inspiration. To help you out, we’ve compiled a few mission statement examples from some of the world’s most successful brands.

1. Starbucks

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

Starbucks hits every mark with this mission statement. While the company sells coffee, this statement clarifies that its true purpose is to “nurture the human spirit” and that coffee is just a vessel for doing so. When clients read this mission statement, they can connect with the Starbucks customer experience, rather than just its products. It makes the brand feel more empathetic than a standard retailer.

2. Tesla

“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Tesla‘s mission statement is brief, but it communicates an inspirational purpose without focusing on—or even mentioning—its products. Customers who value sustainability will choose Tesla to support the move toward an eco-friendly world.

Notice that this purpose, though grand, is still grounded in reality. While a vision statement may be a somewhat far-fetched goal (for example, “to create a world fully run by sustainable energy“), a mission statement is the path to that goal. Tesla focuses on being a core part of the transition period, which is perfect for a mission.

3. Microsoft

“To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Microsoft is known for its computers, but its mission statement focuses on how its products help people and businesses meet their goals. This statement helps consumers associate Microsoft with productivity and accomplishment.

What this statement does especially well is help the brand differ from its main competitor: Apple. Whereas Apple is seen as a high-end and exclusive technology company, Microsoft emphasizes how it helps everyone, including the average user.

Create a stand-out business mission statement

Mission statements aren’t just for nonprofits. Crafting a mission statement can help small business owners keep their teams aligned and engaged while building a loyal client base. Great mission statements are short but impactful statements that clarify exactly what you do, so you can reach and inspire the right people. As a result, your business is more likely to unlock its full potential.

Once you finalize your business mission statement, share it with your team members and the greater public on a number of channels. Next, learn how to write a business plan, which will feature your mission statement on the first page.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.