Almost every major organisation has one. They’re also circulated far and wide, sending a message to employees, stakeholders and the wider public about where the company is going.
But mission statements aren’t just for the big boys. Any company can define a mission, which can inspire employees and focus the direction of the company.
Why have a mission statement?
Of course, writing a mission statement takes a fair bit of thought and energy. But the benefits are worth it.
With an effective mission statement, you can:
- Define your company strategy, informing your operations and future direction
- Give your employees a clear purpose and a framework for achieving it
- Tell the wider world what you stand for
What does a good mission statement look like?
A mission statement can be short or long, fun or business-like, product-focused or people-focused… or something else entirely. The important thing is that it reflects the strategy and values of your company.
Here are a few very different examples from well-known companies.
Amazon: “It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
HSBC: “Throughout our history, we have been where the growth is, connecting customers to opportunities. We enable businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, helping people fulfil their hopes and dreams and realise their ambitions. This is our role and purpose.”
Vodafone: “Creating opportunities every day with the help of communication - that is what we stand for. This is about more than simply making a profit. It is also about the way in which we can make a positive contribution to society; by making mobile working possible, for example, enabling us to give our customers a degree of flexibility and freedom that they did not have before.”
Virgin Group: “Be different by being better.”
How to write a company mission statement
As you can see above, there’s more than one way to write your mission statement. To find the right message and tone for your organisation, you should start by asking some fundamental questions about the company such as:
- What does my company do?
- How do we do it?
- Who do we do it for?
- What makes us special?
The answers to these questions can form the basis of your mission statement — in terms of its message and its style.
For example, if your company is a software developer that provides high-tech services to City finance firms, you may opt for a formal and technical tone. If your company puts on birthday parties with clowns for kids, your mission statement’s tone of voice should probably reflect that instead.
Inspiring employees through your company mission
Another key purpose of your company mission is to inspire your employees — both existing staff and new talent you want to attract to your organisation.
We all enjoy the feeling we’re working towards something important. Having a clear mission can help give employees that sense of purpose and fulfilment.
So while flowery or hyperbolic statements are best avoided — stick to true statements about your company — you can make it positive and spirited. Everyone can get behind a mission like that.