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“TED: Spread ideas” and “PayPal: To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution,” are two of many well-known statements associated with an organization. These two examples describe what these companies do and are examples of strong mission statements.

What Is a Company Mission?

Most business owners founded their companies with a specific purpose in mind. Perhaps they wanted to serve delicious food while donating a portion of their profits to a third-world country. Or perhaps they wanted to sell quality shoes at a low cost. The reason for a company’s existence — its purpose — is its mission.

Why Is It Important That a Company Has a Mission Statement?

Mission statements serve several important purposes. Here are a few:

  • Communicates who the company is and why it exists. At its core, the mission statement tells everyone—investors, stakeholders, employees, customers, distributors, suppliers—why the business exists. It serves as the foundation for the company’s vision, or long-term plan for the company.
  • Guides strategic planning decisions. A company mission statement helps align business decisions with the mission of the company. Staying focused on the mission helps business leaders make decisions that support the company’s purpose instead of detract from it.
  • Unifies the organization. A company mission statement helps stakeholders and employees understand and embrace the company’s purpose and goals. It gives them a shared sense of pride to work for an organization that makes a meaningful difference in the local and global community.
  • Promotes the company to customers. Many companies use their mission statements in their advertising. Helping customers understand what the company does and why can drive engagement and loyalty.

What Are the Qualities of a Strong Mission Statement?

A strong mission statement will give a quick snapshot of what a company does and why it is in business.

Quality 1: Concise

Mission statements are usually only a sentence or two long, so each word needs to count. A statement should create a picture in the minds of those who read it.

Quality 2: Clear and Specific

Vague mission statements neither provide information or inspiration. A clearly worded statement with specific details can quickly inform the audience what the company is about.

Quality 3: Inspiring

Inspiring mission statements can excite others about the company and its purpose. Would you rather work for a company that “makes cookies,” or one that “makes cookies with love like Grandma?”

Quality 4: Unique

Distinguishing the unique aspects of a company sets it apart from others. Mission statements should showcase the personality and sense of fun that a company embodies.

Company Mission Examples

Catchy and clever mission statements are associated with many well-known companies. Following are some examples:

  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for many people.
  • Patagonia: We’re in business to save our home planet.
  • Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
  • JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

How To Create Your Own Mission Statement

Creating a mission statement is more challenging than it would seem at first glance. The steps are easy, but carefully crafting the words will take practice and thought. While there are many methods for creating a mission statement, the steps listed below are an easy way to get started.

Step 1 – Describe What Your Company Does

Describe your company. What does it do? Be as concise as you can. For example, “My company sells children’s clothing,” or “My company recruits engineers.”

Step 2 – Describe How Your Company Does What It Does

Describe how the company does what it does. “We provide affordable quality,” or “We find specialized talent.”

Step 3 – Combine Steps One and Two

Combine steps one and two into one sentence. For example, “We sell quality children’s clothing at an affordable price.” Or “We recruit engineers who have specialized talent.”

Step 4 – Describe Why Your Company Does What It Does

Add why your company does what it does. “We sell quality children’s clothing at an affordable price to underprivileged children.” Or “We recruit engineers who have specialized talent to simplify staffing for employers.”

Step 5 – Solicit Input From Stakeholders

Review the final statement and solicit input from stakeholders. Write and rewrite until all stakeholders are confident the mission statement is ready to launch.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Company Missions

Typically, mission statements are less than 100 words and one to two sentences. It should be long enough to be clear and no longer. The best mission statements tend to be concise.

Companies should revisit their mission statements regularly, especially when the stated purposes have been achieved and the company is moving toward a new or updated purpose. A best practice is to review mission statements at least annually.

Carol Eliason Nibley, SPHR, GPHR and Principal Consultant at PeopleServe, has more than 25 years of experience in human resources, most recently serving as Vice President of Human Resources for a technology company in Utah County. Carol has taught HR certificate courses at Mountainland Technical College and in other settings for more than 12 years.

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