Powerful mission statement for a business

19 Feb 2020
Kate, copywriter
Prepare for the tough self-interrogations and all Whys and Hows. It's time to create a mission statement.
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How it feels to read a bad mission statement

Alarms went off. The lights turned red. We started pushing through each other and running down the stairs. To outrace and be the first to flee into the conference room! This was a way out. There was an instruction for such cases. We saw it – the big white banner with letters. It must be important. John read it out loud!

“My mission is to create positive liberation experience through an alignment to global strategies of fire code ordinances. I help to entice the surviving process by showing you the escape window that is there, on the left side from you if you stand back to the doors”.

The News reports were filled with events of that night. The fire was put out by the firefighters in 1 hour. 37 people were taken to the hospitals and diagnosed with facepalming* syndrome because of the stupidity of instruction’s mission statement.

*Facepalm – an act of covering face with your hand because of feeling embarrassed, annoyed, or disappointed.

What is a mission statement and how to build it?

The mission statement is a sentence indicating purposes and the reasons for developing your business. As staff and clients read it, they have to immediately grasp the concept of values, ethics, and fundamental goals of your company. So yeah, it’s not an easy task. First, prepare for self-interrogations and all Whys and Hows. Here are several tips on how to write a mission statement.

1. Answer all Whys and Hows

  • What do we do today? (sell bamboo toothbrushes, print logos on T-Shirts, create video-content);
  • For whom do we do it? (for environmentally conscious people, for corporate companies, for bloggers and advertisers);
  • What is the benefit? (the support of environmental movements, personalization, creative content);
  • Why do we do it? (to reduce the waste of plastic toothbrushes, to help companies enhance corporate culture, to create unique videos with professional video footage).

Before writing the concept in one sentence, understand what your company does. Determine its standards and the reasons to promote the product (except for revenue).

Mission statement vs Vision statement

2. Be concise

Recall the story from the beginning. Instead of writing “Fire escape” and putting an arrow to the left, I used redundant words like “create positive experiences”, “entice processes”, “alignment to global strategies”. These are the buzzwords. They have a vague meaning. The usage of buzzwords indicates bad mission statements. Insert these phrases everywhere and they will fit every context. Fit and destroy the uniqueness. Being concise means to get rid of redundant words and take only those phrases that are the most relevant. Read and think if you like the following sentences with the recurring “positive experience” phrase.

  • Selling bamboo brushes, we create a positive environmental and hygienic experience;
  • Our mission is to create a positive corporate experience for companies;
  • We create positive content experiences by making top-notch videos.

3. Be as short as possible

If it doesn’t harm the content, make your statement short. TED.com is a great example. It’s a platform with talks on different topics – from science to pop culture. Their mission statement is “Share experience”. Although it consists of only two words, it precisely describes the peculiarities of the product. Also, it’s easy to remember. For me “Share experience” has become a firm association with TED.

Many companies write a one-paragraph mission statement with more than three sentences. Perhaps they have reasons for it. It may be a variety of services, products, and achievements. However, when I was searching for examples for this article, I noticed that the longer the statement the harder it is to recall it later. Added with buzzwords and no sense, it seems like the aim of the person who created it was to annoy you, take away your time and, well, cause a facepalming syndrome.

4. Don’t do it alone

Yes, big enterprises hire business analytics and marketing professionals to write missions for them. However, we suspect that if you google “how to write a mission statement for a business” it isn’t the case. Small and mid-sized companies spend spare money on something more global than a mission statement. So we suspect you are either a CEO or someone who has been told by your CEO to write it.

No matter the situation, don’t write it alone. Ask the team to help.

You: Okay, I came up with “we revolutionize hygienic routine by selling bamboo toothbrushes”, any other ideas?

A: I would change revolutionize into change – it’s less pretentious

D: We should highlight the fact that we are sustainable.

H: Yes, and we also plan to sell organic toothpaste. Shouldn’t we include it as well?

See? Your teammates can show another perspective. Use it.

Mission vs Vision

These are two often confused terms. In both, you need to highlight the company’s concept and targets. Why do we need to differentiate?

  • Timeline. It is the leading distinction. A mission statement pinpoints processes occurring NOW and the company’s state TODAY. A vision statement concerns the FUTURE and what you want to become in 5/10/50 years.
  • Aim. The mission statement aims to show the achieved and desired level of productivity. A vision statement is more of a source of inspiration. It often includes the hopes for not only for the company’s future. It also tries to predict the changes in the whole industry or even society.
  • Change. You alter your mission as the values of your company change. You alter your vision as you reach the goals or follow new external trends. For example, Microsoft detected the future needs of its customers and changed its corporate vision. It shifted from the focus on mobile development to artificial intelligence.
  • Two parts of one unity. The mission is what you do NOW to fulfill the vision in the FUTURE.

Comparison in examples

  • Every day I exercise and eat healthy food. This is my mission. I want to be fit and run a marathon in 1 year – this is my vision;
  • John is 14 years old and his mission is to study science at school. His vision is to become an astronomer and popularize science;
  • Buddhist monk’s mission is to do meditations and preserve Buddha’s teaching. His vision is Nirvana.
elements of mission statement

Why do you need a great mission statement?

To clarify the direction. Without purpose, nothing lasts long. You need a mission to understand why your company has what it has and does what it does. Then you spread this understanding to your employees. If they resonate with the idea, they dedicate themselves. If not… do you need nominal workers?

To simplify the decisions. How should your company react to intolerance in society? And what about the prices? Should they be higher than competitors’ or lower? If the concept of your company is the celebration of diversity, you will react negatively to intolerance. If you present yourself as a company with affordable products, it is logical to fix a low price. If you sell luxury and unique things – feel free to add more zeroes to the sum. Your company mission is one sentence explaining all of it to your customers and employees.

To be ready for the unexpected. There may be times when your company loses its efficiency. Your mission statement won’t solve everything for you. However, it is a thing you keep in mind when moving forward.

Key elements

Write a mission statement that contains…

Value. Why do employees need to work with you? Why do customers need to purchase or use your product? Because you give them all some value. Be sure to outline it. (e.g. We provide security while you text; we value freelancers and their flexibility)

Inspiration. What drives people to work with you (except for the salary)? Money is not something that builds long-term relationships. Common goals and a good atmosphere do. So be sure to display your goals to the world (and potential workers). That will be a source of inspiration.

Precision. Yes, I will tell you this again. N-O  B-U-Z-Z-W-O-R-D-S! They do not convey any specific meaning. They are the rubbish-phrases.

Aim. Why do you exist as a company? To fight the intolerance? To spread pet-friendly cosmetics? To prove that high quality doesn’t mean expensive? With an accurate aim, you will not accumulate your energy to things that are not contributing to achieving it.

Uniqueness. Chances are you have competitors with familiar products. It means you have the same target audience, market and maybe even aims. Will your statements be almost alike? Yes. Or you can find something unique about you and be sure to use it in your mission.

brand mission statement

Famous companies cases and a Quiz

Compare these two Mission Statements. One is by Twitter another is by Facebook.

  • “To give the power of sharing and making the world more open and connected”;
  • “To give everyone the power of creating and sharing ideas and information instantly, with no barriers”.

Which is Twitter’s and Which is Facebook’s? Their missions are almost the same and convey the idea of enhancing online communication. You see, it is a daunting task to create the statement by which you will be recognized. Especially when there are many competitors in the same niche.

(P.S. the first is by Facebook and the second is by Twitter).

In the picture below you will see examples of mission statements that concern different markets. The distinction between them is clear.


Try to guess the companies by their mission statements. Match the answers (e.g. 1 – b, 3- c). The key will be available after the conclusion.

a) Google, b) DuckDuckGo, c) Yahoo, d) Tumblr, e)  LinkedIn, f) Asos, g) Pull and Bear, h) Nike, i) Adidas.

1. “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”;
2. “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”;
3. “Become the number 1 fashion destination for 20-somethings globally”;
4. “Empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve”;
5. “Be the best sports company in the world”;
6. “Set the new standard of trust online, empowering people to take control of their information”;
7. “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete”;
8. “As a leader in global daily habits like email, entertainment, news, and sports, we strive to inspire, delight and entertain”;
9. “Dress dynamic people and fashion lovers who are young at heart”.


Develop an efficient mission statement.

  • to outline the main aspects and aims of your company
  • to understand where you are going
  • to avoid the loss of motivation and procrastination.
  • to invite productivity to the working process
  • to build a good development team
  • for your company to be successful

Answers to the quiz: 1 e, 2 a, 3 f, 4 d, 5 i, 6 b, 7 h, 8 c, 9 g.

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