A mission statement defines why an organization exists in the world. It should contain information about the business's key objectives, who it serves or benefits and why it does what it does. For some organizations, the mission statement is simply a few lines in the employee handbook, while for other organizations, the mission statement is felt within every aspect of the organizational culture.
When figuring out the mission statement for your business, consider how you want to use the statement within your company. Do you want it to be a source of engagement for your employees and a motivator for yourself to meet your goals? Craft your statement with tangible and actionable language that inspires you, your team and your customers.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Mission statements are used to motivate, engage and inspire employees as well as help the company reach aspirational goals.
Inspire, Engage and Motivate Employees
The main purpose of a mission statement is to increase employee engagement and encourage them to work effectively together to help the company achieve its goals. The tenants of a mission statement are often derived from the company’s values. Organizations need to look critically at themselves and what they represent to develop a mission statement that truly reflects the company culture.
In order to use the mission statement to motivate employees, it’s important for the company leadership to exemplify the mission in their day-to-day work and how they address their team. If the company mission is to help others be their best selves, for example, but the company leadership does not foster a culture of improvement, then that mission will not be effective in inspiring the employees.
Aspire to Succeed
The purpose of strategic planning is to develop a plan that enables the organization to achieve its goals. The mission statement of an organization is often tied directly to the objectives the organization wants to achieve. The mission statement includes goals that are attainable now and goals that are aspirational for the future.
The mission statement definition includes looking past the day-to-day grind to the long-term goals of the company. If your mission statement is to help women feel fantastic about themselves and the environment with your sustainable beauty products, for example, it’s important to apply that mission to your company’s future goals. If your business currently operates only in the United States, you can look to expand your market globally to reach women all over the world. Mission statements can help organizations to reach aspirational goals.
Captivate Customers, Partners and Stakeholders
In addition to motivating employees and helping companies achieve long-term goals, mission statements can resonate with customers, partners and other stakeholders. For some companies, the mission statement is tied to how the business is run. For example, some companies may have a mission that involves taking care of the environment, so they only use sustainable materials. A business may want to empower women in third-world countries and so employs those women within their global offices.
If a company’s mission and the way it operates and services its customers appeals to a particular audience segment, they will be more likely to engage with the organization. It’s important to make your company’s mission statement public so external stakeholders can take note of what your organization stands for.
Define the Mission of Your Business
The mission statement reflects every aspect of your business, from how you treat your employees to how you create your products. When defining the mission for your company, answer questions like these to figure out what is important to you:
- Why do you do what you do?
- What does success look like for the company?
- What problems does your organization solve?
- Who do you serve?
- How does your company make the world a better place for your audience?
- How are you different from your competitors?
Mission statements play an important role in organizations for employees, leaders, customers, partners and other stakeholders. It’s important to establish a mission statement that’s clear and direct, incorporating the values of the company and what it hopes to achieve.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.