Have you ever wondered how major brands like Coca Cola and Whole Foods started out, and what they had to do to get themselves where they are today? Every solid brand has started right where you are now. One of the cornerstones that got them where they are today is their mission statement. Every company needs one, yet so many businesses either put it off because they have no idea where to start, or they make the mistake of misusing it.
What is a mission statement, and why do you need it?
Your mission statement is essentially a brief description of your company’s purpose. Without a sense of purpose and idea of where you want to go, it’s nearly impossible to thoughtfully prepare for the future, let alone determine what’s most important day-to-day. A well-done mission statement should evaluate your worth and define how your business fits into the larger picture. Your mission and vision should play a significant role in your strategic planning.
A good mission statement talks about how the company will care for their customers, build quality products, give 10% to charity, use environmentally-friendly products, etc. It’s meant to define the purpose of the company.
When and Where do you use it?
One mistake a lot of companies make is using this statement as a sales tool; plastered across their homepage or used as sales copy. This statement isn’t meant to focus on the customer or your company’s benefits to the customer. Every business needs to know their purpose and what drives them and what your ultimate goals are, but your clients don’t necessarily care. Their primary concern is what you will do for them and what problem of theirs you solve. Mission statements have nothing to do with this: they are about the company itself. Your customers don’t necessarily care about your purpose, what drives you, and what your ultimate goals are. That would be terrible sales copy for your homepage!
An excellent place for your mission statement is on your About Us page. Customers who are ready to become more invested in your business will be curious about who you are and what values you embody. It’s also essential that your employees know and understand your mission statement completely. Provide them each with a copy of it, or make it easily accessible to them. As Simon Sinek put it: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” So - while mission statements are undoubtedly a necessary and good thing, use them appropriately!
Great examples of Mission Statements
There are plenty of great examples of mission statements out there. Here’s a couple that we love.
Whole Foods: Our purpose is to nourish people and the planet. We’re a purpose-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.
Coca-Cola: Our mission is: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions. To create value and make a difference.
How to create your mission statement
There are a lot of different ideas for writing mission statements out there, but there’s not really a one-size-fits-all formula. However, here are some definite dos and don’ts to consider when defining your mission statement:
- Keep it short and precise. Sum up your company’s mission in just a few sentences.
- Don’t write an essay. You want your mission statement to be memorable, and long, drawn-out prose is rarely memorable.
- Think long-term. Your mission statement is a road map of your company’s future, so keep it open enough to reflect your long-term goals. Don’t limit yourself.
- Find out what your employees think of the mission statement. It’s a tool designed with them in mind too, so get their opinion. Ask if they would improve it in any way or if there’s anything they dislike about it. Since this statement is, in part, for them – it’s important
- Don’t be afraid to change it. As a company grows, it’s objectives and goals may be reached, and you’ll need to update your mission statement. If you’ve reached this point or your statement no longer perfectly represents the company, then it’s time for a rewrite.
The reason we stay loyal to brands is because of the values they embody. The best brands strive to combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one top-notch customer (and employee) experience that you value as much as they do. When you successfully create a connection with your customers, they’ll stay loyal to you for life. Achieving this connection is not necessarily a simple thing, but your mission statement will help get you there. The companies that succeed in the long-run are the ones that stay true to their core values over the years and create a company that employees and customers are proud to associate with.