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How to Write a Mission Statement for Your Business


Writing a mission statement is a fundamental step in business planning. A well-written mission statement can tell customers, investors, and other companies who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

In this guide, we describe what a mission statement is, why it’s so important, and how to create a mission statement for your business.

What is a Mission Statement?

A mission statement is a way to clearly state the purpose of your organization. It should cover what your business does, and why it does it.

That can be trickier than it sounds because you should aim to keep your mission statement very brief. According to the most common definitions of a mission statement, it should be a single sentence or a short paragraph.

Since mission statements outline a company’s ongoing purpose, they typically don’t change much over time.

10 Mission Statement Examples

To give you a better idea of exactly what mission statements involve, here are some mission statement examples from leading companies:

1. Starbucks

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

Why it works: Starbucks is more than a utilitarian coffee shop where you go to get your caffeine fix and leave. They “inspire and nurture the human spirit” by inviting customers to linger and relax in coffee shops outfitted with art and inspiring images and stories about their coffee growers – their “partners”. To create a sense of community and provide a personal touch they ask for customers’ names, making customers feel welcome “one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” We get a strong sense of Starbucks’ “why” from this mission statement.

2. Nike

To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.

Why it works: Nike provides an excellent example of how you can employ your brand’s tone of voice effectively even in something as brief as a mission statement. Here, their famous commitment to being innovators in the sports apparel space is clear. This mission statement communicates that one of their core “whys” is to inspire. The best part, though, is the cheeky and unexpected asterisk accompanied by the inclusive declaration that “if you have a body, you are an athlete.” This perfectly communicates that Nike is committed to empowering all people, regardless of body type or athletic ability, in an unexpected mission statement structure that is both memorable and on-brand. 

3. Westjet

To enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet’s world. We’re proud to have won awards that show us you think we do.

Why it works: This is a great example of a mission statement that reflects a commitment to both customers and employees. By stating that its mission is to “enrich the lives of everyone in Westjet’s world,” Westjet conveys its commitment to provide a satisfying work environment for employees, as well as a rewarding travel experience for customers. By using the word “world” instead of, say, community, it invokes the idea of travel and exploration, reminding us that “Westjet’s world” spans the globe. The second line offers proof their mission statement isn’t just empty words. Not only has the company won awards, they indicate gratitude to the reader for helping them with that achievement. 

4. Slack

To make work life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.

Why it works: Slack’s “why” is all about keeping things uncomplicated, and achieving more with ease. This mission statement shows that brevity can be very effective. It’s short even by mission statement standards, but it reflects the experience that Slack wants its users to have on the platform: simple, pleasant, and productive. The choice of the term “work life” instead of just “life reminds us that work is a major part of life, so we should aim to make it less stressful and complicated, something Slack achieves with their product. Finally, their stated aim to make work life “more pleasant”, evokes their generally positive outlook about work and their mission to make it even better.   

5. Tesla

To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Why it works: Tesla is a car manufacturer known for its pioneering electric vehicles. Tesla is certainly a car manufacturer with a mission, and even people who don’t know much about cars can associate the name with electric vehicles. Their mission statement reflects a commitment to reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels by speeding up a transition that is already underway. Notice that they don’t even mention cars in their mission statement, but rather allude to driving with the word “accelerate”. It’s great copy that is subtle and clearly demonstrates their vehicles are a means to a greener world. 

6. IKEA

To create a better everyday life for the many people

Why it works: Ikea’s products have changed the way people furnish their homes by offering sleek, innovative solutions for every room at an affordable price. Their mission statement indicates their broad range of products with the phrase “better everyday life”. And “the many people” conveys their mission to serve as many people in the world as possible. The slightly awkward use of “the” in “for the many people” cheekily invokes their Swedish origins and their often idiosyncratic ads, typically delivered in a Swedish accent. This mission statement is uncomplicated, just like their products. 

7. Sony

To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity. 

Why it works: Since Sony makes such a wide range of electronics and technologies, from cameras and gaming consoles to robotics and AI, they keep it simple by focusing on one thread that runs through their enterprise: curiosity. Whether it’s curiosity about the world, art, music, technology, or entertainment, Sony conveys that their products will not only inspire their customers’ curiosity but also provide the means to fulfill it through innovative products, themselves the result of curiosity and ingenuity.  

8. Microsoft

To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential

Why it works: Microsoft’s mission statement is clear, simple, and to the point: their products are made for people and businesses, and by using Microsoft’s suite of products, individual and corporate customers can reach their full potential.  

9. Google

To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Why it works: Google’s concise statement reveals an enormous mission: to catalogue all of the world’s information so that it can be accessed by anyone, anytime. This statement indicates Google’s commitment to democratizing access to information in an organized and easy-to-use manner. 

10. Ben and Jerry’s

To create fantastic ice cream (for its own sake). 

Why it works: Ben and Jerry’s is known for its delicious, ever-expanding variety of ice cream flavours. Its mission statement explains what they do in simple terms: make fantastic ice cream. This clearly indicates their commitment to a delicious, high-quality product. The unique use of parentheses to explain why they do this—”for its own sake”—keeps the tone light and fun, and cheekily affirms that ice cream, itself, is inherently reason enough (as if to say, who doesn’t like ice cream?)

Why are Mission Statements Important?

A great mission statement can serve several important functions. Firstly, it can be a valuable tool to keep your business on track.

You can refer to it again and again, such as when you set new goals or make a big decision about your business. The clear and concise statement of purpose helps ensure your efforts are aligned with what you want your business to accomplish. The ability to maintain a clear vision for your business approach is a trait that distinguishes the most successful businesses.

Essentially, a mission statement can be the foundation for everything your business does. It can help:

  • Direct your business planning
  • Evaluate your performance
  • Provide guidance to employees
  • Ensure all stakeholders work toward the same goals
  • Give employees a sense of identity.

Not Just for Internal Use

Keep in mind, some people will look at your mission statement to determine if they should do business with you. So whether it’s a potential customer, prospective employee, or a possible investor, having a well-written mission statement can help persuade them to work with you.

What to Include in Your Mission Statement

Your mission statement should be unique to your business, and what you include will depend on your particular focus and values. Typically, a mission statement includes a basic description of the company, its purpose, and its goals. 

A mission statement can also cover how the company serves:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Owners
  • The community
  • The world

How to Write a Mission Statement

Here’s a step-by-step process that can help you create a mission statement:

  1. Write a sentence that explains what your company does, in basic terms.
  2. List some of your core values.
  3. Keeping those core values in mind, write a sentence that explains how your company does what it does.
  4. Write a sentence that explains why your company does what it does.
  5. Take a look at the three sentences you’ve written, and then try to combine and condense those ideas so your mission statement is as straight-to-the-point as possible.

Keep it Concise

Part of the challenge of mission statement writing is figuring out how to make a mission statement say everything you want while keeping it brief. But remember, you can include additional information elsewhere.

For example, many leading companies’ websites include sections below the mission statement that provide details such as “core values”, “about us”, or a vision statement. 

Mission Statement vs Vision Statement

A mission statement differs from a vision statement (although some companies choose to lump them together). While a mission statement focuses on the company’s fundamental purpose, a vision statement typically outlines where the company plans to be in the future and provides more details on its strategy to get there.

Here are some vision statement examples to help you tell the difference:

Vision Statement Examples

McDonald’s

“To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.”

Disney

“To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”

Bombardier

“Our mission is to be the world’s leading manufacturer of planes and trains.

We are committed to providing superior value and service to our customers and sustained profitability to our shareholders by investing in our people and products.

We lead through innovation and outstanding product safety, efficiency and performance. Our standards are high. We define excellence—and we deliver.”

Mission Statement vs Purpose Statement

Some organizations write purpose statements in addition to mission statements. While a mission statement focuses on what a business’s aspirational vision is for the future, a purpose statement covers why a business came into existence in the first place.

It can take the form of a declarative statement that mentions a problem the business is trying to solve or a unique opportunity the business is leveraging. It can also be a bit longer and provide a brief summary of how the business came to be. 

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Mission Statements

According to some experts, many companies have mission statements that are too vague, unrealistic, or are just a meaningless string of business jargon. So here are some tips on how to avoid the common pitfalls of mission statements.

Be Accurate

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing a mission statement is to be accurate, and only include things that actually relate to your business. Don’t simply include words that sound good. If you do that, you may end up with a mission statement that sounds catchy, but it loses its usefulness as a guide for your company.

Be Realistic

It’s good to be ambitious, but your mission statement should be realistic. If the mission statement sets a purpose and goals that are clearly unobtainable, employees will take it less seriously. Also, it can even discourage employees by reminding them of how far they are falling short.

Be Unique

Avoid writing a mission statement that’s generic or vague. One useful trick is to ask yourself if one of your competitors could use the exact same mission statement. This will help you focus on being more specific about your unique purpose, goals, and values.

Now you know what it takes to craft an effective mission statement. So put these tips into practice and you’ll have a clear and concise statement that can keep your company on track.


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