A good mission statement can communicate the essence of a company in less than 100 words, as you’ll see in the 10 great mission statement examples we share in this post. Marketing experts say good mission statements can do big things, like helping unify a company behind common goals; guide its strategic planning; set it apart from the competition, and chart its path into the future.
Not a bad day’s work for a few sentences, right?
In this post, we’ll define mission statements, list the 7 key elements every good one should include, and look at how those 10 mission statement examples achieve so much in so few words.
We hope this helps guide and inspire you along the way as you write mission statements for your clients or your own business.
What is a mission statement, anyway?
A mission statement is a short, concise, powerful definition of the essence of a business: its purpose, goals, values, and future direction.
It describes the “what we do” and “how we do it” of a business. Many times, it includes the “why we do it” as well, sharing the aspirations and long-range direction of the business. That’s sometimes covered in a separate “vision statement,” but many of the best mission statements cover vision, too.
A company vision should include their “why,” “how” and “what”
· Why the company does it
· How the company does it
· What the company does
All good mission statements cover these same key topics, but great mission statements are so unique and well thought out that they can only fit one specific company. They are pure distillations of that company’s culture.
To demonstrate that, let’s look at Southwest Airlines’ statement:
“Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit. We are committed to provide our employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”
In just 42 words, Southwest’s mission statement dedicates the company to providing the industry’s best customer service and describes how it will deliver that service. It doesn’t forget employees, either, promising to provide them with a stable workplace and equal opportunities for progress.
The company also created a 12-word vision statement that charts the airline’s future, speaks to customers, employees, and shareholders, and is completely aligned with its mission statement. It reads:
“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”
Southwest’s statement demonstrates another powerful aspect of mission statements. They are a powerful public commitment to its customers, employees, and the world at large---a commitment the company promises to live up to.
7 elements that make the best mission statements
In this section, we’ll dig more deeply into the key qualities of effective mission statements.
Be brief and concise
Clearly state your company’s purpose
Set your company apart
Show your company’s value in the marketplace
Be believable and accurate
Be unique and distinctive
Look to the future
Let’s briefly expand on those points:
1. Be brief and concise
Boil down the answers to the what, how, and why questions about the business into two or three sentences that total fewer than 100 words in length. Your statement should be clear, crisp, and compact. Make every word count. Here are writing tips to help you say a lot in a few words.
2. Clearly state the company’s purpose
Describe why the company exists. What problem are they solving? Make it plain and simple.
3. Set the company apart
Seize the chance to clearly describe how the company provides a product or service in ways that are different or better than your competition.
4. Show the company’s value in the marketplace.
Here’s where you clearly state why customers should buy from you. Do you offer the lowest prices? Biggest selection? Exceptional customer service?
5. Be plausible and accurate
Don’t overstate your advantages and ambitions, or your commitment may be unachievable and damage your credibility inside and outside the company. Make promises and commitments only if you’re sure they can be kept.