The Importance of a Mission Statement in Business

Wall carving of Starbucks' mission statement in one of their coffee houses Eric Shimizu

A mission statement is a brief description of your company's goals to be shared with employees and the public. Whether it is designed to identify specific deliverables or an overarching, large scale mantra, it is essential to get one written down and distributed as part of your wider brand strategy

Indeed, the importance of a mission statement is evident in many different aspects of your company, including:

  • Internal communications
  • Strategic planning
  • Strengthening the company brand

To illustrate how, we've broken down each element and detailed what a mission statement can do for your business.

Internal Communications

Crafting a coherent mission statement will help your employees and managers share ideas and collaborate, as well as crystallise your company's goals and set the tone for internal interactions. 

It's not just theoretical, either; having a mission statement has real-world benefits. A recent study performed by LinkedIn found that employees of a mission-driven workplace were over 50% more likely to stay at the same company for more than five years.

Here are two ways it can aid internal communications in your company:

It Establishes a Company Culture

One of the most important benefits of a good mission statement is that it will lay the groundwork for your company's culture.

Whether it prioritises global initiatives or promotes the spirit of progress that you want to instil in your organisation, your mission statement will be at the forefront of any decision-making process. From an HR perspective, it will also be one of the first things potential job seekers identify about your company, attracting the right kinds of people to fit in seamlessly.

An excellent example of a mission statement that emphasises this is Amazon's: "To be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online." For employees, this emphasises where their focus should lie – on delivering a customer-focused experience to consumers all over the world.

It Creates a Template for New Ideas

Writing a mission statement is, in itself, an opportunity to think up new goals, methods and solutions to the issues that face your industry. It sets the standard for how you and your team will evaluate these problems and will be a guide to overcoming them.

An effective statement should shape your company's thinking in a way that is distinct from your competitors. This will help you to find the best path to developing better products, services and solutions.

By creating an active guiding principle to be shared with your staff, you can also test out the notion of whether you have witnessed that mission statement in action. This is a useful metric that you can employ to make sure that your company is on the right path and developing in the way that you would like.

Strategic Planning

Having a mission statement influences how your company moves towards its goals. It should be an actionable statement that lays out the broader approach of how you and your team will resolve any issues.

It Guides the Company Forward

An effective mission statement points your company towards the future and helps keep it that way. It should consider what will make your company more effective as it grows. 

While you can give a nod to what has helped your company succeed in the past (especially if you are modifying your original statement), it should ultimately be a progressive declaration of how your company will improve itself and the world around it going forward.

It Shapes Company Strategy

Writing a mission statement allows you to assess the overall path that your company will pursue to achieve its long-term goals.

It should assess what the core competencies of your business are, and what your employees need to do to keep things moving forward. A good example of this concept in practice is Google's statement, which is "to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

The act of establishing a mission statement requires that you isolate the most critical features and goals of your company. By simplifying the complexities of your day-to-day operations, you gain a better understanding of the essence and vital elements of why your business exists in the first place.

It Creates Consistency

A mission statement is an excellent way to make sure your entire team is on the same page. In a larger organisation, for instance, different departments have different goals. These short-term goals can dominate employees' days, weeks and even months and, as a result, distract from the long-term purpose of your company.

By putting together a compelling statement, you can put those shared goals front and centre. You can reframe the conversation of what your company does and utilise the opportunity to encourage an internal dialogue about what parts of your business are not working. This way, you can make sure that your company doesn't have components that may be undermining one another.

Strengthen Company Brand

A mission statement isn't only a useful tool for improving processes within your company. It is also a valuable tool to help communicate what your company does and how it does it to the outside world. It is an integral part of establishing your company's brand and sharing it with the world.

It Exerts a Powerful Impression

A good mission statement will make a lasting impression on how your company is seen in the public eye. It is an opportunity to steer the conversation to what your company does and introduce the reasons why it does it.

It can also add significant depth to the day-to-day work that your company does and explain the passion that drives your business. It can be an opportunity to share the intention of your work and help potential customers and investors understand your business' place in the wider world.

This message is also an opportunity to put your company's message in the most simple and straightforward terms that the public will understand.

It Evaluates What's Important

Your mission statement dictates what is most important to your company and then drives it towards action. It explains how your product or service will improve your customers' lives.

By cancelling out all the extra noise that may accompany a large organisation, you can remind the public of why your company is – or should be – valuable to them. It is a succinct message that can be understood instantly by anyone who sees it. In this way, you will be able to solidify your company's brand and all that is associated with it. 

For instance, Microsoft's mission is "to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more." This is an easy to understand declaration that speaks to Microsoft's global ambitions while emphasising their customer-centric business model.

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Creating a solid mission statement is a necessary step for every entrepreneur that wants to establish themselves and, without one, it's difficult to define your company culture or your brand strategy.

If you need some inspiration, then don’t forget to take a look at our compilation of the best mission statement examples!

What defines your company's mission statement? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.