Say there’s a job that you want to apply to, you will need a CV, something to tell them what you’re all about. Some background on the skills, values and purpose behind the reason you are applying to that specific job will also be needed. A company’s ‘Mission Statement’ performs a similar function by telling people what the purpose of your company is, the core values you possess and the skills that will benefit them – should they choose to invest in your brand.
What Is A ‘Mission Statement’?
A mission statement is a short, all-encompassing statement, that defines the purpose and core values of a company or organisation. It is a summary of what your company does and how it does it. The benefit of having a good mission statement is that it helps communicate this summary of your values to clients, investors and employees.
It is generally a very short statement, usually around one or two lines. In some cases, it can be a paragraph. The mission statement may even go beyond explaining what the business does as an entity. Elaborate on how it helps the community grow or how it is useful to the customer. Give people a reason to invest in your brand and the values you propose.
The ‘Mission’ Is Not The ‘Vision’
The key difference to note between the mission statement and the vision statement is the fact that the mission remains the same for the most part. Throughout the company’s lifecycle, the core values and what it strives to be every day stays the same, more or less. The vision statement, on the other hand is more encompassing of the future to come, the goals the business is aiming to achieve, and it can change several times.
While the two look the same and sound similar on the surface, they are very unique when it comes to their individual purposes. Think of a mission as the manifestation of the company’s values. An identity of sorts.
The mission is a constant in the life-cycle of a company. So, make every single word count for something.
Things To Know Before Jumping The Gun
A mission statement helps the company achieve a certain level of transparency with customers, stakeholders and investors, all the while making it very clear what the goals are. It helps keep things on track and keeps them going by providing a sense of direction. The vision statement is something that a company can work towards – the end goal for a fixed timeframe if you will.
A mission will help the brand stick to the core values as the company works towards those goals. It is a guideline of sorts. Another advantage is the reliability it brings to the table. If a company is facing a large-scale restructuring and is looking down the barrel of a significant change, the mission will help keep things smooth, as it reminds everyone of what they are working for.
Though they are short, crisp statements, they pack a punch and serve a crucial role in building the foundation of the business. The time and money you spend developing your mission statement could be significant if you want it to stand apart from the crowd.
How To Write The Perfect Mission Statement
The length and size of a mission statement can vary vastly from company to company. It just depends on the message you want to communicate with the audience, to get them to invest in the brand. Some of the biggest companies often have the simplest of statements.
With all those websites and articles out in the digital world, there are a million different ways and tips on how to write your mission statement. For example, PayPal has a crisp and to-the-point mission statement that reads: “To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.” This is a perfectly acceptable approach should you prefer the short and sweet message, but regardless of the different styles, the fundamentals will stay the same across the board. These are the things you need to grasp to get started, so here they are:
First of all, ask yourself: What does my company offer? It could be goods or services, whatever the case, start there. Next step is to outline how you offer it to the customer, highlighting the convenience that your brand offers the customer that is superior to the competition. Be careful, you need to say it in a way that doesn’t come off as boastful. Just state the facts of why they should go for your brand.
The technical aspects aside, the audience wants to see the core of the brand. It could be top-of-the-line customer service or satisfaction, giving them the most value for money or how green your business is. Make it something that gives everyone a reason to pause and invest in your story, rather than just scroll over it like another sales advertisement. Give the audience a human moment.
At this point you are probably thinking: That is a lot to fit into a few lines! Do not worry, these are just some of the main points to include in the outline of your statement. Subtlety is key here.
Finally, consider hiring a professional writer to help narrow the focus of the mission statement. It will cost you a bit, but it is worth the extra effort. A polished and perfected mission statement can work wonders for the brand. Having said that, it is important to note, that you don’t have to stuff everything you think of or every point mentioned above, into your statement. Use what works best for the brand and the goal you have in mind. The simpler, the better.
Examples of Great Mission Statements:
LinkedIn – “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Amazon – “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
Alibaba Group – “To make it easy to do business anywhere.”
Twitter – “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
Do not underestimate the importance of these few lines of text. They represent all that you stand for and want to achieve as a business.
It Is Not Permanent!
Mission statements are not set-in stone. Yes, they remain the core of the company’s values for years to come and serve as a guide to achieving the vision statement’s purpose, but even core values have a limited shelf-life in today’s economy. A business needs to grow and evolve with the times. This is especially true of the mission statement as it forms the core values of a company.
As society, politics and belief systems change and morph, the mission statement will also have to change with that to stay relevant and relatable to the audience. A mission statement from the 1950s, will not be applicable, or in any way relatable to today’s customers because their personal values have changed so much over the generations.
Don’t be afraid to change things up now and then to keep things light and fresh, even top companies change their mission statement, once every 10 years or so. Check out our article on Organisation Culture, to learn more on how to implement all these tips and tricks effectively into your business’s work-flow for a smooth and easy transition.
For every good mission statement, there can always be a poorly written one on the other end as well. If it is too fancy and unrealistic, employees and management alike will experience friction trying to stick to those values. It could also send across the wrong message about the brand’s core values to the customers and employees. If that happens, the damage is nearly irreversible.
For example, let us take a look at MGM Resorts’ mission statement: ‘MGM Resorts International is the leader in entertainment & hospitality-a diverse collection of extraordinary people, distinctive brands and best in class destinations.’ This is nothing more than a well-worded pat on the back. The self-flattering nature of the statement fails to deliver any valuable information to the consumer about the company’s values, goals or directives. Avoid this at all costs.