Why should you write a powerful business mission statement?

by Jim Kaspari

When you take the time and effort, involve the right people, and follow the guidelines in this article, your company’s mission statement will powerfully:

  1. Convey your company’s business personality.  In other words your image, soul, philosophy and heart.

  2. Tell the world why the company exists and what the business purpose is.

  3. Guide and motivate your team towards where the business is going … to the next quantum leap level.

  4. Show the world how your products, services and how you perform is better, different, and unique.

  5. Keeps you and your team on track and continuously moving forward.  It’s too easy to get “busy” and lose the longer term goals, vision and mission.

What are the key components of a powerful business mission statement?

  1. Where your company is going in the next 2-5 years.

  2. Your company’s purpose.  Why was it started?  Why is it important?  What makes people feel good when they do business with you?  Why do your employees grin ear to ear because they work there?

  3. Your business goals.  The author of Good to Great recommends BHAG’s – Big Hairy Audacious Goals!  Remember goals for your team, the company, customers, financial, suppliers and community.  Be descriptive and show what it looks, sounds and feels like to achieve your mission.

  4. A description of the heart and soul of your business.  Include your core business values.

  5. Your unique selling proposition [USP].  What makes your company stand out from the rest?  How will your products be different, better, unique, higher quality, and special?  What technologies, systems, processes, hiring practices, thoughts, behaviors and disciplines will you employ to get there?

  6. Include measures of your progress.  It should be easy to create action plans and milestones from these measures.  Be sure you will know when you’ve arrived and it’s time to create a new mission and goals.

  7. All of the above are meaningful and lofty.  This statement is bold and even a bit uncomfortable.  It will pull everyone into working at their highest potential.

How to write and use a powerful business mission statement:

Do not rush this process.  As you’ve read above, this statement when carefully thought-out and crafted will serve you, your company, your team, customers, vendors and community for decades.  Take your time and be sure to involve representatives  and key stakeholders in the process.  Even if you come up with it yourself or you are a sole proprietor, have a few wise mentors review your work and provide honest feedback.

You can make the process fun.  Start with core values and then have the team brainstorm the key elements of a mission statement.  At a minimum, the corporate personality, USP and BHAG.  If you come from the heart and be courageous, and think about what’s in it for the clients, team and community, you can’t go wrong.

Remember in brainstorming, there’s no bad or stupid ideas.  Encourage creativity, even silliness to get the best ideas.  Often the best ideas come when the “normal” process is extinguished.  It is also a good idea to have an experienced facilitator or business coach to guide you through this important process.

Use passionate, fun and exciting adjectives.  I’m picturing the old Bat Man TV episodes … build some Pow!  Biff!  Splat!  (metaphorically speaking, of course) into your statement.  Make it bold, inspiring, and motivational.  Make your team and customers proud to support the company in moving towards your goals.

Once you have paragraphs of beautiful, descriptive and zesty words, it’s time to start narrowing it down.  Through discussion and trial and error, get rid of the more common prose, and keep the highlighted stand-out words and phrases.  An ideal statement will be one to 5 sentences.

Favorite business mission statement examples:

*Note – these don’t follow all the guidelines in this article, but are favorites because of the concise, inspirational and philosophical wisdom in them.

Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

Life is Good: “To spread the power of optimism.”

American Express: “We have a mission to be the world’s most respected service brand.  To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.”

Nordstrom: “We work relentlessly to give the customers the most compelling customer experience possible.  We offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.”

And a final Mission Statement … my personal favorite of all time is actually Bruce Lee’s Definite Chief Aim (you recognize this from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich) – from Bruce Lee: