While your business plan covers your entire company, it’s not available for your customers to read and understand who you are and what you stand for. So, we use a mission statement instead to do that job.
In this article, we’ll see what a mission statement is, why it is important, how to write one for your business plan, and a few mission statements of popular brands.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is a short actionable statement that specifies your company’s core purpose, principles, and goals. It states the value your company creates for your customers, employees, stakeholders, and owners. In short, it is a snippet representing why your company exists and what it does.
You should revamp your mission statement as your company grows. This is because a mission statement is always written in the present tense. As your company evolves, so do your goals, philosophies, and the value you create.
Why Is a Mission Statement Important?
A mission statement is one of the first things you write in your business plan. It points to the direction and end goal of your company.
In a nutshell, it serves the following purposes:
- Shapes your company’s brand identity
- Serves as a navigational tool for business planning
- Motivates stakeholders to contribute to a common goal
- Attracts people that align with your philosophies
- Serves as a guide while making major decisions
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How to Write a Mission Statement For Your Business Plan
A business plan mission statement is barely three sentences long. But ironically, it is its brevity that makes it so tricky to write. If you don’t have the time to write one from scratch, you can download this mission statement template to make things easier. If you do have the time, follow these steps to write a mission statement for your company:
Step 1: Ask the right questions
Before you start writing, understand your business in its entirety. Articulating the answers to the following questions can be helpful:
- What is the industry you are set in?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your offerings?
- What are your USPs?
- What is the problem you solve for your customers through your offerings?
- What is the value you deliver through your offerings?
- What is your brand personality?
- What are your competitive advantages?
Step 2: Organize the answers
After answering all the above questions, organize them into the following categories:
Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profits, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than one leader could envision. – Harold Schultz, founder and former CEO of Starbucks
The value you add to your customers:
List down how you make your customers’ lives better. It can be through your products, the methods you use to deliver them, or through non-profit work and community service.
For instance, if you own a green tea brand, you add value to your customers by providing healthy beverages. Additionally, if you support recycling, you provide a sense of ethical consumerism.
The value you add to your employees:
Here, write down how you create value for your employees. These could be:
- Your employee retention strategies
- The benefits and perks you offer
- The work culture in your company
- Your training programs
The value you add to your owners:
Not many mission statements talk about the owners and stakeholders. However, it can be beneficial to state how your business adds value to them. Doing so can be used as a subtle indication to prospective investors that they might want to be associated with your company.
The impact you want to create:
Here, state the mission you want to achieve in the long run through your offerings. State the impact you aim to create via value addition for your target audience, employees, owners, and stakeholders.
Coming back to the green tea brand example, the goal for such a company could be to promote a healthy lifestyle and advocate for sustainability.
Step 3: Draft, edit, and review
Once you have organized all the answers, start creating drafts of your mission statement. Don’t make it a lengthy essay; remember, a mission statement is supposed to be short and simple.
These are the key elements of a good mission statement:
- Value addition: Mention how you create and deliver value to your customers, employees, investors, and society at large.
- Inspiration: Define the motive for people to follow you. Why do they want to buy from you, work with you, or invest in you?
- Make it reasonable: Don’t just write buzzwords. A mission statement should be accurate, ambitious, ethical, and achievable.
- Be specific: Show how your products help achieve your mission.
Create and compare multiple drafts and select the best one. Make sure to take your team’s suggestions and refine the statement as necessary. Once you are satisfied with it, you can put it down in your business plan.
Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building. – Dave Ramsey
Step 4: Update when needed
It’s crucial to keep updating your mission statement to align with your current state. As your company grows, your goals, target audience, and your principles evolve too. Update your statement regularly to reflect this progress.
Mission Statement Examples of Popular Brands
1. The mission statement of Starbucks:
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
In the first part of the statement, Starbucks describes the work culture it promotes and the customer experience it delivers. In the second part, it points to its mission of growing and expanding.
2. The mission statement of L’Oréal:
To provide the best in cosmetics innovation to women and men around the world with respect for their diversity.
L’Oréal’s mission statement is simple and direct. It focuses on two aspects. One is to provide the best products, and the second is to promote inclusivity and create products for a diverse population.
3. The mission statement of Apple:
To bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.
Apple’s mission statement doesn’t have much wordplay and gets across the point clearly. It puts emphasis on three key aspects: its products, its audience, and its scope of business.
Drive Action with a Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement can be exhausting, but its benefits are just as helpful. A business plan mission statement is a description of why your company exists. It gives you clarity which helps drive action, inspire people, and motivate employees.
It can also provide you with guidance when making tough business decisions and help stay on the right track. Follow the above-mentioned steps to write your mission statement—one that sets you apart from your competitors.