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CITB > Blog > Big Ideas > Do I Need a Mission Statement?

Do I Need a Mission Statement?

As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and lose sight of the bigger picture. Whether you just started your business, have been going at it for decades, or something in between, a mission statement can be invaluable. It serves as a guiding light, helping to define the reason your business exists.

Even if you started a business to “make a living,” it’s still worth thinking about the impact that you want your business to make on your customers—in other words, your mission allows you to message your value to customers. Let’s look at some examples from large companies; these are not in any particular order:

  1. Microsoft: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
  2. Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
  3. Uber: “To bring transportation—for everyone, everywhere.”
  4. Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
  5. Spotify: “To unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”
  6. Airbnb: “To create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.”
  7. Patagonia: “To build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
  8. Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
  9. Southwest Airlines: “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
  10. Etsy: “To keep commerce human and make using Etsy a memorable and rewarding experience for everyone.”

Why are we looking at large companies? They have the desire and the means to create a mission that is bigger than it sometimes seems to their customers—in other words, missions are aspirational: it’s what a company wants to be known for. Please read through them again and choose the ones where you believe the company IS its mission today.

Notice how their mission is to DO something, to create a result for people. They all start with a “To…”

So let’s picture that you started a Window Cleaning business. You have a vision to eventually have employees who are out there cleaning  windows for your dozens, or even hundreds, of customers. At the same time, you bring in the business and organize your workforce. But right now, it’s just you heading out to the next customer with your window-washing equipment.

What might your mission be? Pause and make one up for this particular solopreneur.

What came into my mind was the concept of bringing the brightest light into people’s homes and workplaces.

“To bring bright light into people’s homes and workplaces.”

Would you clean windows with more care, and more attention if you had that mission in your mind on every visit to a customer? Probably.

How about a mission for a firm of architects who create planes to extend people’s houses or remodel existing parts of their homes? What might their mission be? What would they care to be known for? Here’s my thought:

“To create beautiful and functional spaces that expand the potential of homes
for individuals and families.”

Missions influence actions—and with a mission in mind, you are true to what you want your business to stand for every day, day after day.

Mission statements also help communicate your brand’s philosophy to the outside world. People increasingly favor businesses that stand for something beyond simply making a profit; customers tend to choose organizations where the mission aligns with their personal beliefs. Creating an organization’s expansive objective in a mission statement can attract like-minded customers while building loyal customer bases.

Internally, mission statements help unify your workforce, whether that’s one person or thousands. Employees want more than monetary compensation in their work—they want purpose and meaning in what they do. A compelling mission statement can inspire employees and motivate them to work towards a common goal, ultimately increasing morale and productivity.

So now it’s time to create yours. Unlike Purpose, a mission is something you want to talk to get help with. Try drafting a few suggestions and sharing them with your managers, family, or friends. Get feedback. Sleep on it. It’s not something you have to do today or even next month. You’re looking for something that inspires you and your employees and customers. When you find that statement, you’ll know it’s the right one.

As an afterthought, mission statements are intended to be “for all time,” but in reality, they do get updated periodically. Think of mission statements as lasting ten years—it’s a good benchmark.

Whether you’re a new entrepreneur looking to establish your brand identity or a seasoned business owner in need of a refresh, a mission statement can be a powerful tool for success. Go create one!

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