What Is a Mission Statement? Definition and Guide

what is a mission statement

A mission statement is a brief description of why a company or organization exists. In one to three sentences, it explains what the company does, who it serves, and what differentiates it from competitors.

It’s used to provide focus, direction, and inspiration to employees while it tells customers or clients what to expect from the business. A mission statement is often part of a business plan.

Mission statement examples

The best mission statements are clear, concise, and memorable. Here are a few examples:

  • TED: Spread ideas.
  • Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Walmart: We save people money so they can live better.

How to write a mission statement

Well-crafted mission statements:

  • Identify the organization’s target market, audience, or customers.
  • Say what makes the business unique or provides its competitive advantage.
  • Are realistic and reasonable rather than grandiose or lofty.
  • Are relevant, specific, and believable.
  • Inspire employees.
  • Are short and to the point.

While a mission statement shouldn’t be written in isolation by one person if the organization employs many people, it’s not a job for a committee, either.

Leaders often ask a few employees to write one sentence that summarizes what the company does and stands for. They then compare them, looking for similarities, differences, and surprises.  They use that input to craft a statement that is honest and accurate rather than something the company aspires to achieve.

Testing the statement with employees before sharing it internally or externally helps generate useful feedback. Does it ring true? What would they change? Employees are the most important audience for the mission statement because they will need to “walk the talk." It needs to resonate with them.

How to use a mission statement

How the statement is used depends on the size and nature of the business. Smaller businesses might post it where all employees can see it or include it in every company slide deck.

Companies may also share it in marketing materials—on the website, in the company description, and in advertisements.

How it’s used, however, is less important than whether the statement is accurate and realistic, and whether employees and management use it to guide strategy and decisions.

What Is a Mission Statement? FAQ

What is an example of a mission statement?

An example of a mission statement is: "Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality products and services, while also striving to exceed their expectations and promote a positive, lasting relationship."

What is a mission statement in simple words?

A mission statement is a brief statement that outlines an organization's purpose, goals, and values. It serves as a guide for decision-making and helps to keep the organization on track.

What are the 3 parts of a mission statement?

  • Purpose: An explanation of the organization's reason for existing.
  • Vision: A description of what the organization wants to achieve in the future.
  • Values: A list of the core values that guide the organization's behavior and decisions.

What is a good mission statement?

A good mission statement is one that outlines the purpose and values of a company or organization. It should be succinct and clearly communicate the organization's goals and values. For example: "Our mission is to provide high-quality products and services that meet our customers’ needs and exceed their expectations, while maintaining our core values of respect, integrity, and excellence."