A clear, no-frills vision statement explains why your business exists and why people can feel good working for you and buying from you.
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
What is a mission statement?
In simple terms, and as defined by Merriam-Webster, a mission statement is “something that states the purpose or goal of a business or organization.” A mission statement explains why a company was formed and what the organization does. It defines the culture, ethics, values, fundamental goals and it all applies to key stakeholders.
That’s a lot to absorb but a clear, written mission statement when starting your business provides a guideline for decision-making that will help align and motivate your team. It allows and welcomes healthy changes — and gives you a vision for the future. Most importantly, a mission statement gives your business direction.
How will you develop your own mission statement? For starters, make your statement memorable, relatable and straightforward. For example, the mission statement of Casper, the mattress in a box company is “Great sleep, made simple.” Compare that to Albertsons, which is: “To create a shopping experience that pleases our customers; a workplace that creates opportunities and a great working environment for our associates; and a business that achieves financial success.”
That’s not the worst, I guess. At least it doesn’t sound like that was spun through the Mission Statement Generator but their statement doesn’t tell customers what Albertsons actually does. It’s a grocery store, if you’re curious. Somewhere in their statement they should have mentioned that they sell food.
Secondly, make your statement short, concise, and to the point — just like Caspers. Another good example is Kickstarter, which is, “To help bring creative projects to life.”
Finally, a mission statement should accurately and honestly sum up your organization. If you’re not sure where to start, then answer the following four questions to guide you:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it differently than others?
- Who do we do it for?
- What value do we provide our audience?
With that in mind, here are seven mission statements that you can use as inspiration. These statements make you stop what you’re doing and buy their product right now.
Mission: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit; Inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions; create value and make a difference.
First introduced back in 1886, Coca-Cola’s mission statement is a good example of saying what you want your brand to be doing, and then doing exactly what you said you would be doing.
If you don’t believe me, go back and watch the iconic and uplifting 1971 ad “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” which also ties into the company’s values of collaboration, leadership, integrity, passion, accountability, quality and diversity.
More recently — more and more people are becoming conscious about their health. Now, Coca-Cola has taken steps to help customers enjoy their products with less sugar.
Mission: At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Believe it or not — the Swedish-founded company has been around since 1943. Today, it’s the world’s largest furniture retailer. It’s probably because of the company’s mission statement — particularly the first line: “At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Instead of starting off with a mention about it’s affordable and innovative furniture — the company went with the “to make everyday life better for its customers,” route. It backs up this claim. They start by allowing customers to view showrooms and select their own functional furniture. They have large and varied accessories — and customers can save money purchasing in this store.
Mission: In our store or online, wherever new opportunities arise- Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. The one constant? John W. Nordstrom’s founding philosophy: offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.
Starting out originally as a simple shoe store in 1901, Nordstrom is a popular department store with close to 500 locations within the U.S. and Canada.
If you’ve shopped at Nordstrom — their mission statement shouldn’t be a surprise. The company focuses on the customer experience. It accomplishes this by providing top notch customer service. They always having someone on the floor asking if customers have already been helped — while also offering quality products.
Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Patagonia, founded in 1973, is a clothing company known for marketing and selling sustainable outdoor clothing. They provide philanthropic efforts to help the environment — and they highlight employees who are saving the world. Their mission statement lets their customers know this in one clear sentence.
Patagonia’s mission statement puts their values and what they’re committed to front and center. Even better — Patagonia has built a successful business by staying true to its core values every step of the way. This is a great example of a brand being authentic and putting its money where its mouth is.
5. Southwest Airlines.
Mission: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.
First taking flight in 1967 as Air Southwest, Southwest Airlines has become one of the world’s most popular and largest low-cost carrier airlines. The company has proven that it truly cares about two things: it’s customers and employees.
On your next trip fly with Southwest and be greeted by some of the friendliest employees in the sky. Browse the Southwest Magazine in your seat — and read the page where customers explain why they love traveling with Southwest. There’s even a page dedicated to the employees who go above and beyond both at work and in their community.
Despite the fact that the airline struggled to stay profitable for some time — they stayed true to their core values and mission statement and are now one of the most profitable airlines in the country.
Mission: Our mission is to inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
Sweetgreen, founded in 2007 is a fast-casual restaurant chain. They serve bowls and salads using healthy and local ingredients. What’s inspiring about their mission statement is that it should align with your values. This is because they’re connecting us with local farmers to provide us with locally grown and healthy food options.
Sweetgreen also is known for educating children with fitness, healthy eating and sustainability. The company also educates kids on where the food they eat come from. The company donates 100 percent of the proceeds to a local partner when a new store opens.
7. Warby Parker.
Mission: Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
Tired of spending too much money on glasses? So were the founders of Warby Parker. In 2010 they decided to solve this problem. The company makes their designer frames in-house so they can sell them at a more affordable price.
Warby Parker took that “rebellious spirit” a step further by making the process as painless and fun as possible. Go online, select five pairs to try-on at home for free — and keep what you want. The company has partnered with non-profits like VisionSpring to provide glasses to people in need.
Author: John Rampton