A mission statement is a single sentence that outlines what your company does, how it does
it, and why it does what it does. It’s more than just marketing copy — a great mission
statement can be what catches the attention of a major investor, convinces a high-quality executive to join the company, or turns a
group of individuals into a team.
Since startups face so
many challenges in their early stages, founders should seize every opportunity to
stabilize and strengthen their venture. A strong mission statement is one of the many ways
founders can strengthen their team to fend off future challenges. (Another, of course, is
investing in startup insurance.)
We designed the generator below to help you build a mission statement that conveys the most
important information about your business in one concise and powerful statement. Once you
have your generated mission statement, you can use it as a jumping-off point to tweak,
adjust, expand, and edit it until it feels perfect for you.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A business mission statement is a brief declaration outlining a company’s purpose. This
should cover what a company does with regards to their values and open-ended goals.
The mission statement is both customer- and employee-facing: Its purpose is to explain the
company to prospective clients and provide organizing principles behind which the business’s
employees can unite to achieve a common goal. It is a key element to success in any number
of procedures that are crucial to a new or growing business, from attracting high-quality
executives and keeping employees motivated to securing necessary funding or
planning an IPO.
Moving forward with a weak mission statement (or no mission statement at all) can place your
company’s future success at risk. So, although it may be a challenge, it’s worth the time
and effort to write, edit, and revise your mission statement until it’s perfect.
Parts of a Mission Statement
Though different companies’ mission statements will contain different information, all
business mission statements should include three key pieces of information:
- What the company does
- How the company does it, and
- Who the company does it for
Sounds simple, right? It is, sort of — the challenge lies in fitting this information into a
single sentence without it turning into a run-on. Use two sentences if you feel it’s really
necessary, but any more than that and you’ll include information that would be better suited
to your company’s vision, values, or motto.
What Your Company Does
The main purpose of a mission statement is to communicate what a business does. Feel free to
get creative with the verbs you use to state what you do. For example, a law firm could
“provide arbitration services,” or it could “arbitrate,” “mediate,” “litigate,” or even
“advise,” “counsel,” “defend,” or “prosecute” — just to name a few.
Consider using unique verbs like:
The more specific your vocabulary, the fewer words you need to use to make your point. This
will leave more space for the next two sections of your mission statement.
How Your Company Does It
Next, your mission statement should express how your company does what it does. Focus on the
most notable or important elements of your company’s process — if you’re an eco-startup,
then it’s more important to state that you work sustainably than it is to mention you work
creatively or skillfully.
You can also opt for a longer description of how your company works by using a descriptive
phrase instead of individual words. For example, a law firm could say they “provide legal
services affordably,” or they could say they “provide affordable legal services by employing
a sliding fee scale.”
Why Your Company Does It
Lastly, your mission statement should include why your company does what it does. Why is your
work important? What changes does your work make?
Though this section should be uplifting and even a little aspirational, be careful to stay in
the present with your description. You want to communicate why your company’s work is
important now, not what your company hopes to accomplish at some point in the
Mission vs. Vision vs. Values vs. Motto
Many companies — even Fortune 500s and household brands — confuse the concept of a mission
statement with the company’s vision, values, or motto. While all four of these statements
will include overlapping themes and information, they each serve distinct purposes.
The mission statement is longer than a motto but shorter than a vision statement, and should
communicate the most important information about the company in as concise a fashion as
possible. This sentence should catch a potential buyer or
investor’s attention quickly even if they only give it a glance.
A vision statement outlines your long-term, grander goals for the company’s future. It’s more
important for a vision statement to be inspiring than it is to be realistic, but at the same
time, you want to avoid setting a vision that’s clearly hyperbolic or impossible.
Many companies create lists of company values that are fundamental to the business’s
personality and character. These values should pertain both to how the employees of your
company work, and the values you want your company to stand for in the eyes of clients, partners, and investors.
Finally, a motto is a short phrase or sentence that conveys the spirit of the company and its
product in a way that’s both catchy and memorable. Typically, mottos are most helpful to
brands that sell to consumers and want to make their product impossible to forget.
Mission Statement Examples
Now that we’ve broken down the elements of a mission statement, let’s take a look at some
real-world examples and see what works, what doesn’t, and what you can use to inspire your
own mission statement.
Strong Business Mission Statement Examples
Our mission is to continually raise the bar of the customer experience by using the
internet and technology to help consumers find, discover and buy anything, and empower
businesses and content creators to maximize their success.
Amazon’s mission statement is specific enough to be meaningful, but still broad enough that
every branch of Amazon’s business — e-commerce, grocery delivery, audiobooks, film and
television, and more — still fits under the umbrella of this description.
Citi’s mission is to serve as a trusted partner to our clients by responsibly providing
financial services that enable growth and economic progress.
Citi cleverly cuts down on sentence length by incorporating its “why” — enabling growth and
economic progress — into its “how” instead of articulating them separately. It’s short,
sweet, and to the point.
Our mission is to utilize the power of Moore’s Law to bring smart, connected devices to
every person on earth while serving as a role model for how companies should
Intel’s mission statement references a “Moore’s Law,” which is a term that the average person
probably wouldn’t recognize. But since Intel primarily sells to — and employs — scientists,
the company’s mission statement only needs to appeal to scientists.
Evernote’s mission is to help individuals and groups to remember everything, turn ideas
into action, and work effortlessly together.
Instead of outlining how Evernote works as a note-taking app, this mission statement makes
subtle reference to the app’s defining features like its unique web clipper function and its
ability to facilitate collaboration on projects via the cloud.
Mission Statement Mistakes
To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
While this is a great motto, it’s too vague to work as a strong mission statement for
JetBlue. A good test to determine whether a statement is too vague is to replace the company
name with another brand and see if it still makes sense. This statement could be describing
any other airline, an in-flight magazine publisher, or a fireworks display company.
Venmo’s mission is to change people’s relationships with money and each other.
This is another example of a mission statement that’s too vague. Almost any consumer
financial institution, financial education product, or credit repair service could use
Venmo’s mission statement as their own. It’s not necessary to articulate exactly how the app
works, but Venmo’s mission statement should have information that’s unique to its product.
Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM, empowers companies to
connect with their customers in a whole new way.
This mission statement starts strong, but the “how” doesn’t tell us anything about the
company’s purpose or impact. Avoid vague phrases in your mission statement like “in a whole
new way,” and opt instead for phrases that actually explain your company and mission.
At Smartsheet, our mission is to empower anyone to drive meaningful change – for
themselves, their businesses and even for the world.
Smartsheet has a strong “why” — so strong, in fact, that it takes up the entire mission
statement. While it’s clear what Smartsheet hopes to achieve, this mission statement skips
what Smartsheet does. This mission statement only works for people who are already familiar
with the product.
Though writing a mission statement is hard work, it’s work that
more than pays off in the end. Especially in the early stages of a company’s founding,
failing to unite and inspire team members and outside investors can cause a startup to crash
before it gets off the ground. A strong central purpose gives employees something to rally
around and convinces investors to take the risk to bet on your ultimate success. It helps a
company start strong and — just like an insurance
policy — gives it a better chance at long-term success.