Writing a Mission Statement

By writing a mission statement, you can help keep the purpose of your company in the forefront of every employee's mind. Your mission statement should inspire your staff to strive to do their best and will also inform your customers of what goods and services you provide.

What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a concise description of the nature of your business and the goods and services provided. The mission statement is usually short and to the point, although some companies also include a "vision statement" along with the mission statement, which is sometimes a couple of paragraphs long, detailing more of the purpose of the business. The concepts described in the mission statement are usually visionary and meant to be inspiring and motivational in nature. Practical strategies are not usually detailed in a mission statement.

How do I write a mission statement?
The mission statement should clearly depict the purpose of the business, the goods or services provided, and the intent of the company as to how it will serve both its customers and employees. The mission statement has three essential components:

  1. Purpose of business
    You'll need to figure out what the larger purpose of your business is, aside from making money. To figure out what that is, you may want to ask your staff what needs your business meets that are admirable and important.
  2. Goods or services provided
    Now you'll need to tie the actual goods or services you provide into the larger purpose you determined above. For example, if you are a tire manufacturer, do your tires promote road safety? Are your tires the safest? The most durable? The longest-lasting? How do your tires fit into that bigger picture?
  3. Corporate intent towards customers and employees
    Finally, you'll need to establish what your corporate intent is for both your employees and your customers. Are you committed to reducing work-related injuries on the job by promoting work safety? Do your products help the consumer use less energy, resulting in a greener world? Does your service provide comfort to those who are in pain? Find the virtues of your corporate intent, and extol them in your mission statement.

How to integrate employee and customer responses into your mission statement
When writing up your mission statement, you may want to tap into two valuable resources: customer comments and employee input. Often your customers and employees have a different view of your company and its value than you as an executive may have. Incorporate some of the ideas contributed by your employees and customers for a mission statement that will inspire loyalty.

Here are some suggestions for getting this valuable feedback:

  1. Brainstorm with your staff
    Involve your top-level staff in a brainstorming session, listing off company goals and contributions to customers, employees and society as a whole.
  2. Solicit input from employees
    Send out an e-mail or comment cards asking for input and commentary on how the company is doing and what suggestions employees may have for a mission statement. Make it clear that you will be using the feedback for inspiration as you write up the mission statement.
  3. Collect comments from customers
    Ask customers to respond to comment cards with suggestions for improvement and acknowledgement of services provided so you can see what benefits customers recognize.

Sample Mission Statement
This is a sample mission statement for a fictitious HVAC company.

Mitchell's HVAC has been heating and cooling homes in the Boston area for the past twenty-five years. Using only the highest-quality heating and cooling systems, we'll guide your family toward the most energy-efficient and cost-effective system appropriate for your home. Our licensed HVAC technicians are respectful, conscientious and timely because, at Mitchell's HVAC, we're one big happy family dedicated to treating you like you're a member of our family. We're committed to keeping homes warm in the most bitterly cold New England winters and providing cool relief during the dog days of summer.

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