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How to write a mission statement – a small business guide

4-minute read

How to write a mission statement
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

30 June 2023

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When you start a business, one of the first things you’ll do is come up with a business plan – but you shouldn’t stop there. One thing that can really help you develop your business strategy, unite employees, and engage with customers is a mission statement.

Mission statements are a key part of any business’s success. Keep reading our guide to learn more about mission statements and how you can implement one in your business.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement should explain what your business does and why it exists. This includes what you offer to customers.

Your mission statement is different from your branding and shouldn’t be confused with a company tagline. However, you can use it externally as well as internally to help sell your business to potential customers. You could add it to your company website or make it your bio on social media – so making sure you write a clear statement is essential.

Internally, your mission statement should inspire and engage your employees with your business. It should remind your workers what they do and why they do it. You should share your company mission statement with any new starters on their first day.

Why is a mission statement important?

A mission statement is important because it gives your business direction. Any business decisions you make should reflect your mission. Whether you’re considering launching a new product, expanding your reach, or acquiring another business, your reasoning should always reflect your mission statement.

Your mission statement should also reflect your company values. When recruiting new staff, your mission statement can give a good idea of what the workplace culture and business practices are like. This can help you to attract the right candidates and boost employee retention.

Brown and Ginger is a small retail business owned by Jo, and she shared how important a mission is – particularly for new entrepreneurs just starting out: "Always ensure you have a ‘why’. A purpose to your business that goes beyond making money.

"That may be the satisfaction of being able to employ others or perhaps supporting a local community group or charity – something which makes the harder days worthwhile and always gives you something extra to fight for."

What are the three parts of a mission statement?

When writing your mission statement, you need to include three things:

  • what your business does
  • who your business is for
  • why you do what you do

Once you’ve answered the above, you need to condense your answers into a short and simple statement.

The best mission statements use concrete language and avoid jargon and embellishments. Don’t be tempted to use vague statements just because they sound good – the purpose of your mission statement is to drive your business forward, and the language needs to be actionable to reflect this.

How long should a mission statement be?

Your mission statement should never exceed three sentences – though the shorter the better and one strong sentence is the ideal mission statement length.

Remember that your mission statement doesn’t have to be seen externally, so prioritise it working for your staff and your business rather than potential customers.

How to create a mission statement

If you’re ready to create a mission statement for your own business, follow these simple steps to get started.

1. Look at existing mission statements

One of the best first steps when writing your mission statement is to get inspiration from existing mission statements. Many companies list their mission statements on their website, so this is a great place to look.

You don’t have to limit yourself to only companies in your industry or local area (though researching these can help), but look at some of the most well-known companies in the world. Whilst maybe not in your industry, these businesses are successful for a reason – and their mission statements will reflect that.

2. Review the data

If you’re already an established business and are just now creating a mission statement, you can work backwards. Look at your product offering and company culture, and think about your existing business goals and objectives.

You can interview employees and senior people in the business to get their input – as well as looking at customer feedback.

3. Use active verbs

Verbs are ‘doing’ words – and your mission statement is a way to show what your company is doing. When you look at examples of mission statements, you’ll notice that they all include strong verbs such as empower, connect, inspire, and nurture. Using an action verb like this shows that your business is proactive and evolving.

4. Don’t be afraid to adapt

Once you’ve created your mission statement, don’t feel like you’re locked in for life. Businesses are evolving all the time, so it makes sense that your mission statement might need to change.

Changing your mission statement isn’t the same as a total brand refresh, so change it when you need to. But it’s important to note that you want your employees and customers to believe in your mission statement, so frequently changing it can make it seem less authentic.

Take your time when making decisions like this – but ultimately, you know your business better than anyone.

Mission statement examples

If you’re still in need of inspiration, check out some of our favourite mission statements below:

  • Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to renewable energy”
  • Nike: “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)”
  • Google: “To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
  • Microsoft: “To empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”
  • LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”

And of course, Simply Business’s own mission statement: Insuring small businesses, enabling big dreams.

Mission vs vision statement: which do I need?

Mission statements are often confused with vision statements. Whilst these are similar concepts that work in unison, they’re different. The difference between a mission and vision statement is that vision statements are more of a long term goal.

If your mission statement shows what your company does (and wants to continue doing), your vision statement is what you hope to achieve through this. Your mission statement is the journey, and your vision statement is the goal. So your vision statement should inspire your employees to achieve that vision.

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Photo: Felix/
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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