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What is a mission statement?
Why write a mission statement, how to write a great mission statement, great mission statements: 10 examples, how to write a mission statement + 10 great examples.
16 min. read
Updated October 27, 2023
Why is an effective mission statement so valuable? It’s worth taking a minute to ask what it is about certain brands that keep us coming back. What is it about them that makes us spend more time, money, or effort over other options? Is it the price? Maybe the convenience? Or is it something more?
The brands and businesses that we really connect with do more than just supply a product or service . They showcase a purpose, a mission that we can get behind. This can be displayed in how they interact with customers, the organizations and communities they support, and even the way they develop their products.
And there’s no better way for a business owner to showcase this purpose, than through a well-written mission statement.
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Mission statement or vision statement?
- 10 Examples of Great Mission Statements
A mission statement is a simple action-oriented statement that explains your company’s purpose. It summarizes what your company does for customers, employees, and owners, and typically includes general descriptions of your organization, its core function, and its goals. In short, you’re explaining what you do and why you do it within a mission statement.
Depending on the focus of your business, your mission statement may be even broader. Explaining not just how you serve your customers and employees, but your community and the world at large. Some businesses even opt to separate this larger aspiration into what’s known as a vision statement.
A vision statement is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a vision for the direction of your company and what it aspires to be.
These two statements aren’t really interchangeable. They both reflect the purpose and goals of your business, but serve completely different purposes. Your mission statement is the roadmap to achieve your vision. Your vision statement is a much broader picture of the aspirations for your business.
These can be completely separate written statements for your business, or they can be combined into a more comprehensive mission statement. Having all three does allow you to utilize them for different business purposes, so it may be worth developing variations over time.
Speaking of variations, it’s important to note that your mission statement will likely evolve over time as your business grows and changes. So, don’t be afraid to make adjustments when it seems necessary, and avoid looking for the perfect version of your mission statement.
I’ve had a 30-year love-hate relationship with mission statements. I’ve read thousands. I love it when a mission statement defines a business so well that it feels like strategy—which does happen—and I hate it when a mission statement is generic, stale, and completely useless.
Just because a traditional business plan often includes a mission statement isn’t a reason to do one. If it’s not going to be useful for you and help guide your business, don’t bother. The vast majority of the mission statements are just meaningless hype that could be used to describe any business.
Don’t fall into the trap of writing a mission statement just because some checklist or expert said you had to. There are actually sites that poke fun at how most mission statements use vague, high-sounding phrases to say nothing. You should write a mission statement if you want to add clarity to your business goals and you want to get your employees, investors, and customers to understand what your organization is all about.
Developing your company’s first mission statement, or writing a new or revised one, is your opportunity to define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making. The daily routine of business gets in the way sometimes, and a quick refresh with the mission statement helps you take a step back and remember what’s most important: the organization has a purpose.
So how do you make a useful mission statement? Over the decades I’ve spent reading, writing, and evaluating business plans , I’ve come up with a process for developing a useful mission statement, and it boils down to these five steps.
1. Start with a market-defining story
A really good market-defining story explains the need, or the want, or—if you like jargon—the so-called “why to buy.” It defines the target customer or “buyer persona .” And it defines how your business is different from most others, or even unique. It simplifies thinking about what a business isn’t, what it doesn’t do.
Imagine a real person making the actual decision to buy what you sell. Why do they want it? How did they find your business? What does it do for them? The more concrete the story, the better. And keep that in mind for the actual mission statement wording: “The more concrete, the better.”
This isn’t literally part of the mission statement. Rather, it’s an important thing to have in your head while you write the mission statement. It’s in the background, between the words. If you’re having trouble getting started, make a quick list of what your company does and doesn’t do.
2. Define what your business does for its customers
Start your mission statement with the good you do. Use your market-defining story to suss out whatever it is that makes your business special for your target customer .
Don’t undervalue your business: You don’t have to cure cancer or stop global climate change to be doing good. Offering trustworthy auto repair, for example, narrowed down to your specialty in your neighborhood with your unique policies, is doing something good. So is offering excellent slow food in your neighborhood, with emphasis on organic and local, at a price premium.
This is a part of your mission statement, and a pretty crucial part at that—write it down.
If your business is good for the world, incorporate that here too. But claims about being good for the world need to be meaningful, and distinguishable from all the other businesses. Add the words “clean” or “green” if that’s really true and you keep to it rigorously. Don’t just say it, especially if it isn’t important or always true.
For example, Apple Computer’s 2020 mission statement is:
“Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms—iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS—provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it..”
That one obviously passes the test of defining the company with flying colors. Nobody could mistake that mission for generic hype. And it’s an interesting change from the early mission as defined by founder Steve Jobs:
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
Ikea, on the other hand, starts its mission statement with something that could be any company anywhere. “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the [sic] many people.” To its credit, it goes on to define a “rest of the mission” that could only be IKEA:
“We make this possible 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.”
And note, in this mission statement, how Sweetgreen incorporates a world vision into a product-oriented mission statement:
“Founded in 2007, Sweetgreen is a destination for delicious food that’s both healthy for you and aligned with your values. We source local and organic ingredients from farmers we know and partners we trust, supporting our communities, and creating meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to create experiences where passion and purpose come together.”
3. Define what your business does for its employees
Good businesses are good for their employees too or they don’t last. Keeping employees is better for the bottom line than turnover. Company culture matters. Rewarding and motivating people matters. A mission statement can define what your business offers its employees.
My recommendation is that you don’t simply assert how the business is good for employees—you define it here and then forever after make it true.
Qualities like fairness, diversity, respect for ideas and creativity, training, tools, empowerment, and the like, actually really matter. However, since every business in existence at least says that it prioritizes those things, strive for a differentiator and a way to make the general goals feel more concrete and specific.
Don’t worry about being fully unique
With this part of the mission statement, there’s a built-in dilemma. On the one hand, it’s good for everybody involved to use the mission statement to establish what you want for employees in your business. On the other hand, it’s hard to do that without falling into the trap of saying what every other business says.
Stating that you value fair compensation, room to grow, training, a healthy, creative work environment, and respect for diversity is probably a good idea, even if that part of your mission statement isn’t unique. That’s because the mission statement can serve as a reminder—for owners, supervisors, and workers—and as a lever for self-enforcement.
If you have a special view on your relationship with employees, write it into the mission statement. If your business is friendly to families, or to remote virtual workplaces, put that into your mission.
You may not need to focus on employees
And this is rare in mission statements. The vast majority are focused on messaging for customers. My recommendation here is not the norm. I include it because it’s good practice, even though not common.
While I consulted for Apple Computer, for example, that business differentiated its goals of training and empowering employees by making a point of bringing in very high-quality educators and presenters to help employees’ business expertise grow. That was part of the culture and, to my mind, part of the mission; but it wasn’t part of the mission statement. It could have been.
American Express, however, includes the team in its mission:
“We have a mission to be the world’s most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.”
4. Add what the business does for its owners
In business school, they taught us that the mission of management is to enhance the value of the stock. And shares of stock are ownership. Some would say that it goes without saying that a business exists to enhance the financial position of its owners, and maybe it does. However, only a small subset of all businesses are about the business buzzwords of “share value” and “return on investment.”
In the early years of my business, I wanted peace of mind about cash flow more than I wanted growth, and I wanted growth more than I wanted profits. So I wrote that into my mission statement. And at one point I realized I was also building a business that was a place where I was happy to be working, with people I wanted to work with; so I wrote that into my mission statement, too.
However, this element too, as with the suggestion about including employees, is unusual. Few mission statements do it. That’s understandable, since most mission statements are outward-facing only, aimed at customers and nobody else.
Still, some of the best mission statements incorporate a much broader sense of mission that includes, or at least implies, the mission of ownership.
Warby Parker, an eyewear company, does a great job at voicing a higher mission that includes customers, employees, and owners.
“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 business.”
5. Discuss, digest, cut, polish, review, and revise
Good mission statements serve multiple functions, define objectives, and live for a long time. So, edit. This step is worth it.
Start by considering developing a full mission statement for internal use and using a customer-facing subset for general publication. That’s common. Many companies have segmented mission statements, with sections set aside and categorized by type or goal. Use bullet points or sections if that works for you. Part of the reason people confuse mission with mantra and vision is that many businesses use them together, and many others also redefine them to fit their context. So what a company does for customers is often called vision, despite the formal definition.
Remember, form follows function, in mission statements, as in all business writing. Make it work for your business. Or don’t do it at all. If you want to call it a vision, and that works for employees and customers, then do that.
Cut out general terms
As you edit, keep a sharp eye out for the buzzwords and hype that everybody claims. Cut as much as you can that doesn’t apply specifically to your business, except for the occasional special elements that—unique or not—can serve as long-term rules and reminders. Unique itself, the word, means literally, the only one in the world. Use it sparingly. Phrases such as “being the best possible,” “world-class,” and “great customer service” mean little because everybody uses them. Having great customer service is way harder than writing that into a mission statement.
Read other companies’ mission statements, but write a statement that is about you and not some other company. Make sure you actually believe in what you’re writing—your customers and your employees will soon spot a lie.
Then, listen. Show drafts to others, ask their opinions and really listen. Don’t argue, don’t convince them, just listen. And then edit again.
And, for the rest of your business’s life, review and revise it as needed. As with everything in a business plan, your mission statement should never get written in stone, and, much less, stashed in a drawer. Use it or lose it. Review and revise as necessary, because change is constant.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to get you started on your own mission statement, here are a few of my favorites.
1. Southwest Airlines
“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.”
What’s most interesting about Southwest’s mission statement is that they don’t mention anything about getting from point A to point B. Their mission is all about how they differentiate what, these days, can be seen as a commodity experience. They also focus on their own employees and the “spirit of the company”, not just the customer experience.
2. Urban Outfitters
“A lifestyle retailer dedicated to inspiring customers through a unique combination of product, creativity and cultural understanding. Founded in 1970 in a small space across the street from the University of Pennsylvania, Urban Outfitters now operates over 200 stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe, offering experiential retail environments and a well-curated mix of women’s, men’s, accessories and home product assortments.”
Urban Outfitters focuses on the experience that they deliver and the focus on what they do. Their mission drives what their stores look like and what their goal is: to inspire. They also nod to their heritage of starting small and growing.
“At Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived. We believe that it’s in the wild, untamed and natural places that we find our best selves, so our purpose is to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.”
REI’s mission focuses mostly on what it wants to do for its customers, but hidden in the mission statement is a mission to preserve the environment as well. Their focus on “getting outside” is what creates a connection between them and their customers.
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks expands on its mission statement by stating its core values. This is really an extension of the mission statement and explains how they focus on their customers, how they grow their company, and how they work with employees. You can read their values here .
“Walgreens’ mission is to be America’s most-loved pharmacy-led health, well-being, and beauty retailer. Its purpose is to champion everyone’s right to be happy and healthy.”
Walgreen’s mission really defines their goals: what they want to achieve and in what product categories they want to achieve it in. They also bring in their broader purpose when they talk about “everyone’s right to be happy and healthy.”
“Make work-life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.”
While Slack’s mission statement is short, it implies a lot. “Work” doesn’t just mean their customer’s work, it means their own work at their company. Their mission statement serves them both internally and externally.
7. The Coca Cola Company
“Refresh the world. Make a difference.”
Coca Cola takes a slightly different approach with a statement of purpose and then a vision statement. Their purpose is essentially their mission statement and says a lot for being so short. They want to refresh people in both body and spirit while making a positive impact on the world. Their vision also implies their goal of serving the entire world’s population which hits on their corporate and shareholder goals.
“We’re in business to save our home planet.”
Another short mission statement that says so much more than you would think at first glance. First and foremost, Patagonia doesn’t say that they are a non-profit – they state that they’re a business. And, this implies that they need to be a strong, healthy business to meet their goal of saving the planet. Their mission applies to their employees, their customers, their products, and their activism.
9. charity: water
“charity: water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.”
charity: water’s mission statement is clear and to the point – it simply describes what it does and who it does it for. For most non-profit mission statements, this is enough.
“Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.”
Similar to other mission statements, Asana blends a message about what they do with a higher goal of enhancing the world outside of their company. Yet, they still hint at their target market and goals of being a world-wide company, thus improving the lives of their employees and shareholders.
Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.
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While your business plan covers your entire company, it’s not available for your customers to read and understand who you are and what you stand for. So, we use a mission statement instead to do that job.
In this article, we’ll see what a mission statement is, why it is important, how to write one for your business plan, and a few mission statements of popular brands.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is a short actionable statement that specifies your company’s core purpose, principles, and goals. It states the value your company creates for your customers, employees, stakeholders, and owners. In short, it is a snippet representing why your company exists and what it does.
You should revamp your mission statement as your company grows. This is because a mission statement is always written in the present tense. As your company evolves, so do your goals, philosophies, and the value you create.
Why Is a Mission Statement Important?
A mission statement is one of the first things you write in your business plan . It points to the direction and end goal of your company.
In a nutshell, it serves the following purposes:
- Shapes your company’s brand identity
- Serves as a navigational tool for business planning
- Motivates stakeholders to contribute to a common goal
- Attracts people that align with your philosophies
- Serves as a guide while making major decisions
How to Write a Mission Statement For Your Business Plan
A business plan mission statement is barely three sentences long. But ironically, it is its brevity that makes it so tricky to write. If you don’t have the time to write one from scratch, you can download this mission statement template to make things easier. If you do have the time, follow these steps to write a mission statement for your company:
Step 1: Ask the right questions
Before you start writing, understand your business in its entirety. Articulating the answers to the following questions can be helpful:
- What is the industry you are set in?
- Who is your target audience ?
- What are your offerings?
- What are your USPs?
- What is the problem you solve for your customers through your offerings?
- What is the value you deliver through your offerings?
- What is your brand personality?
- What are your competitive advantages?
Step 2: Organize the answers
After answering all the above questions, organize them into the following categories:
Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profits, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than one leader could envision. – Harold Schultz , founder and former CEO of Starbucks
The value you add to your customers:
List down how you make your customers’ lives better. It can be through your products, the methods you use to deliver them, or through non-profit work and community service.
The value you add to your employees:
Here, write down how you create value for your employees. These could be:
- Your employee retention strategies
- The benefits and perks you offer
- The work culture in your company
- Your training programs
The value you add to your owners:
The impact you want to create:.
Here, state the mission you want to achieve in the long run through your offerings. State the impact you aim to create via value addition for your target audience, employees, owners, and stakeholders.
Step 3: Draft, edit, and review
Once you have organized all the answers, start creating drafts of your mission statement. Don’t make it a lengthy essay; remember, a mission statement is supposed to be short and simple.
These are the key elements of a good mission statement:
- Value addition: Mention how you create and deliver value to your customers, employees, investors, and society at large.
- Inspiration: Define the motive for people to follow you. Why do they want to buy from you, work with you, or invest in you?
- Make it reasonable: Don’t just write buzzwords. A mission statement should be accurate, ambitious, ethical, and achievable.
- Be specific: Show how your products help achieve your mission.
Create and compare multiple drafts and select the best one. Make sure to take your team’s suggestions and refine the statement as necessary. Once you are satisfied with it, you can put it down in your business plan.
Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building. – Dave Ramsey
Step 4: Update when needed
It’s crucial to keep updating your mission statement to align with your current state. As your company grows, your goals, target audience, and your principles evolve too. Update your statement regularly to reflect this progress.
Mission Statement Examples of Popular Brands
1. the mission statement of starbucks:.
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
In the first part of the statement, Starbucks describes the work culture it promotes and the customer experience it delivers. In the second part, it points to its mission of growing and expanding.
2. The mission statement of L’Oréal:
To provide the best in cosmetics innovation to women and men around the world with respect for their diversity.
L’Oréal’s mission statement is simple and direct. It focuses on two aspects. One is to provide the best products, and the second is to promote inclusivity and create products for a diverse population.
3. The mission statement of Apple:
To bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.
Apple’s mission statement doesn’t have much wordplay and gets across the point clearly. It puts emphasis on three key aspects: its products, its audience, and its scope of business.
Drive Action with a Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement can be exhausting, but its benefits are just as helpful. A business plan mission statement is a description of why your company exists. It gives you clarity which helps drive action, inspire people, and motivate employees.
It can also provide you with guidance when making tough business decisions and help stay on the right track. Follow the above-mentioned steps to write your mission statement—one that sets you apart from your competitors.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who decides the mission statement.
The mission statement is decided by somebody authoritative. Most often, it is decided and framed by founders, the CEO, or the chairperson. Many times, such people even team up to develop a mission statement. This team consists of senior members and board members who know the company inside out. Sometimes, the team may also include experts who have worked on thousands of mission statements.
Can we change the mission statement?
Changing a mission statement is uncommon but not impossible. So yes, over the course of years if the mission is changed, companies may change their mission statements. Aside from that, the change could be for rebranding purposes, change of product/services, change of target audience, change of authority, or so on.
If the company changes, does the mission statement change too?
If the mission of the company has changed, then yes. However, the change of the company means many things. Has the product and services changed? Has the target audience changed? Has the authority changed? Sometimes, the change of the company also means the presence, absence, or change of merger and/or association. In any case, the company can change its mission statement. However, that’s not compulsory. Sometimes, even with such drastic changes, the companies don’t change their mission statements. Simply because their mission hasn’t changed.
How important is it to have a mission statement?
A mission statement isn’t optional, it’s a necessity. Through it, you answer some of the most important business questions: why does your company exist? What change is it trying to make in society? How does the world benefit from its existence? Answering philosophical questions like this is necessary to keep you and your team on track.
About the Author
Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.
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Think of your mission statement as a statement of why you are starting your company and the executive summary as a statement of how your company will operate. The mission statement describes your vision and the executive summary is a concise outline of the contents of your business plan. The mission statement gives direction to your planning efforts and the executive summary is a marketing document to be used in attracting investors.
Writing a Business Plan
Your business plan is a serious, factual description of your business model, marketing model, revenue model, operations model, build-out and financial projections. In the introduction or company description section, many people include a mission statement. Although it is not necessary to the business plan document, creating a mission statement is an exercise that serves to give direction to the business planning process because it defines a company's character -- its reason for being.
The mission statement is a sentence or, at longest, a paragraph that concisely outlines the character of your company and its goals. Start by defining what your company does, who it serves, why it operates the way it does, how it competes in its industry and what goals it is expected to meet. Your mission statement is the only place in a business plan where superlatives such as best, most successful, largest and premier are acceptable. Your mission statement describes what you want your customers to see in your company.
An executive summary is approximately one page long and briefly outlines the main points of the business plan. It is used as a stand-alone summary that can be presented to potential investors, partners, service providers and customers to give them an idea of what the company does, how it operates, its expectations and its needs. Its purpose is to entice the reader to ask to see the entire business plan.
Your mission statement is the beginning of your brand messaging -- how you present your enterprise to the consumer. It creates the image that your marketing will convey through customer relations, business development and advertising. It provides the vision of the founders of the company in a concise statement that creates company culture and customer interaction, and can be interpreted into print and graphics. The executive summary is a quick overview of the business model, revenue model and financial projections -- it is function while the mission statement is image.
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Victoria Duff specializes in entrepreneurial subjects, drawing on her experience as an acclaimed start-up facilitator, venture catalyst and investor relations manager. Since 1995 she has written many articles for e-zines and was a regular columnist for "Digital Coast Reporter" and "Developments Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley.
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32 Mission and Vision Statement Examples That Will Inspire Your Buyers
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Think about the brands you purchase from over and over. Why do you choose to buy products and or services from them even when cheaper options exist?
Well, there's a good reason for it — because of their values which are expressed in their mission statement. As consumers, we like to patronize businesses that have values we believe in.
Still, Loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. Building brand loyalty , like creating mission and vision statements, takes time. If you’re in a bit of a time crunch, use this table of contents to find precisely what you’re looking for to inspire the development of your company’s mission:
What is a mission statement?
Mission vs Vision Statements
Best Mission Statement Examples
Best Vision Statements Examples
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A mission statement is a simple statement about the goals, values, and objectives of an organization. It helps a company respond to change and make decisions that align with its vision.
This brief description helps customers, employees, and leadership understand the organization's top priorities.
As a company grows, it may reach its early goals, and they'll change. So, it's important to revise mission statements as needed to reflect the business's new culture as it achieves its goals and develops new targets.
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What makes a good mission statement?
The best brands combine physical, emotional, and logical elements into one exceptional customer (and employee) experience that you value as much as they do. A good mission statement will not only explain your brand’s purpose, but will also foster a connection with customers.
When your brand creates a genuine connection with customers and employees, they'll stay loyal to your company, thereby increasing your overall profitability.
Mission statements also help you stand out in the marketplace, differentiating your brand from the competition.
What are the 3 parts of a mission statement?
Your mission statement should clearly express what your brand does, how it does it, and why the brand does it. You can quickly sum this up in your mission statement by providing the following:
- Brand Purpose: What does your product or service do, or aim to offer and for whom?
- Brand Values: What does your company stand for? For example, are you environmentally conscious and provide a more sustainable solution to solve a problem? Values are what make your company unique.
- Brand Goals: What does your company accomplish for customers? Why should they purchase from you instead of other competitors?
With these three components, you can create a mission that is unique to your brand and resonates with potential customers. Next, we’ll guide you step by step on how to write a proper mission statement to build on as your company evolves.
How to Write a Mission Statement
- Explain your company’s product or service offering.
- Identify the company’s core values.
- Connect how your company's offering aligns with your values.
- Condense these statements into one.
- Make sure it’s clear, concise, and free of fluff.
1. Explain your company’s product or service offering.
You want prospects to understand what your company does in a literal sense. This means explaining your offering in basic, clear terms. Your explanation should answer the most basic questions like:
- Are you selling a product or service?
- Why would customers buy it?
- How does your offering solve for the customer?
Record your answers and focus on how your product or service brings value to your buyer personas , otherwise known as your target audience.
2. Identify the company’s core values.
Now, this is where you can start thinking bigger. You didn’t just make a product or service at random. Instead, you’re most likely motivated by a set of core values .
Core values are deeply ingrained principles that guide a company’s actions. Take HubSpot’s culture code, HEART , for example:
These are principles that not only company employees respect, but are principles that our customers appreciate as well. By identifying core values that hold meaning on personal and organizational levels, you’ll have an appealing set to add to your mission statement.
3. Connect how your company's offering aligns with your values.
So how can your company offering serve your core values? You need to draw a connection between the two in a way that makes sense to the public.
For example, if one of your core values centers on innovation, you want to frame your product or service as pushing boundaries and explaining how it helps customers innovate their lives or business practices. Essentially, you’re taking the literal benefit of the offering and expanding it to serve a higher purpose.
4. Condense these statements into one.
A mission statement can be as short as a single sentence, or as long as a paragraph, but it’s meant to be a short summary of your company’s purpose. You need to state the what, who, and why of your company:
- What: The company offering
- Who: Who you’re selling to
- Why: The core values you do it for
Once you have successfully conveyed your message, it’s time to refine and perfect your statement.
5. Make sure it’s clear, concise, and free of fluff.
Above all, your mission statement is a marketing asset that is meant to be clear, concise, and free of fluff. It should clearly outline the purpose of your company offering and show the common goals the company is working to achieve. You should also have other team members or advisors read the mission statement and make adjustments if needed according to their recommendations.
A vision statement is aspirational and expresses your brand’s plan or “vision” for the future and potential impact on the world. They often serve as a guide for a brand’s future goals and explain why customers and employees should stick around for the long haul.
What makes a good vision statement?
A good vision statement should be bold and ambitious. They’re meant to be inspirational, big-picture declarations of what your company strives to be in the future. They give customers a peek into your company’s trajectory and build customer loyalty by allowing them to align their support with your vision because they believe in the future of your brand as well.
What are the 3 parts of a vision statement?
Your company vision is meant to be inspirational while also aligning with the company’s mission. A vision statement should have the following characteristics:
- Aspirational and Ambitious: Have a lofty outlook for what you want your business to accomplish? Here’s the place to put it. Your vision statement should be aspirational and showcase how your business will grow in the future.
- Practical and Achievable: While your statement should be ambitious, it shouldn’t be impossible. Set a goal that is both challenging and practical.
- General: Your vision should be broad enough to encompass all of your brand’s overall goals. Think of it as umbrella for your mission statement and company objectives to nest under.
Both mission and vision statements are often combined into one comprehensive "mission statement" to define the organization's reason for existing and its outlook for internal and external audiences — like employees, partners, board members, consumers, and shareholders.
The difference between mission and vision statements lies in the purpose they serve.
Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement
A mission statement clarifies what the company wants to achieve, who they want to support, and why they want to support them. On the other hand, a vision statement describes where the company wants a community, or the world, to be as a result of the company's services. Thus, a mission statement is a roadmap for the company's vision statement.
A mission statement is a literal quote stating what a brand or company is setting out to do. This lets the public know the product and service it offers, who it makes it for, and why it’s doing it. A vision statement is a brand looking toward the future and saying what it hopes to achieve through its mission statement. This is more conceptual, as it’s a glimpse into what the brand can become in the eyes of the consumer and the value it will bring in longevity.
In summary, the main differences between a mission statement and a vision statement are:
- Mission statements describe the current purpose a company serves. The company's function, target audience, and key offerings are elements that are often mentioned in a mission statement.
- Vision statements are a look into a company’s future or what its overarching vision is. The same elements from the mission statement can be included in a vision statement, but they'll be described in the future tense.
Now that we know what they are, let’s dive into some useful examples of each across different industries.
Mission and Vision Statement Template
Free Guide: 100 Mission Statement Templates & Examples
Need more examples to build your mission statement? Download our free overview of mission statements – complete with 100 templates and examples to help you develop a stand-out mission statement.
Create a mission statement with these useful templates , like this example below:
- Life Is Good: To spread the power of optimism.
- sweetgreen: Building healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
- Patagonia: Build the best product, Cause no unnecessary harm, Use business to protect nature, Not bound by convention.
- American Express: Become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations.
- Warby Parker: To inspire and impact the world with vision, purpose, and style.
- InvisionApp: Transform the way people work together by helping them collaborate better. Faster. On everything. From anywhere.
- Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- IKEA: To offer 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
- Nordstrom: Offering customers the very best service, selection, quality, and value.
- Cradles to Crayons: Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school, and at play.
- Universal Health Services, Inc.: To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
- Workday: Our core values guide everything we do — Employees, Customer Service, Innovation, Integrity, Fun, Profitability.
- Lowe's: Together, deliver the right home improvement products, with the best service and value, across every channel and community we serve.
- Tesla: Accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy.
- Invisible Children: Partners with local peacebuilders across central Africa to end violent conflict through locally-led solutions.
- TED: Spread ideas, foster community and create impact.
- Microsoft: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
- Disney: To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling.
- Meta: Giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
- Vista Equity Partners: By providing technology expertise, operational guidance and capital for sustainable growth, we empower organizations across all industries to stay ahead in the digital economy.
- Dunkin': Everything we do is about you. We strive to keep you at your best, and we remain loyal to you, your tastes and your time. That’s what America runs on.
1. Life Is Good : To spread the power of optimism.
The Life is Good brand is about more than spreading optimism — although, with uplifting T-shirt slogans like "Seas The Day" and "Forecast: Mostly Sunny," it's hard not to crack a smile.
There are tons of T-shirt companies in the world, but Life is Good's mission sets itself apart with a mission statement that goes beyond fun clothing: to spread the power of optimism.
This mission is perhaps a little unexpected if you're not familiar with the company's public charity: How will a T-shirt company help spread optimism? Life is Good answers that question below the fold, where the mission is explained in more detail using a video and with links to the company’s community and the Life is Good Playmaker Project page . We really like how lofty yet specific this mission statement is — it's a hard-to-balance combination.
2. sweetgreen : Building healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
Notice that sweetgreen's mission is positioned to align with your values — not just written as something the brand believes. We love the inclusive language used in its statement.
The language lets us know the company is all about connecting its growing network of farmers growing healthy, local ingredients with us — the customer — because we're the ones who want more locally grown, healthy food options.
The mission to connect people is what makes this statement so strong. And, that promise has gone beyond sweetgreen's website and walls of its food shops: The team has made strides in the communities where it's opened stores as well. Primarily, it offers education to young kids on healthy eating, fitness, sustainability, and where food comes from.
3. Patagonia : Build the best product, Cause no unnecessary harm, Use business to protect nature, Not bound by convention.
Patagonia's mission statement spotlights the company’s commitment to help the environment and save the earth. The people behind the brand believe that among the most direct ways to limit ecological impacts is with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them stay in use.
In the name of this cause, the company donates time, services, and at least 1% of its sales to hundreds of environmental groups worldwide.
If your company has a similar focus on growing your business and giving back, think about talking about both the benefit you bring to customers and the value you want to bring to a greater cause in your mission statement.
4. American Express : Become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations.
Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.
— Simon Sinek (@simonsinek)
The tweet above is from Simon Sinek , and it's one that we repeat here at HubSpot all the time. American Express sets itself apart from other credit card companies in its list of values, with an ode to excellent customer service, which is something it’s famous for.
We especially love the emphasis on teamwork and supporting employees so that the people inside the organization can be in the best position to support their customers.
5. Warby Parker : To inspire and impact the world with vision, purpose, and style.
In one sentence, the brand takes us to the root of why it was founded while also revealing its vision for a better future.
The longer-form version of the mission reads: "We're constantly asking ourselves how we can do more and make a greater impact—and that starts by reimagining everything that a company and industry can be. We want to demonstrate that a business can scale, be profitable, and do good in the world—without charging a premium for it. And we've learned that it takes creativity, empathy, and innovation to achieve that goal." This further shows how Warby Parker doesn't hold back on letting its unique personality shine through. Here, the mission statement's success all comes down to spot-on word choice.
6. InvisionApp : Transform the way people work together by helping them collaborate better. Faster. On everything. From anywhere.
We love the way this statement is emphasized by bringing it back to InVision’s customers — top brands like Google, Zillow, and Slack — and linking to those stories. This mission statement is brief, authentic, and business babble-free — which makes the folks at InvisionApp seem trustworthy and genuine.
7. Honest Tea : To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
Honest Tea's mission statement begins with a simple punch line connoting its tea is real, pure, and therefore not full of artificial chemicals. The brand is speaking to an audience that's tired of finding ingredients in its tea that can't be pronounced and has been searching for a tea that's exactly what it says it is.
Not only does Honest Tea have a punny name, but it also centers its mission around the name. For some time, the company even published a Mission Report each year in an effort to be "transparent about our business practices and live up to our mission to seek to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages."
8. IKEA : To offer 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
The folks at IKEA dream big. The vision-based mission statement could have been one of beautiful, affordable furniture, but instead, it's to make everyday life better for its customers. It's a partnership: IKEA finds deals all over the world and buys in bulk, then we choose the furniture and pick it up at a self-service warehouse.
"Our business idea supports this vision ... so [that] as many people as possible will be able to afford them," the brand states .
Using words like "as many people as possible" makes a huge company like IKEA much more accessible and appealing to customers.
9. Nordstrom : Offering customers the very best service, selection, quality, and value.
When it comes to customer commitment, few companies are as hyper-focused as Nordstrom is. Although clothing selection, quality, and value all have a place in the company's mission statement, it’s clear that it’s all about the customer: "Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible."
If you've ever shopped at a Nordstrom, you'll know the brand will uphold the high standard for customer service mentioned in its mission statement, as associates are always roaming the sales floors, asking customers whether they've been helped, and doing everything they can to make the shopping experience a memorable one.
10. Cradles to Crayons : Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school, and at play.
Cradles to Crayons divided its mission and model into three sections that read like a game plan: The Need, The Mission, and The Model. The "rule of three" is a powerful rhetorical device called a tricolon that's usually used in speechwriting to help make an idea more memorable. A tricolon is a series of three parallel elements of roughly the same length — think "I came; I saw; I conquered."
11. Universal Health Services, Inc. : To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
A company thrives when it pleases its customers, its employees, its partners, and its investors — and Universal Health Services endeavors to do just that, according to its mission statement. As a healthcare service, it specifically strives to please its patients, physicians, purchasers, employees, and investors. We love the emphasis on each facet of the organization by capitalizing the font and making it red for easy skimming.
12. JetBlue : To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
JetBlue's committed to its founding mission through lovable marketing, charitable partnerships, and influential programs — and we love the approachable language used to describe these endeavors. For example, the brand writes how it "set out in 2000 to bring humanity back to the skies."
For those of us who want to learn more about any of its specific efforts, JetBlue offers details on the Soar With Reading program, its partnership with KaBOOM!, the JetBlue Foundation, environmental and social reporting, and so on. It breaks down all these initiatives really well with big headers, bullet points, pictures, and links to other web pages visitors can click to learn more. JetBlue also encourages visitors to volunteer or donate their TrueBlue points.
13. Workday : Our core values guide everything we do — Employees, Customer Service, Innovation, Integrity, Fun, Profitability.
Workday, a human resources (HR) task automation service, doesn't use its mission statement to highlight the features of its product or how it intends to help HR professionals improve in such-and-such a way.
Instead, the business takes a stance on values. There's a lot of great tech out there. But at Workday, it revolves around the people. We love how confident yet kind this mission statement is. It observes the state of its industry — which Workday believes lacks a human touch — and builds company values around it.
14. Lowe's : Together, deliver the right home improvement products, with the best service and value, across every channel and community we serve.
Sometimes the best way to communicate is direct. Lowe's mission statement hones in on the who, how, what, and why behind this powerful home improvement brand.
It's also a great lesson in how the words and phrases you choose show your audience the force behind your mission. This mission statement begins with the word "together." So, no matter what location, products, or channel, the top priority of its mission is that it happens as a team.
That focus on togetherness also creates a foundation for the volunteer, scholarship, and charitable work that this organization does.
15. Tesla : Accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy.
A car company's punny use of the word "accelerating" is just one reason this mission statement sticks out. But Tesla makes this list because of how its mission statement describes the industry.
It may be a car company, but Tesla's primary interest isn't just automobiles — it's promoting sustainable energy. And, sustainable energy still has a "long road" ahead of it (pun intended) — hence the world's "transition" into this market.
Ultimately, a mission statement that can admit to the industry's immaturity is exactly what gets customers to root for it — and Tesla does that nicely.
16. Invisible Children : Partners with local peacebuilders across central Africa to end violent conflict through locally-led solutions.
Invisible Children is a non-profit that raises awareness around the violence affecting communities across Central Africa, and the company takes quite a confident tone in its mission.
The most valuable quality of this mission statement is that it has an end goal. Many companies' visions and missions are intentionally left open-ended so that the business might always be needed by the community. But Invisible Children wants to "end" violent conflict facing African families with local solutions. It's an admirable mission that all businesses — not just nonprofits — can learn from when motivating customers.
17. TED : Spread ideas, foster community and create impact.
We've all seen TED Talks online before. Well, the company happens to have one of the most concise mission statements out there.
TED, which stands for "Technology Education and Design," has a succinct mission statement that shines through in every Talk you've seen the company publish on the internet. That mission statement starts with "Spread ideas." Sometimes, the best way to get an audience to remember you is to zoom out as far as your business's vision can go. What do you really care about? TED has recorded some of the most famous presentations globally. Then, it hones in on what great ideas can do — foster community and create impact.
18. Microsoft : To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Microsoft is one of the most well-known technology companies in the world. It makes gadgets for work, play, and creative purposes on a worldwide scale, and its mission statement reflects that. Through its product offering and pricing, it can empower every person and organization.
19. Disney : To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling.
Disney’s mission statement goes beyond providing ordinary entertainment. It intends to tell stories and drive creativity that inspires future generations through its work. This is an exceptional mission statement because it goes beyond giving consumers programs to watch, but ones that excite and change the way people see them and the world around them.
20. Meta : Giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is a major social media platform with a concise vision statement. It provides a platform to stay in touch with loved ones and potentially connect to people around the world.
21. Vista Equity Partners : By providing technology expertise, operational guidance and capital for sustainable growth, we empower organizations across all industries to stay ahead in the digital economy.
Some businesses sell a clear and easy-to-understand product or service. But many companies need to combine branding with product education. This means that some mission statements need to not only communicate how a brand does business but also make it easy to see what it's selling.
Vista Equity Partners is a leading technology brand that supports a wide range of people, technologies, and products. In its mission statement, it clarifies what its company offers and why. It does this using the terms its audience uses most often to describe how it can help.
22. Dunkin' : Everything we do is about you. We strive to keep you at your best, and we remain loyal to you, your tastes and your time. That’s what America runs on.
Dunkin’s mission goes beyond remaining a large coffee chain. Rather, the brand wants to be the consummate leader in the coffee and donut industry. It wants to become a place known for fun, food, and recreation.
Now that we’ve gone over successful mission statements, what does a good vision statement look like? Check out some of the following company vision statements — and get inspired to write one for your brand.
Vision Statement Example
“Our vision is to improve sustainable farming practices across the globe.” This vision statement is ambitious and broad enough to be an umbrella statement in line with a brand's mission.
1. Alzheimer's Association : A world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association conducts global research and gives quality care and support to people with dementia. This vision statement looks into the future where people won’t have to battle this now incurable disease. With the work that it's doing in the present, both employees and consumers can see how the organization achieves its vision by helping those in need.
2. Teach for America : One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
Teach for America creates a network of leaders to provide equal education opportunities to children in need. This organization’s day-to-day work includes helping marginalized students receive the proper education they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Its vision statement is what it hopes to see through its efforts — a nation where no child is left behind.
3. Creative Commons : Help others realize the full potential of the internet.
This nonprofit’s vision statement is broad. It helps overcome legal obstacles to share knowledge and creativity around the world. By working closely with major institutions, its vision is an innovative internet that isn’t barred by paywalls.
4. Chipotle : We believe that food has the power to change the world.
Delicious tacos, burritos, and bowls aren't the only things that Chipotle is passionate about. Many fast food brands differentiate with products. But Chipotle offers a belief instead. This idea fuels practices like using local and organic produce, using responsibly raised meat, and cutting greenhouse emissions. Chipotle’s vision statement makes it clear what inspires and drives the actions of this international brand.
5. Australia Department of Health : Better health and wellbeing for all Australians, now and for future generations.
This government department has a clear vision for its country. Through health policies, programs, and regulations, it has the means to improve the healthcare of Australian citizens.
6. LinkedIn : Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
LinkedIn is a professional networking service that gives people the opportunity to seek employment. Its vision statement intends to give employees of every level a chance to get the job they need.
7. Purely Elizabeth : We believe that food can heal.
Purely Elizabeth is a food brand selling granola, oatmeal, and cereal products. Its extended vision statement reads: "When you eat better, you feel better. It’s that simple. That's why we use superfoods with vibrant flavors and rich textures to create delicious foods to help you thrive on your wellness journey."
Food brands have a lot of competition, and this brand's broad and inspiring vision offers a chance to connect more deeply with customers. Its podcast, blog, and recipe resources offer useful tools and tips for anyone looking to heal their bodies with their food choices.
8. AllHere : Connecting All Families with the Right Support at the Right Time
Attendance is a big challenge for schools and families, especially with students in middle and high school. AllHere offers AI services like mobile messaging to overcome administrative and communication challenges. This helps students, parents, and teachers get the support they need for student success.
This vision statement emphasizes that this challenge is bigger than individual habits. It's an empowering vision of an educational system that works for everyone.
9. Southwest : To be the world's most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
Southwest Airlines is an international airline that strives to serve its flyers with a smile. Its vision statement is unique because it sees itself not just excelling in profit but outstanding customer service, too. Its vision is possible through its strategy and can lead its employees to be at the level they work toward.
10. Supergoop! : Change the way the world thinks about sunscreen.
For a vision statement to excite, but not overwhelm, it should be both broad and specific. Company mission statement examples like the one above from Supergoop! show that it may be tricky, but it's also possible to balance those two extremes.
This vision says that sunscreen is important AND that sunscreen is more than sunscreen. This simple statement helps the audience think more about what its products are and what they should expect from those products. It's about education, awareness, and quality. And this vision statement keeps the tone positive, bright, and direct.
Inspire Through Brand Values
Brand values play a much more significant role in customer loyalty than you think. Showing that your business understands its audience — and can appeal to them on an emotional level — could be the decision point for a customer’s next purchase. We hope you found some insight in this post that can help you brainstorm your inspiring vision and mission statements for your business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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100 examples and templates of mission statements to help you build your own.
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How to Write a Mission Statement
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Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.
© The Balance, 2018
A mission statement articulates a company's purpose. It announces to the world at large why your company exists. Every business should have a mission statement as a way of unifying the organization.
You can think of a mission statement as a combination of what your business or nonprofit does and how and why it does it, expressed in a way that encapsulates the values that are important to you. It can be a challenge to clearly and concisely bring these ideas together, though. Here is a simple guide—along with some examples—for writing your own company mission statement.
Describe What Your Company Does
There's no need to be fancy here. Just say it simply for the moment. What product or service does your business produce or provide? Get down to the bare basics and don't add any filler. You will elaborate on this purpose in the next steps.
My company's purpose is to:
- Provide educational services
- Grow market vegetables
- Design phone apps
- Provide financial advice
- Sell women's clothing
- Provide pet sitting services
Describe How Your Company Does What It Does
This is the tricky part, because we're not looking for a detailed description of your business' physical operations here. Instead, we're looking for a description of how your business generally operates. This usually means incorporating one or more of your core values into your description.
So take a moment to list the core values that are important to express in your business. Here are some sample values that you may want to use when you write a mission statement:
- Provide high product quality
- Provide superior customer service
- Protect the quality of the environment
- Ensure equal access to resources
- Encourage innovation /creativity
- Practice sustainable development
It might be helpful to focus on your business' core competencies when you're considering which values are worthy of including in your mission statement. Zero in on one (or two at the most) to add to your description of what your company does.
Mission Statement Examples
Here's what the first three examples from step one might look like when you add values to them.
- Sell shoes of the highest quality.
- Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success.
- Grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices.
Remember, these are not finished yet. There's one step to go before your mission statement is complete.
Add Why Your Company Does What It Does
This is the part of your mission statement that describes your spark—the passion behind your business.
Why does your business do what it does? For some people, it helps to think back on why they started their business in the first place.
This is what our three mission statement examples might look like when you add "why" to them:
- Sell shoes of the highest quality so every customer can find a pair of shoes they actually love to wear.
- Provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community.
- Grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices.
When you're finished, have another look at your mission statement and see if it captures what you want to say or if there's a better way of phrasing it. Be sure to change the phrase "my company's purpose" to the name of your company.
"My company's purpose is to grow market vegetables using organic, sustainable farming practices to give people safe and healthy food choices,"
"At Earth's Bounty, we grow market vegetables in a way that's good for the earth and good for the table."
And, "Our company's purpose is to provide educational services that allow all children to experience learning success and become life-long learners and contributing members of our community,"
could be better phrased as:
"Our company, Hopscotch Learning, exists to provide educational services that allow all children to experience success in learning and success in life."
Put Your New Mission Statement to Work
Once you've crafted your business's new mission statement, you'll want to put it to work right away.
Besides directing your business planning , you want your mission statement to be front and center in the minds of everyone who works in or interacts with your business. As the statement of why your business exists, it also explains to them why they would want to do business with you.
Some businesses go so far as to make their mission statements the themes of their advertising campaigns. If you do nothing else, you should make sure your mission statement is highly visible on your business premises, website, and all your marketing materials.
A good mission statement isn't just a slogan; it's the foundation of your operations manual—and it can't provide guidance if people aren't familiar with it.
Besides having mission statements to communicate who they are and what they do, successful small businesses also have vision statements to describe their ultimate achievements. You can follow a similar process to create your own vision statement.
Examples of Famous Mission Statements
Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images
Virgin Airways : "Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways... to embrace the human spirit and let it fly."
Tesla : "Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."
Facebook : "Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them."
Starbucks : "To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."
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