Mission statements are not just for large corporations. As an owner of a small business, you can benefit from going through the exercise of writing a mission statement. In addition to re-connecting with a “why,” it can also communicate an important part of your business to your stakeholders and give them focus.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement answers the question “What impact will you have on the world?” It’s your core purpose, your reason for being.
Here are a few examples of mission statements from large companies you’ve probably heard of:
Harley-Davidson: We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products, and services in selected market segments.
Darden Restaurants: To nourish and delight everyone we serve.
FedEx will produce superior financial returns for shareowners by providing high value-added supply chain, transportation, business, and related information services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners, and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.
Ford: We are a global family with a proud heritage passionately committed to providing personal mobility for people around the world.
Levi-Strauss: People love our clothes and trust our company. We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.
At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.
NIKE: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services, and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative, and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
A mission statement differs from a vision statement because a vision statement communicates what the company wants to be, instead of the impact they want to have. Once you know what that impact is, you’ll be able to write your own mission statement.
Sharing Your Mission Statement
There are many ways you can share your mission statement.
Make sure your employees know it
Make sure you engage your employees and other stakeholders in living it
Display it on the ‘About’ page of your website
Add it to your marketing materials where appropriate
Use it when recruiting new employees
If it’s short, use it on promotional items such as mugs and t-shirts
Frame it and hang it in your office
Mention it in speeches you give
A mission statement is something to be proud of and something that should make people smile. It should motivate and energize you. Once you’ve written it or if you already have one, be sure to share it with us.
About the Author - Lisa Wollney started her career at ECS in 1988 as an intern and then joined the firm permanently in 1989 after graduating from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business. Lisa's areas of expertise include accounting, financial statement review, and compilation engagements, corporate and personal income tax preparation and lease accounting for small and mid-size lessors. In her free time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and supporting both of her daughters' very busy activity schedules. Ms. Wollney is a licensed CPA in the state of Illinois and one of ECS’ eleven Certified Lease and Finance Professionals (CLFP).