Whether lofty or concrete, a company's mission statement attracts consumers and gives a sense of direction to employees. Most major companies have one, and many entrepreneurs also find that mission statements lend an air of credibility to their businesses.
"A mission statement serves as a kind of compass--it provides a sense of direction," says Jeffrey Abrahams, author of 101 Mission Statements From Top Companies. "This can provide a competitive advantage and give a small business a brand image that shines bright."
Your mission statement highlights several parts of your business. It gives your business a sense of purpose and shares a promise with consumers, employees and the community. This statement can also make your company stand out against competitors. Some of the most commendable mission statements, says Abrahams, are only one sentence long, such as Nike's "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world" and Anheuser-Busch's "Through all of our products, services and relationships, we will add to life's enjoyment." Mission statements are especially important for startups, Abrahams says, because they explain how goals are going to be achieved, whether those goals are providing outstanding service or achieving a certain sales goal.
After creating a mission statement, it's best to follow it up with a vision (an explanation of where the company wants to be in the future) and a strategy (how that vision will be executed). This gives your company a set plan for achieving its goals. "A mission statement [is] a tool that highlights your commitment," says Abrahams, "which can give customers greater peace of mind."