A mission statement is a precise statement that defines what a company does and what purpose it serves. It is generally a short, 1-2 sentence statement that may incorporate the company’s corporate strategy and long-term vision.
Examples of a Mission Statement
Microsoft’s mission statement
Microsoft is an American multinational company that develops, manufactures, licenses, and sells technology products, including computer software, electronics, and personal computers. It is also one of the largest corporations in the world, alongside companies such as Apple, Inc. and Amazon.com, Inc.
Microsoft’s current mission in 2023 is:
“To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
The statement above is an example of a mission statement that provides a broad enough scale of scope to explain what the company does, and it is also inspirational and aspirational. It also defines Microsoft’s strategy, which is reaching out to the world and empowering all individuals and organizations.
Corporate Finance Institute’s mission statement
Our mission statement at CFI is to enhance the skills, knowledge and productivity of finance & banking professionals. This describes what we do. Our vision describes what we are aspiring to achieve, which is to be an enduring resource for finance & banking professionals.
Why is a Mission Statement Important?
The combination of a mission, vision, and values helps provide context about business and defines things that matter to the company. These serve a business in two important ways:
Guiding the management team in defining & implementing strategies that reinforce the company’s identity and achieve its goals.
Helping key stakeholders such as customers, investors, media, and employees to understand what the business does, what it is striving to achieve, why it exists, and the manner in which the company works.
Creating a Mission Statement
A great mission statement uses simple, clear, memorable language. Complicated, long, jargon-filled statements should be avoided, as it will make it harder for people to understand the mission and feel connected to it.
When creating a mission statement for a company, it can be helpful to create answers to these questions about the business:
What do we do?
Why do we do it?
Who do we do it for?
What would happen if we did not do this?
Why is this work important? Why does it matter?
While mission statements should be written to be as timeless and enduring as possible, it’s not uncommon to revise a mission statement as the company evolves over time. A business will review its statement periodically to ensure it captures the current mission of the company.
Difference Between a Vision and Mission Statement
A vision statement describes an ideal, aspirational future state that a company wants to achieve, whereas a mission statement describes an organization’s purpose and what it does today. While there is a difference, as you look at examples, you will notice that many “vision statements” sound like “mission statements,” and the terms are sometimes even used interchangeably.
A simple way to define the difference is that a mission statement describes what a company does, and a vision statement describes the company’s highest long-term aspirational goal.
Rise of a Purpose Statement
The mission statement, vision, and values are traditionally the three most common business descriptions that explain what a company does and what it aspires to achieve. In recent years, a purpose statement has also emerged in the business world and is gaining more popularity.
A purpose statement conveys a company’s reason for existence, just as the mission statement and vision do, and it also shows the connection between the brand identity and workplace culture of the company. It combines the components of a mission statement, vision, and values into a single statement to answer the question, “Why do we exist as a company?”