Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a current business owner, or an employee within a company, you will at some point in your professional career need to fully understand the purpose of the mission statement on your organization. This simple yet powerful grouping of words has become a staple within businesses and organizations around the world to best describe the purpose of the people involved.
As an entrepreneur and the CEO of Portlight, I have witnessed first-hand the influence of a great mission statement and its ability to influence masses of people towards a common goal. I am eager to define the purpose of the mission statement for you so that you are also able to recognize its power and potential.
The Purpose of the Mission Statement
Outside of a company’s product, offices, and website, the mission statement serves as a first impression as to why the organization exists. A well-written mission statement clearly communicates the purpose of the company and the people involved in the leadership and growth.
To define the mission statement, I prefer to split it into 3 core aspects:
Why does your company exist? The mission statement should first express why your company was founded, why it continues to operate, and what value it adds to its customers. Stating the company’s purpose and fully understanding it is important to the company’s growth.
“The Portlight mission is to perfect the online shopping experience for customers and suppliers on the Amazon Marketplace.”
What does your company do to achieve the purpose? Within the mission statement, it is pertinent to include the business activities or projects that brings your company one step close to achieving your ultimate purpose.
“Portlight tackles its mission through developing inventory management and re-pricing technology to simplify the selling process on Amazon. Portlight’s business model is focused on forming long-lasting drop ship relationships with manufacturers within the toys, baby, and home product industries.”
How does your company perform the actions? Although not always included exclusively in the mission statement, this final aspect communicates the core beliefs and values that your company holds dear to its existence. Including the how in your mission statement can help to guide key decision making within the company.
“Portlight treats all of its stakeholders, i.e. employees, customers, and suppliers, with absolute respect and practices a mindset described by the company’s three core values of innovation, perfection, and team work.
The Derivation of the Mission Statement
All mission statements are a product of their founding or leadership team and hence vary greatly in their makeup. Most mission statements will not explicitly include the three sections that I have outlined, but they will address each with the words they chose to use and the tone that the mission statement is presented.
While leading my company, Portlight, I have found the mission statement to be an extremely powerful tool both internally and externally. Internally, the purpose of the mission statement is to motivate and provide constant direction to the team. With a clear mission statement, the team has a clearer sense of purpose every day.
Without a mission statement, the team may begin to wonder…
“Why am I here?”
“Why am I doing this task still?”
Externally, the purpose of the mission statement is to address three key groups of people that have a direct influence on the growth and success of the company.
In the recruitment and interview process, the mission statement is a powerful tool to attract, interview, and hire individuals who are passionate about the purpose that you have set forth. When a candidate does not believe in the company’s mission, it can be a clear sign that they will not last long with the organization regardless of their skill set.
If you are in the situation where you are raising an investment for your company, the mission statement becomes a tool that you can use to clearly define the purpose of the organization and the value that you are adding to your customer.
Similar to recruitment, you can use the mission statement as a topic of discussion to understand how your purpose resonates with potential investors. While you want the money, you also want an investor that truly understands and agrees with why you exist.
Remember that an investor becomes a decision making individual within the company. As the company grows and needs additional funding, it is intelligent to have investors on your board that have believed in your mission and vision since the beginning. Investors with a deep passion and understanding for your company mission will serve as spokespeople to other investors as future rounds of funding are raised.
A third group of people that you want to clearly demonstrate your purpose to is your customers and potential customers. The mission statement serves as a resource that the customer uses to decide whether they want to give you business over your competition. A well crafted and descriptive mission can attract more customers and even encourage word of mouth marketing.
My Experience with Mission Statements
Most of my understanding of mission statements has come from literature, personal practice within Portlight, and studying the mission statements of leading companies throughout the past 100 years. Understanding how a company successfully created and uses their mission statement is a great way to further understand the importance of having one for your organization.
Below, I have provided three examples from companies that I believe clearly and confidently share their mission with the world. While there are millions of other tasks and operations that go into these companies, the core mission continues to define what drives their existence.
Writing a mission statement that can communicate that message and withstand the test of time is a powerful accomplishment. Learn how to craft your organization’s mission statement through my column titled How to Create a Mission Statement that Wows.
Mission statement: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Mission statement: To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.
Mission statement: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Continue the Conversation
If you have a mission statement that you hold particularly close to your heart and believes clearly communicates the purpose of the organization, please share it with other readers in the comments section.
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