How to write an effective mission statement (with free template)

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Summary

A mission statement explains your company’s purpose. You should write a mission statement when starting a business so you have a clear idea of what you stand for. Read on to learn how to write an effective mission statement that can help you tackle company goals.

It’s natural to face challenges when leading teams and managing projects, and one way to push forward despite the hard times is to remember your “why.” Your company mission defines why you do what you do, who you do it for, and the impact you’ll create by doing it. When you know your mission, you’ll feel good about where your company is going, even through ups and downs. 

Typically, you'll write a mission statement when you start a business so you have a clear idea of what you stand for. A mission statement rarely changes unless the company changes directions or rebrands. Read on to learn how to write an effective mission statement that can help you tackle your business goals.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is a brief declaration of your company’s what, who, and why. You should share this statement with everyone in your organization so team members understand your collective goals. While a mission statement isn’t specifically for marketing, you’ll likely share it externally as well. This is why it’s important to write it eloquently.

Your mission statement is a foundational piece of content you can use as a jumping-off point for various other materials, including:

Once you’ve solidified your core values and initiatives, you’ll have an easier time expanding on those ideas and getting the message out to your audience.

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5 steps to write a mission statement

Your mission statement isn’t something you can craft by yourself. Before you sit down to draft it, recruit other senior and executive leaders at your company who have a sense of what you’re aiming for. Together, use the steps below to get to the root of what your company stands for and the message you want to spread.

[Inline illustration] how to write a mission statement (Infographic)

1. Answer fundamental questions

To figure out what your mission statement should say, you’ll need to answer fundamental questions about your business. 

  • What do we do?

  • What do we create?

  • Who is our audience?

  • How do we make a difference?

Once you’ve answered the basics, consider questions that can help you craft a strong mission statement.

  • How do we differ from others in the industry?

  • How can we make our mission statement stand out from our competitors?

  • Can we use other mission statements for inspiration?

Consider having each member of your mission statement tiger team answer these questions separately, then pool your answers together. Your mission statement should be evergreen, so think about it in a way that incorporates business growth. It’s important to consider what your company’s purpose is in the context of what your future might be. 

2. Use your answers to brainstorm copy

Now that you have the ideas for your mission statement, you need the right words. Use brainstorming techniques to help you and the other leaders at your company come with creative ways to express yourselves. The goal is to inspire your team without sounding cliché or overly complex.

Some helpful brainstorming techniques include:

  • Mind-mapping: Mind mapping is a visual brainstorming technique you can use on your own or with your team. Start with one word or idea and use it to inspire other ideas. You’ll need a large piece of paper or whiteboard to write down a topic. Then, draw lines connecting tangential words or ideas to it.

  • Brain-netting: Brain-netting is great for remote collaboration, and it involves brain dumping ideas virtually, whether on a Slack channel, Google Doc, or through your project management tool. Team members can add ideas whenever inspiration strikes, and the list will be ever-evolving. 

3. Write your first draft

Now that you have solid ideas about what to put in your mission statement and creative ways to express those ideas, you can start experimenting with what sounds best. The following formulas can help you get started:

  1. To [contribution/goal] so [impact].

  2. Our mission is to [contribution/goal] by [what you offer/how you do it] for [target audience] so [impact].

  3. To build/offer [what you offer/how you do it] for [target audience] to [contribution/goal] and [impact].

For example, if you work for a content marketing company, here’s how your first draft might look:

  1. To increase the value and visibility of content so companies can build strong relationships with their audiences

  2. Our mission is to increase the value and visibility of content by offering content marketing services for companies so they can build strong relationships with their audiences

  3. To offer content marketing services for companies to increase the value and visibility of their content and help them build strong relationships with their audiences. 

4. Ask for feedback

Draft a few versions of your mission statement so you can ask for feedback from current team members. Because the mission statement applies to everyone, it’s nice to include everyone in the feedback process—even if executive feedback gets slightly more weight. Don’t rush through the writing process. Take your time and get your mission statement to a place everyone is comfortable with.

Collaborate with your team by holding a Q&A session or by sending out surveys to ask which version of the mission statement resonates with them most. That way, once you complete your statement, you’ll feel confident that the result was a team effort. 

5. Revise and share

After collecting feedback, revise your mission statement as needed. Then, finalize it and share it with the rest of the organization. You can also include it in your business plan and share it on your website. 

Your mission statement explains your company’s purpose to those working for the company, stakeholders who may get involved with the company, and customers or clients who may spend money at the company. While you shouldn’t craft your mission statement for selling, it’s something you should be proud of and will likely want to display.

Read: Client management: How to attract and retain happy clients

Examples of mission statements

Most companies share their mission statements with the public, either front and center on their websites, or in an easily searchable location. By making your mission statement visible to the clients and customers, companies show what they stand for and what they strive to achieve—both as an internal workforce and with the products or services they sell.

[Inline illustration] Mission statement examples: Asana, Paypal, Patagonia (Example)

1. Asana

“To help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.” 

At Asana, our mission statement explains who we serve and what we want our impact to be on the world. While we have various goals we work toward as a company, our mission statement is our guiding principle among all others. 

Let's do great things together. Join our team.

See all open positions

2. PayPal

“To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.” 

PayPal’s statement is more product-focused, but it’s still effective. Businesses may imply the impact they hope to make by explaining the unique features of their product offering. PayPal’s mission is to create the best product possible for customers because doing so will improve lives.

3. Patagonia

“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” 

Patagonia’s mission statement is complex, but it shows that their company has many layers beyond the clothing they sell. While on the surface, Patagonia offers outdoor gear, they set themselves apart from other companies by keeping the environment front of mind in all they do. 

Free mission statement template

Using a mission statement template can help you centralize your company’s most important information. Below, you’ll see how a content marketing company would’ve answered fundamental questions about their business and used those answers to design their mission statement with the provided formula.

[Inline illustration] Mission statement example: Content marketing company (Example)

Use the free mission statement template below to answer relevant questions about your company’s values and goals.

Free mission statement template

Why is a mission statement important?

Your mission statement is a building block for everything your team does. When you get it right, it leads to a stronger team dynamic in the workplace, more successful projects, and happier customers. Your mission statement should:

  • Define your brand to team members: Give your team clarity on what product you’re creating, why you’re creating it, and who you’re creating it for.

  • Present your brand to others: Tell others outside of your company what your team strives for everyday. 

  • Uphold values and objectives: Refer to your mission statement when you need to hold yourself and your team accountable to your ultimate goals.

Mission statement vs. vision statement

Many people use a mission statement and vision statement interchangeably, and while some companies combine the two, they have different meanings. A mission statement is your company’s “why” statement—in other words, your company’s purpose. Consider your mission statement as what you’re currently trying to achieve.

A vision statement can be a “how” statement or a future-focused statement. It should paint a broad picture of how you want to achieve your mission. Sometimes, companies incorporate the vision statement within their mission statement so they can state and explain their mission simultaneously. 

For example, Google's combined mission and vision statement is:

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 

Mission statement:To organize the world’s information…

Vision statement: ...and make it universally accessible and useful.

While LinkedIn has separate mission and vision statements:

Mission statement: Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

Vision statement: Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

Use a mission statement to drive company success

Your mission statement is the launchpad for your company’s success. It states what you want to achieve and serves as a constant reminder of your purpose. But the only way to accomplish your mission is with small, everyday actions. A goal is just a dream until you put a process in place.

With work management software, you can set up workflows, schedules, and tasks that align with your mission statement and make your purpose a reality. Asana helps you create a purposeful and productive work experience for all your team members by giving them the clarity they need to achieve their goals.

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