How to Define your Business Mission StatementA mission statement is your statement of intent – what is the business in existence for. When writing your business plan, it helps to get clear on the purpose of the business (beyond making a profit for you).

Others call a mission statment their Company Vision or Purpose, but they all mean the same thing. This statement defines what it is the business will pursue in its activities. It may include what the business ethically supports and how it intends to serve its customer. It may also be a statement about its approach and attitude to its business activities.

Here are some examples of mission statements:

McDonalds Family Restaurants
McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile. To achieve our vision, we are focused on three worldwide strategies:

  • Be the best employer for our people in each community around the world,
  • Deliver operational excellence to our customers in each of our restaurants, and
  • Achieve enduring profitable growth by expanding the brand and leveraging the strengths of the McDonald’s system through innovation and technology.”

Microsoft
Our Mission
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.

Our Values
As a company, and as individuals, we value:

  • Integrity and honesty.
  • Passion for customers, for our partners, and for technology.
  • Openness and respectfulness.
  • Taking on big challenges and seeing them through.
  • Constructive self-criticism, self-improvement, and personal excellence.
  • Accountability to customers, shareholders, partners, and employees for commitments, results, and quality

Each of these examples state what the intention of the business is. A useful approach when finding out your company’s mission statement is to ask yourself, “The mission (purpose, vision) of (insert company name) is to …….”. Whatever comes first to your mind when asking yourself this question is a great place to start.

Other elements of the examples included are those values that the company holds in high esteem. They often include such concepts as honesty and integrity, but may differ when it comes to the level of intensity, passion, commitment, and so on. Most successful businesses have very similar values, so it is a good idea to model their mission statements. Find a company that you admire and respect, and have a look at their mission statement.

Why is this a part of the business planning process?

As your business grows, you will inevitably employ more staff and have greater impact on other people. Your goals will help you to take action on a daily basis to achieve these desired outcomes, but what overall statement will be the guiding force of the business? This same statement will also influence how your staff operate.

The overall focus of the company and its values sets the tone for all business dealings and decisions. If a company would like to do business with you, but their activities or values are not aligned with yours, then this is a strong indication of whether you should do business with them.

Preparing Your Mission Statement

Completing this part of the plan requires you to put a personality on your business. For many, this means defining their own values and intentions, as they are the only operator in the company. For others, it may mean a round-the-table discussion with key personal in the business to develop the values and the mission statement.

To help you in this process, you can use our Mission Statement Workshop Exercise. Use this in conjunction with your goal-planning worksheets to help you get clear on the purpose of the business.

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