What Is a Mission Statement?

woman writing on computer


AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger

Mission statements are more than just pretty jargon to slap onto your company's website. A mission statement will help clients, customers and other visitors understand what exactly your company stands for — your purpose and your vision.

So, what makes an impactful mission statement? Here's how to write a compelling mission statement, with some excellent examples to inspire your own.

What is a mission statement?

 A mission statement very clearly and concisely states your business' intentions — it' describes the business of your business, and how you plan to carry out that business. Your mission statement should, in short, tell your story as quickly as an elevator pitch.
That said, people can have mission statements, too — not only companies. A personal mission statement should define your work, skills and career goals and, like a company's mission statement, it should suggest your aspirations and the ways in which you'll go about accomplishing them.
Every effective mission statement should provide readers clarity, give the company or the person a sense of purpose, help to outline the company or the person's path and hold that company or person accountable.

You might be wondering, what is a mission vs. a vision statement?  While a mission statement delves into a company's business, its objectives and its approach to those objectives, a vision statement looks into the desired future of the company. 

  •  A mission statement might look like this: “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.” — Microsoft
  • While a vision statement might look like this: "A computer on every desk and in every home." — Microsoft (at its founding): 
Many companies combine mission and vision statement elements to offer readers a more holistic understanding of the purposes, goals and values.

What are the three parts of a mission statement?

Every mission statement should be concise and visionary while, at the same time, answering the who, what, why and how of your organization and three main questions:
  1. What do you provide?
  2. Why do you provide it?
  3. What makes you unique in how you provide it?

In short, your mission statement should state who you are and whom you serve, what you offer and your purpose for offering it, and how you deliver those offerings.

What do you provide? Use literal language to explain exactly what it is that your company does. You want to be as clear and straightforward as possible here since this is going to be the most important part of your mission statement that tells people what it is that you do.

Why do you provide the services or products that you provide? Is there a void your company fills? Was there a need you'd addressed by starting this company? Explain why your company provides a solution to this void or need.

What makes you unique? The chances are that many companies offer similar services or products as you, but what makes your services or products or process of providing those services or products stand out? Perhaps your uniqueness lies in your purpose or your values. Whatever the case, this should tell readers why they want to use your company.

What are some examples of mission statements?

Here are 25 examples of some of the greatest mission statements from thriving companies across a multitude of industries.
  1. Amazon mission statement: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
  2. American Red Cross mission statement: “To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
  3. Tesla mission statement: To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
  4. Nike mission statement: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete."
  5. Warby Parker mission statement: "To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses."
  6. Invisible Children mission statement: "To end violence and exploitation facing our world's most isolated and vulnerable communities."
  7. Google mission statement: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."
  8. Microsoft mission statement: “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”
  9. Forbes mission statement: “To deliver information on the people, ideas and technologies changing the world to our community of affluent business decision makers.”
  10. Universal Health Services, Inc. mission statement: "To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns."
  11. Nordstrom mission statement: "To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible."
  12. Squarespace mission statement: “To help people with creative ideas succeed.”
  13. Starbucks mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
  14. Cradles to Crayons mission statement: "Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play."
  15. Honest Tea mission statement: "To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages."
  16. IKEA mission statement: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
  17. Asana mission statement: “To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”
  18. Airbnb mission Statement: “To create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.”
  19. InvisionApp mission statement: "Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity."
  20. Sony mission statement: “To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
  21. Headspace mission statement: “To improve the health and happiness of the world.”
  22. Kickstarter mission statement: “To help bring creative projects to life.”
  23. TripAdvisor mission statement: “To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.”
  24. JetBlue mission statement: "To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground."
  25. TED: "Spread ideas."

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.