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Mission Statement: Do You Need One for Your Small Business?

mission statement for your small business
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A mission statement is defined as an organization’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. 

Your mission statement gives you an opportunity to define your company goals, company culture, and directs your decision-making. It may seem hard to do at first. Remember, it is not set in stone. You can change it if it doesn’t fit your business model and your direction.  
When writing your mission statement, ensure it is original and defines what you want to accomplish for your small business. You don’t want to copy your competitors.

What are some other reasons your small business needs a mission statement?

Brand Awareness

Your mission shows others your brand and what you would like it to represent. Everything you do with your brand should be aligned with your mission statement. 

As your company and brand grows, you should continue to refer to your mission statement. It will help you determine if your brand is going off track as your business continues to grow. If you do get off track as you grow, do you change your mission, or do you re-align your strategy and focus? 

When your company shares its mission statement to your customers, it tells them what is important to you. For example, if you are a cleaning service and you offer environmentally friendly products, your mission statement should reflect that and why it is important to you.  You should include any necessary elements that support your business. 

Your customers want to know that you sell what you say you sell.  It is also important to note those items which differ from your competitors. What makes your brand stand out? Is your mission statement something that will help you sell your brand to potential clients and customers? 

Once you have it defined, ensure it is on your website. You may also want to include it on some of your marketing materials as well. 

Provides Direction

Your mission statement can inspire you when you are unsure of which direction to go. Once it is written, it can help you stay focused with what you want to accomplish. Your mission statement can provide a framework for you to consider how you want to do business. It can help you decide strategy and directions when things don’t seem clear sometimes.

It can also help you stay focused on the bigger picture. Sometimes when you are dealing with customers and the day-to-day issues, you forget the purpose and what you want to achieve. 

It can also give you a framework for evaluating opportunities and deciding whether they fit your business model and strategy. 

Goal Alignment

Writing a mission statement can help you when you begin your goal planning each year. You probably have short-term and long-term goals. When you are writing those, do they align with your mission statement? 

If it talks about customer focus, do your goals align with that mission? What if your mission statement talks about quality? Do you have quality controls and goals to ensure you meet top quality standards? If it defines safety as an important aspect, does your company goals have safety aspects? 

You may be unsure of what goals you want your company to have. If so, then your mission statement may help you define those. Likewise, if you have goals you want to accomplish, those may help you write your mission statement. 

Employee Alignment

If you have a good mission statement, then your employee goals should align with your company goals.  For example, if you want world-class customer support, then your team needs to know that you want it in their goals as well. 

Ensure you communicate your mission statement with all employees. When they ask why the company is doing something, point them in the direction of the mission statement. Align their goals with the company goals. Align the company goals with the mission statement. 

Ensure their performance reviews are aligned with the company’s goals as well. 

When you recruit for potential employees and leaders in your small business, you should give them a copy of the mission statement. It doesn’t just keep you focused, but it can help your team stay focused when difficulties arise. It can help make difficult decisions easier. 

A well written statement will inspire your employees.

Long-Term Planning

Your mission statement can help you when you are trying to determine where to take your business. For example, you may have started with a lawn care business where you mowed lawns. Maybe you want to get certifications to help to become a better landscaper. You knew you wanted to do this at the beginning. Sometimes your mission statement is a reminder of how to take your business to the next level and remind you of what you want.

What is your ultimate goal for your small business? Where do you want to take your company long-term? Brainstorm ideas to help you with your long-term planning for your mission statement. 


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Questions Your Mission Statement Should Answer

Your mission statement should define what the company will do for its customers, employees, and owners.

In the end, your mission statement should answer:

  • What you do?
  • How you do it?
  • Why you do it?

Ask yourself these questions to help you write your statement:

  • Why are you in business? What do you want for your employees, yourself, and your customers? 
  • Who are your customers? What can you do for them?
  • How do you differ from everyone else?
  • What images or brand do you want to project to everyone? Are there perceptions you want others to have of your company? 
  • Is there a level of service you want to give to your customers? What factors determine pricing and quality? If you say you offer superior service, can you ensure you have goals to make this happen? Can you back up what you say? 
  • What changes do you expect to make over time to grow your business? 
  • How do you differ from everyone else? 
  • What underlying values do you have that you want your company to provide to others? 

You don’t have to make it complicated. Developing a full questionnaire helps you ask the right questions and helps you state exactly who and what you are as a company. 

Final Thoughts

Research good examples of mission statements to help you determine what you want and how it can help you align your goals. Ensure you don’t copy your competitors but research other ideas. Those ideas can help you know what you want your small business to be. You should also ensure that you can tell it apart from others. At first, make sure it is communicated frequently with your staff. If they suggest new ideas, ensure it aligns with your company goals and brand. 

Sometimes when you are running your business, you may forget its purpose. The mission statement can help you refocus your direction when you need it to and remind yourself the purpose of your business. 

Don’t write one because you feel you need to or because others tell you that you need one. There are some company mission statements that may not make sense. Ensure yours does. You will also need one for your  business plan as well. 



Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.