A business mission is a short statement describing the “why” behind your vision. It’s the primary reason your business exists and why you do what you do. Download our free mission statement template and follow the steps below to learn how to write a mission statement for your small business.
Mission Statement Template (Free Download)
The steps for creating a mission statement involve understanding the main components, answering questions about your business, gathering ideas, defining your mission, and creating and finalizing your draft. Download our free mission statement template and use it as you go through the step-by-step process below to write a mission statement for your business.
1. Outline the Components of a Mission Statement
The first step for writing a mission statement is understanding what it should include and creating an outline. Simply put, a mission statement is a brief sentence or phrase that summarizes your overarching purpose, or the primary reason your business exists. It should communicate the driving force behind your entire company and promote the brand presence you want to achieve.
Powerful mission statements typically have these three main components:
- Business goal as the reason for existing
- Relevance or impact to customers, community, employees, and other stakeholders
Your business vision is a mental image of where you want your organization to be after a certain time, whereas your mission details why you want to achieve those goals. These reasons usually have a human or social aspect attached to them. For example, your product aims to create a safer community, or your service hopes to improve people’s health.
Below are three examples:
Fit Small Business
“We deliver the best answers to people’s small business questions.”
“Create your own professional web presence—exactly the way you want.”
“An experience that makes the day better.”
Providing the best possible answers on small business-related topics
Enabling people to build business websites with max design freedom
Creating day-making experiences by eradicating impersonal service from the coffeehouse experience
Motivation & Audience Impact
Educating and empowering people by providing best answers for how to start, run, or grow a small business
Business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other professionals who want to build a standout brand website
For anyone (and everyone)
For more ideas and inspiration, check out our list of the best mission statement examples.
2. Answer Questions About Your Business
Now that you understand the components of a mission statement, you can start drafting yours by first simply answering questions about your business. While you can brainstorm these yourself, it’s best to do so along with the people most knowledgeable about your business, such as your co-founders or team members.
Here are some basic questions you can ask to guide your mission statement:
- What do we do?
- What are we creating?
- Why does it matter?
- To whom does it matter?
- How does it make a difference?
- What words would we use to describe our business?
- How does our business differ from our competitors?
The goal of these questions is to start interrogating the ideas and reasons behind your business. The answers to these will eventually help form your mission statement. In fact, if you’re a small business owner, you might already have answers to some of these questions—you just have to organize them into a single, powerful, all-encompassing sentence.
Here’s an example of how to use these questions. Let’s say you own a tire store—these are the answers you might give to the questions above:
- What is it we do? Install tires
- What do we create? Safer vehicles
- Why does it matter? Fewer accidents
- To whom does it matter? Vehicle owners and their families, like parents of teen drivers
- How does it make a difference? We make traveling within our community safer
- What words would we use to describe our business? Safety, tires, family, local, etc.
- How is our business different from our competitors? We’re locally owned
Keep these in mind as we revisit this example business type in step five. Note that these types of questions and answers don’t reflect anything about how much money you make or how many products you sell. Instead, they relate to what differentiates your business as well as its customers and other beneficiaries, like your community.
3. Gather Ideas Based on Your Answers
The next step is to brainstorm the content of your mission statement. Using the answers to your questions as a guide, think up words and phrases that make the most sense, keeping your business purpose top of mind. It’s important not to limit or edit yourself (or your team members). Keep the ideas flowing, and write down words or phrases that come into mind.
This is only a data-gathering phase—there are no wrong answers, and you can always edit and organize them later. At the end of the brainstorming session, you’ll end up with some common words or short phrases that will start to make sense and feel true to your business.
4. Define Your Mission
After brainstorming, the next step in terms of how to write a mission statement is to edit your ideas and start honing in on your mission. This is where your mission statement will become more defined as you clarify the central, overarching objective that best resonates with your business and brand.
You may have come up with a whole sheet of ideas during your brainstorming session, but remember that good mission statements are concise and easily understandable. From your list of words and phrases, find those that best represent your business’ main objective and why it matters to your target customers.
5. Create a First Draft
With your mission defined, you’re ready to write a first draft of your mission statement. This step is where you’ll start crafting one or more full sentences from your previously defined ideas. Mix and match words and phrases until you find a strong statement that feels most true to your business and is highly relatable to your target audience.
Keep your mission statement compelling, simple, and purposeful. It should be a concise but complete thought that immediately gives readers an idea of your company’s primary, long-term purpose.
Here are sample drafts for a mission statement using the tire company example above.
Organize and refine your ideas until you find a statement that best represents your business’ purpose.
This is a step where it’s easy to get stuck. If you want professional help refining the ideas and concepts you came up with into a concise and compelling mission statement, consider reaching out to a marketing consultant or public relations (PR) expert for assistance. You can hire an affordable PR freelancer on platforms like Fiverr to get help writing a mission statement for as little as $5.
6. Gather Feedback & Polish Your Statement
Feedback is always crucial in any creative process, and your mission statement is no exception. It’s essential because your mission statement is also influential to your overall branding, and you want to be sure that what you mean to say is understood by others.
Have several people, such as team members, advisers, or other business owners, review your mission statement before finalizing it. You can even run your draft by top customers or members of your target market to see whether it’s relatable and understandable to them.
Here are some questions you can ask others to gather feedback about your mission statement:
- What purpose does the mission statement communicate about our company?
- How does this statement make you feel about our company?
- Is the mission statement clear and easy to understand?
- Is it impactful, motivational, or compelling?
- Does the statement align with our vision and values?
Take note of the feedback you receive, and input them into your statement. Your mission statement is as valuable to the public as it is to your internal business—so you want to be sure that it’s clear and impactful to any and all readers.
7. Finalize & Share Your Mission Statement
Once you’ve polished up your mission and undergone feedback and revisions, it’s time to make it official and send it out to the world. Double-check that the statement is concise and that your business purpose is clearly defined. Then, when you’re ready, start using it in company communications.
Places to Use Small Business Mission Statements
There are many ways to share your small business mission statement. Keep in mind that you have multiple audiences, as your mission statement is a fundamental part of your company’s overall identity and branding. Share it with employees, customers, vendors, potential investors, and other stakeholders.
Here are other places to share your business mission statement:
- Company documents: An obvious place to include your company mission is in internal documents. These can be anything from your business plan to your company handbook, intranet, company newsletter, and presentation decks.
- Sales and marketing collateral: Your mission statement is one of the unique aspects of your business, helping you stand out from the competition. Include it on business cards, brochures, direct mail marketing collateral, and other marketing materials.
- Public relations content: Leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads your company’s press releases by including your mission in the boilerplate. In addition, add it to your press kit so that journalists will have access to it when covering stories about your business.
- Recruiting and hiring: Stating your business’ mission in recruiting ads and job descriptions gives candidates a better idea of whether they would be a good fit for your company (and vice versa).
- Digital materials: Add your mission statement to your website’s “About” page or footer to give site visitors a well-rounded impression of your company. The same applies to your social media profiles and other digital assets, including your Google Business page.
- Branded merch: If you plan on having branded company merchandise like T-shirts or coffee mugs, they’re also good places to add your business mission.
Keep track of every place your mission statement is displayed. If you ever modify it, you’ll want to ensure it’s revised consistently everywhere it’s used.
Why Writing a Good Mission Statement Matters
A good mission statement is more than a string of words—it is the central grounding motivation of your entire organization, guiding everything from your business decisions to your team members’ operations. Here are other benefits of having a compelling small business mission statement:
- Connecting with your target market: Having a well-defined brand identity, including a clear mission, can help you reach your target market. In 2022, 82% of consumers were more likely to purchase from a brand that shared their values.
- Attracting top talent: Employees like working for companies whose values align with their personal goals too—it ranks as the 13th top priority when candidates choose companies to work for. This helps you attract motivated employees who align with your mission, and in turn, perform their best.
- Keeping employees engaged: Beyond attracting top talent, having a mission keeps employees motivated and productive. As author Brandon Peele explains, “People who are connected with their purpose are four times as likely to be engaged and five times more productive.”
- Guiding business decisions: You’ll undoubtedly encounter difficult business decisions throughout your small business journey. Your mission can help remind you of your business’ main priorities, helping you make better decisions.
- It helps you stand out: Each company’s mission is unique. While you may share some services or features with a handful of other businesses, your mission makes yours stand out.
- It helps with branding: Your mission is one of the most meaningful, relatable, and human aspects of your company, making it great content for marketing campaigns. Include it in brand promotions, social media campaigns, and community engagement initiatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good mission statement for small businesses?
A good small business mission statement is concise and easy to understand, instantly communicating a business’ reason for existing. It should also be compelling, action-oriented, audience-relevant, and relatable. For employees, a good mission statement serves as a guiding principle when operating the business, while for customers, it provides a fundamental aspect of your brand identity.
What’s the difference between a vision statement & a mission statement?
Your vision statement communicates the “what” of your business—what your business will become when it fulfills its mission. Meanwhile, your mission statement covers the “why” behind your business, or its primary purpose and reason for existing. Vision statements are goals you want to achieve in the future, while mission statements communicate why you want to achieve those goals.
What’s the difference between a personal vs business mission statement?
A business mission encompasses the overall purpose of the organization. These statements are wide-ranging and long term, usually requiring the combined efforts of multiple people working together. Personal mission statements, on the other hand, describe the driving motivation of an individual, and may or may not be work- or career-related.
Your mission explains the reason your company exists, what it does, who it serves, and why it matters. It represents the driving force behind your company and why you do what you do. The best corporate mission statements are more than just a string of words—they’re a clear and meaningful representation of your business’ purpose that will guide your company in the long term.