Does your business have a mission statement? If you don't, you should.
A good mission statement can surprise, inspire, and transform your business. They provide a clearly stated purpose of who you are, what you do, how you benefit customers, and what you aspire to become.
The best mission statements go hand-in-hand with corporate philosophy and culture and help guide a company from the present into the future.
A mission statement should pass the T-shirt test. Its words should be able to fit on a T-shirt and make perfect sense standing alone. It's just the right length to get the point across, and it's designed to be an internal document that tells how you inspire your team to achieve your company goals.
The art of writing a purposeful mission statement is a valuable skill. Because they are internal documents, finding examples can be challenging.
But, the best way to understand effective mission statements is to look at a collection across a variety of industries. You can learn a lot about writing an effective mission statement by reading some from the most successful companies.
To that end, here are 18 examples of highly effective mission statements across all industries.
Microsoft's mission statement expresses their belief in what people make possible. Their belief and values are translated into their products and corporate culture.
Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
3. Southwest Airlines
Southwest believes that their employees are what makes them different. We believe that too, and their mission statement reflects their team philosophy.
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.
The company logically follows their mission statement with a commitment to their employees:
We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.
Squarespace is a web development platform that allows users to create easy-to-design and easy-to-manage websites. Their company values of using their own product, empowering individuals, design not being a luxury, and simplifying are expressed in their concise and succinct mission statement that absolutely passes the T-shirt test:
Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed.
Uber has disruptively changed the transportation system and brought taxi travel into the 21st century. Their mission statement, since it was recently changed, aims to put a positive spin on their intentions.
We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.
PayPal is fast becoming the platform for online commerce. Their mission is perfectly reflected in the company's mission statement.
To build the web's most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.
Google has changed the way we access, consume, and discover information. Whether you live in the U.S. or halfway around the world, Google brings the information you need to you. Its mission statement?
To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Kickstarter has made crowd-funding possible and brought projects to market that otherwise might not have made it. Their mission statement more than passes the T-shirt test in its simplicity.
To help bring creative projects to life.
9. Walt Disney Company
Disney is a magical company, and they certainly know how to market their offerings. They've been entertaining and delighting kids and adults for generations. Their mission statement is actually combined with their vision statement, which has been clearly stated since their founding in 1923.
To be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
Tesla is one of four billion-dollar companies started by Elon Musk. His visionary work couldn't have happened without good, inspirational, and aspirational mission statements. Tesla's mission statement acknowledges their long-term mission.
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Coke has been refreshing the world since the 19th century. Their mission is reflected in their ongoing commitment to making the world a better place... and teaching us how to sing.
To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
Caterpillar was started in 1925. Since then, it has been building and selling machinery that has helped to shape the world we live in. The company's strategy focuses on solutions "to help their customers build a better world." Their mission statement idealizes the same goal:
To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.
13. Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market has made healthy organic and high-quality food available to the masses. They value their team members and customers as well as the environment. Their mission statement says it all:
To nourish people and the planet. We're a purpose-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.
14. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
MoMA has one of the most extensive collections of modern art in the United States. They offer educational programs and rotating exhibits from the most renowned artists in the world. Therefore, its mission statement aims to reflect their dedication to sharing their knowledge.
To collect, preserve, study, exhibit and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
15. American Red Cross
For non-profit organizations, a mission statement is important for defining an organization's purpose. They are typically inspirational and very clear and relevant to their values, and American Red Cross is no exception. Aspiring to help those affected by disasters:
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
16. Life is Good
The idea is in its name, so obviously the Life is Good brand would have a short yet inspiring mission statement. Sometimes, it's the simple things in life that matter. Just like its name, Life is Good aims to spread a cheerful message to its customers with their mission statement:
To spread the power of optimism.
TED – which stands for "Technology, Education, and Design" – is most known for its captivating TED Talks, featuring business moguls, entrepreneurs, and celebrities who offer life and business lessons to anyone looking to listen. Its mission statement is the most simplistic but still carries a heavy impact:
As a presentation software, Prezi offers a multitude of presentation templates for users to create engaging, powerful presentations for work, school, or just for fun. Its mission statement is clear to their brand and shows they are always working to do more.
To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.
These 18 examples run the gamut from non-profit organizations to some of the biggest technology and consumer companies in the world.
Whether it's a simple statement like Google or Kickstarter, or a longer explanation of core enterprise values like MoMA, a mission statement is a reflection of a company's purpose, values, and business philosophy.
By studying other companies' mission statements, you can begin to understand the thoughts behind them when creating your own.
Your mission statement is a critical business document that can inspire your employees to attain the highest values and attain great levels of professionalism by defining their purpose.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018. It was updated in December 2018 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.