The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated." It's like a goal for what the company wants to do for the world. 
Effective mission statements start by cogently articulating the organization's purpose of existence.
Mission statements often include the following information:
- Aim(s) of the organization
- The organization's primary stakeholders: clients/customers, shareholders, congregation, etc.
- How the organization provides value to these stakeholders, for example by offering specific types of products and/or services
- A declaration of an organization's sole core purpose. A mission statement answers the question, "Why do we exist?"
According to Bart, the commercial mission statement consists of 3 essential components:
- Key market – who is your target client/customer? (generalize if needed)
- Contribution – what product or service do you provide to that client?
- Distinction – what makes your product or service unique, so that the client would choose you?
Examples of mission statements that clearly include the 3 essential components:
- McDonald's - "To provide the fast food customer food prepared in the same high-quality manner world-wide that has consistent taste, serving time, and price in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere."
- Key Market: The fast food customer world-wide
- Contribution: consistent taste and reasonably-priced food prepared in a high-quality manner
- Distinction: delivered consistently (world-wide) in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere.
- Courtyard by Marriott - "To provide economy and quality minded travelers with a premier, moderate priced lodging facility which is consistently perceived as clean, comfortable, well-maintained, and attractive, staffed by friendly, attentive and efficient people"
- Key Market: economy and quality minded travelers
- Contribution: moderate priced lodging
- Distinction: consistently perceived as clean, comfortable, well-maintained, and attractive, staffed by friendly, attentive and efficient people
The mission statement can be used to resolve trade-offs between different business stakeholders. Stakeholders include: managers & executives, non-management employees, shareholders, board of directors, customers, suppliers, distributors, creditors/bankers, governments (local, state, federal, etc.), labour unions, competitors, NGOs, and the community or general public. By definition, stakeholders affect or are affected by the organization's decisions and activities.
According to Vern McGinnis, a mission should:
- Define what the company is
- Be limited to exclude some ventures
- Be broad enough to allow for creative growth
- Distinguish the company from all others
- Serve as framework to evaluate current activities
- Be stated clearly so that it is understood by all
Notes and references
- Hill, Charles W.L.; Gareth R., Jones (2008). Strategic Management: An Integrated Approach (8th Revised edition). Mason, OH: South Western Educational Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-618-89469-7.
- Bart, Christopher K. (July 1997). "Industrial Firms and the Power of Mission". Industrial Marketing Management (in English) 26 (4): 371–383. doi:10.1016/S0019-8501(96)00146-0.
- Haschak, Paul G. (1998). Corporate statements: the official missions, goals, principles and philosophies of over 900 companies. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0342-X.
- Hughes K. et al. (2005). IT Fundamentals. Tertiary Press. Croydon, Victoria. ISBN 0-86458-488-1.
- Patricia Jones & Larry Kahaner (1995) Say It and Live It: The 50 corporate mission statements that hit the mark, Currency Doubleday: New York ISBN 978-0-385-47630-0 .
- McGinnis, V. (1981). The Mission Statement: A Key Step in Strategic Planning. Business, 31(6), 41.
- NORC Blueprint: A Guide to Community Action's Developing a Mission Statement Guide
- Christopher K. Bart (1997) Sex, Lies and Mission Statements Business Horizons, pp. 9–18, November–December 1997.