A mission statement supporting a business talks about HOW the business intends to get where it wants to be. Defining the purpose and primary objectives relating to both customer needs and team values a mission statement also addresses such questions as:
- What the business does? and
- How it is differentiated from other perhaps similar businesses?
Whilst the vision statement addresses the future only a mission statement talks about the present and how it can achieve its desired future state. It strongly influences the shape of the operational roadmap it will follow and the strategy that drives it. A mission statement is not static and will change over time reflecting key milestones achieved and shifts in the business environment caused by external influences. It should however always tie back to already defined core business values and the business vision. A mission statement is spelled out to provide a narrative of what the business is fundamentally about. It requires a description of what the business is right now, defining its the broad goals for which the business was formed and discusses in detail:
- What the business does,
- What the business structure is and
- (Broadly) what its plans are.
Features of an effective mission statement are:
- It describes the purpose and values of the business.
- It describes what the business does at the current time.
- It defines what business wants to be in terms of the products and/or services it offers and the markets it will target and describes who are the business’s primary “clients”.
- It expresses the primary responsibilities of the business towards these “clients”.
- It indicates the main objectives that support the business in accomplishing its mission.
- It supports the vision statement.