A good mission statement is the most fundamental element of your ecommerce business.
It’s the pillar for why you exist and influences your decision making. It’s the best tool to connect with your audience and reach your full potential, and the benefits extend beyond marketing. Vision and mission statements are internal motivators, too, giving team members a cause to rally behind.
Though most small businesses know the importance of vision and mission statements, many struggle to write one. That’s normal! It’s not easy to create a clear summary of your company’s goals and values.
In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of mission and vision statements, with real-world examples from top brands, and tips for writing your own today.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is usually part of your business plan when you start a business. It identifies your company’s purpose and is a way to publicly share why your company exists. Crafting your mission statement helps you unify your business and avoid potential business mistakes by keeping you on track.
Your mission statement should:
- State what your company does. You don’t need to be fancy, simply state whatever it is your retail business produces or provides.
- State how your company does what it does. This does not need to be a detailed description of how you operate your business. You can describe how your business works in more general terms and incorporate one or more of your core values.
- State why your company does what it does. Think about why you started your business in the first place—share your passion for starting your company.
A clear mission statement tells potential and existing customers what to expect from you and can provide your employees with direction, inspiration, and focus.
Mission statement versus vision statement: what’s the difference?
A vision statement articulates where you aspire to be once you achieve your mission. Often, it describes where you want certain people or the world to be as a result of your mission. Vision statements convey a long-term goal, generally a time range of five to 10 years, or beyond.
Your mission statement is essentially an action-oriented vision statement, declaring the who, what, and why of your retail business. Your mission statement can be the roadmap for your vision statement.
It’s vital for both your mission and vision statements to be concise so you communicate the reasons your business exists.
How to write a mission statement
1. Be brief
You can use the eight-words-or-less rule when creating your mission statement.
Keeping it simple makes it easier to convey the goal and purpose of your business in a way that’s easy to understand, making your mission statement more effective and memorable.
A short mission statement is also easier to include on business cards and marketing materials.
2. Be unique
When you’re drafting your mission statement, it’s crucial to keep in mind what makes your company different. Why is your retail business unique and special compared to others who sell similar quality products? Share your specific story rather than being general to the point that any other company could use your mission statement as its own.
3. Know your target audience
When you’re crafting your mission statement, always keep your target audience in mind. Your messaging needs to match the wants and needs of these potential customers.
4. Create expectations
Retailers with strong mission statements lean into their target audience’s expectations.
For example, Shopify says its mission is to “make commerce better for everyone, so businesses can focus on what they do best: building and selling their products.” This statement creates the expectation in Shopify merchants that they’ll build successful online businesses using the platform.
5. Be realistic
Don’t fall into the trap of making your mission statement so elaborate that you lose touch with what your business can realistically achieve. Stay grounded in how your retail business serves customers right now. You can use forthcoming and inspirational language in your vision statement.
6. Be memorable
Think about the terminology and keywords or phrases you can use in your mission statement to make it unforgettable. You don’t need readers to be able to recite your entire mission statement, but make it catchy so people begin to associate prime aspects of your mission statement with your company.
7. Keep it positive
Mission statements are all about how your retail business solves a problem, fills a need, or makes an aspect of life easier for your target customer. It’s essential to avoid negative language in your mission statement.
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher in the science of happiness and positivity, suggests that positive emotions open people up. Positivity can change perspectives and your understanding of possibilities.
8. Use active verbs
Your mission statement should make readers feel like something is happening now versus in the past.
For example, write, “[Your company name] makes [your products] to enhance your quality of life,” rather than writing, “These [your products] are made by [your company name] to improve your life.”
Active verbs convey a stronger message about your retail business and how you’re solving a problem or filling a need for your audience.
9. Make it adaptable
Once you’ve created a strong mission statement, it’s something you can always turn back to for direction and motivation as you scale your business.
Use key phrases for marketing campaigns and when you’re developing new products.
Write your company’s mission statement today
Whether you’re writing a personal mission statement or one for your business, there’s no doubt it’s a winning strategy for achieving your goals. Using the sample mission statements above, you’re well on your way to crafting a great vision for your business.
All in all, writing a mission statement is easy with the right knowledge, tools, and a little bit of time. If you’re short on time, you can use a free mission statement generator to create one for you.