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 full potential, and the benefits extend beyond marketing. Vision and mission statements are internal motivators too, which gives team members a cause to rally behind, no matter where they are in the world.
Though most small businesses know the importance of a vision and mission statement, many struggle to write one. It’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.
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What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is usually part of your business plan. It identifies your company’s purpose and is a way to share publicly why your company exists. Crafting your mission statement can help you unify your business and stay on track.
Your mission statement should:
- State what your company does. You don’t need to be fancy, just 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 behind 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.
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement provides a brief description of a company’s long-term goals. It’s typically ambitious and communicates how the company plans to make a difference in the world. Think of it as a roadmap for making decisions that align with a company’s philosophy and objectives.
A good vision statement helps you:
- Inspire teams and keep them focused
- Connect with customers in niche markets
- Makes smarter decisions
- Attract top talent
Vision statements are usually paired with mission statements to help guide planning. It doesn’t have a set length. You can craft a one-sentence statement or write a three-page document discussing the company’s future. Regardless, the goal of a vision statement is to differentiate yourself from competitors and focus efforts on achieving your objectives.
Strong vision statement examples
Your vision statement is unique to your company, but it’s helpful to see how popular brands express their future goals. Here are a few examples:
- Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
- Nordstrom: To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives, and to form lifelong relationships.
- Amazon: Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
- Warby Parker: We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket. We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
- Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
- Disney: To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.
- Southwest Airlines: To become the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
- Coca-Cola: Refresh the World. Make a Difference.
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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 are long-term, generally in a time range of five to 10 years, or longer.
Your mission statement is essentially an action-oriented vision statement, declaring the “who,” “what,” and “why” of your retail business. Your mission statement can get used as 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.
9 best mission statement examples
Now that you have an idea of what makes well-crafted vision and mission statements, let’s look at a few examples of retailers with high-quality mission statements.
Mission statement: Build the cooler we’d use every day if it existed.
Yeti’s mission statement is effective because it focuses on its landmark product—premier coolers—and highlights the value it brings to customers. This statement tells customers that the product is going to solve their problems, because the founders state how they were frustrated by unreliable coolers and outdoor accessories.
Mission statement: To create inclusive clothing and accessories that enable you to show your pride all year round while giving back to our community.
Passionfruit’s mission states that you should show pride all year round. In doing so, it recognizes a truth for the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike. This statement is useful because it promotes the idea that pride is not just a one-day event but an everyday expression of oneself.
Passionfruit’s statement focuses on allowing people to express themselves through clothing and apparel. It reminds customers that the brand is aligned with LGBTQ+ values and promises to support the community by giving back.
Old Guys Rule
Mission statement: To embrace a new breed of guys who have incredible energy, a passion for life, wisdom gained from years of experience and the time to spend doing the activities they enjoy. Old Guys Rule should be worn as a badge of honor for a life well spent but not nearly over.
Old Guys Rule’s mission statement stands out because it focuses on its target audience. The brand embraces its customers’ strengths of wisdom and experience, with the goal of being a most loved apparel brand. It makes you feel proud of your age and accomplishments, rather than feeling bad about “getting old.”
What’s more, many elements in this mission statement are empowering. So when Old Guys Rule says it should be worn as “a badge of honor,” customers feel excited to wear its clothes and be proud of who they are.
Mission statement: To breathe new life into the motorcycle streetwear scene. We are a brand that acknowledges those individual riders who ride for freedom, not for ego.
In Ride Rich’s mission statement, the brand challenges the status quo for motorcycle riders. This statement captures a specific rider: the “individuals who ride for freedom.” It’s a great mission statement because it describes how it goes about its business. If you want creative streetwear based on art, music, and experiences that everyday riders encounter, Ride Rich is your brand.
Another thing to love about this statement is the exclusive language. Ride Rich uses relatable terms such as “two-wheel therapy” and “keep it 100” to connect with its target market. It also discusses different riding styles to not alienate certain groups. Ride Rich wraps up with a positive note for potential customers that’s punchy and inspiring.
The Spoiled Mama
Mission statement: The Spoiled Mama knows great skin never goes out of style. That’s why we’ve combined Mother Nature with science to give new moms (and their little humans) the best skin care available. Our collection addresses the most common needs of pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding mothers, so you can enjoy being a Mama…without all the drama.
This mission statement example from The Spoiled Mama has one clear goal: give new moms and their kids the best skin care around. Its statement ties in with the brand’s philosophy of finding sisterhood in motherhood and helping mothers take care of themselves and their babies.
In many ways, The Spoiled Mama’s mission statement builds community. Whether you’re newly pregnant or breastfeeding, you know The Spoiled Mama is a place you can turn to for skin care, strength, and support.
Mission statement: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Tesla’s mission statement is significant because it speaks directly to buyers. It’s tailored around Tesla’s more environmentally conscious customers who are likely to pay a higher price tag for high quality, well-built, sustainable vehicles.
Tesla uses inspirational language in both its mission and vision statements. By focusing on sustainability, the brand resonates with customers and employees who genuinely care about the environment. It also gives them a platform to expand into other solutions like energy storage and solar.
Mission statement: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
Nike’s mission statement is a classic. It’s effective because it puts the company’s priorities out in the open. First, it mentions that Nike wants to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world—with an asterisk next to “athlete” leading to a footnote that states, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” This shows customers that anyone can use Nike’s products.
The idea of being able to become an athlete, no matter who you are, underlines the brand’s commitment to offering a huge selection of sportswear products. It stands out because people need motivation to achieve their goals, and Nike reaffirms its dedication to helping them improve.
Mission statement: To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
This mission statement is short, sweet, and to the point. It doesn’t use big words or sentences to express its goals. It communicates exactly what Starbucks wants to be and for whom. The statement makes it about more than just coffee, but about creating a culture of warmth and inclusivity, where everyone feels welcomed and at home.
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Mission statement: Spread ideas.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks known as TED Talks. Its mission statement is concise but represents the brand’s larger goal to welcome “people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.” TED is building a free library of knowledge both online and in-person, composed of the world’s greatest thinkers, to inspire people to engage and share ideas with each other.
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 is 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. Create expectations
Retailers with strong mission statements lean into the expectations of their target audience.
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, which is true.
4. 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. Try to stay grounded in how your retail business serves customers right now. You can use forthcoming and inspirational language in your vision statement.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 your potential customers.
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 are solving a problem or filling a need for your target 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.
You can 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.
Illustration by Pete Ryan
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Mission statement FAQ
How do I write a mission statement?
- Keep your mission statement short and sweet.
- Consider long-term goals and expectations.
- Don’t limit yourself.
- Use active verbs.
- Find out what your team thinks about your mission statement.
- Make it adaptable.
What is a good mission statement?
A good mission statement is a clear, concise statement about why your business exists, what its overall goals are, what products or services it provides, its target market, and where it operates.
What are three parts of a mission statement?
According to Chris Bart, a leading expert in helping organizations develop mission and vision statements, three essential parts of a mission statement are:
- Key market: the target audience.
- Contribution: the product or service.
- Distinction: what makes the product unique and why customers should buy it over another.
What are examples of a mission statement?
- Nike: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
- Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
- Tesla: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
- TED: Spread ideas.