5 Steps to Creating a Company Mission Statement

mission statement

There has been a trend to try to create one overarching company mission statement. However, they often become “wall art” hanging in the office of little practical use in operating the company.

Consequently, it may be useful to use mission statements to delineate different phases of a company’s life. Mission statements are very simple, which makes them exceptionally hard to formulate. There are five components to a good company mission statement.

The Value of Vision and Mission, or Lack Thereof

Components Of A Good Company Mission Statement

  1. WHO

    While this may seem self-explanatory, you want to be explicit about to whom this mission applies particularly if you have different operating divisions of a company. This helps define what resources may be available. In addition, different people/organizations have different risk tolerances: What are the risks? What risks are you willing to take? Can you mitigate the risks?

  2. WHAT

    What is it that you are actually trying to accomplish? It defines your essence and focuses you effort. Some tasks are explicit, but you must also consider subordinate as well as implied tasks. Clearly differentiate between Core Business and Peripheral activities and be careful that you do not too broadly define your requirements.. This will help align you stay within your capabilities-constraints.

  3. WHEN

    There is always a “due date.” You should delineate over what time-frame the plan is relevant. Is the plan phased? This gives you a point of reference for future evaluation.

  4. WHERE

    Location matters. In today’s world location can be virtual or real. It helps defines the scope of communications and logistical requirements, as well as the other “players” and competitors.

  5. WHY

    What are you doing this for? profit, cash flow, or even blue sky intangible benefit. This is particularly important when you are dealing with non-core business operations.

The “how” is not actually part of the company mission statement. Rather, it is your Operational-Business Plan. It is defined by your analysis of Courses of Action/Alternatives.

Once the components have been understood, it’s time to start writing your mission statement. Here are  5 questions to ask when writing a mission statement.


Dave Clark

Dave Clark taught Strategy at West Point and is a co-founder of FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.