Why Every Startup Needs A Mission

A clear mission is critical. However, many startups are unaware of its value.

Have you created a formal summary of the aims and values of your company? If not, it’s a good time to create one.

A clear mission is critical. However, many startups are unaware of its value. Your mission clarifies your overall goals and paths to reaching them. Indeed, mission statements inform strategies and define the reason for a company’s existence.

When your mission is well designed and communicated clearly it helps employees and shareholders align with your core values.


Why is a mission statement essential for startups?

A mission statement will help you:

  • Determine your direction

    A mission statement determines the main goals of your startup and answers key questions regarding how to reach them. Every founder should create a unique mission statement to remind employees, customers and the general public why they exist.


  • Clarify how you will get there

    Not to be confused with a vision statement, “a mission statement describes what a company wants to do now, a vision statement outlines what a company wants to be in the future.”


  • Create a litmus test for decisions

    The mission provides a platform that enables decision makers in a company to delegate responsibility and authority, together. It helps everyone stay on a set path to reach the future (i.e. your vision statement).


  • Develop a template for innovation

    Innovation and changing the past norms are common for startups. However, with a clear mission that sets the core values, everyone impacted by innovation is more likely to accept rapid changes.


Photo: © katie_martynova, YFS Magazine
  • Formulate strategies

    Startups without strategies go nowhere fast. If you’re having trouble developing strategies (i.e., methods to achieve your goal), start with an impactful mission.


  • Bolster employee engagement

    Without a clear mission, your employees cannot truly understand your company culture and how their actions contribute to it.


  • Focus on startup culture

    A mission statement is a key input when creating your company culture. When you’re clear about your mission you’ll attract top talent and retain them.


  • Define your vision

Nowadays, employees prefer to work for companies with a vision that aligns with their personal beliefs and ethos. With an effective mission, you’re better able to clarify your vision statement of where you’ll be in the future.


How to develop a high impact mission

Your mission statement will “define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making. The best mission statements define a company’s goals in at least three dimensions: what the company does for its customers, what it does for its employees, and what it does for its owners.”


Photo: © Monkey Business, YFS Magazine

“Some of the best mission statements also extend themselves to include fourth and fifth dimensions: what the company does for its community, and for the world.”

For starters, a good and simple mission statement should include these characteristics:


  1. Core values

  2. Engagement

  3. Believability

  4. Originality


Meanwhile, if you want to create an effective mission statement, then keep these practical tips in mind:


  • Don’t be boring

  • Keep it short and simple

  • Share why your startup is valuable and how your primary objectives relate to customer needs and company values

  • Answers the question, “What do we do? What makes us different?”

  • Don’t discuss “how to’s” … keep it broad in scope

  • Integrate and communicate your mission within your startup culture


Examples of great mission statements


  • Patagonia

    Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.


  • Warby Parker

    Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.


  • Asana

    Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.


  • Uber

    For the women and men who drive with Uber, our app represents a flexible new way to earn money. For cities, we help strengthen local economies, improve access to transportation, and make streets safer. When you make transportation as reliable as running water, everyone benefits. Especially when it’s snowing outside.


  • Amazon

    To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.


  • Nike

    Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.

Once you create a mission statement it will help you remain consistently excellent and focused. However, writing it down is merely the first step. Ensure you communicate your mission early and often.

This article has been edited.

Daryoosh Dehestani is an HR Consultant and founder of HRStartup. Connect with @daryooshde on Twitter.


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