What is a 'Mission Statement'

A mission statement is a short sentence or paragraph used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being. These statements serve a dual purpose by helping employees to remain focused on the tasks at hand, as well as encouraging them to find innovative ways of moving towards an increasingly productive achievement of company goals.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mission Statement'

A company’s mission statement seeks to define its culture, values, ethics, and fundamental goals, and how these apply to its stakeholders. The statement reveals what the company does, how it does it, and why it does it. A company’s stakeholders – employees, distributors, suppliers, shareholders, community, etc. – use this statement to align their goals with that of the company. Prospective investors may also refer to a mission statement to see if the values of the company aligns with theirs. For example, an ethical investor against tobacco products would probably not invest in a company whose mission is to be the largest manufacturer of cigarettes globally.

A company’s mission statement differs from its vision statement. While the mission statement remains unchanged for the most part and represents who the company is or aspires to be for the entirety of its existence, the vision statement can change and outlines what the company needs to do to remain who it has presented itself to be. In effect a company’s mission is its identity, and the vision is its journey to accomplishing its mission.

Mission statements vary considerably from company to company. The following examples are the mission statements of some of the trending companies as of 2017:

  • Microsoft – Empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – We see equal value in all lives. And so we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals around the world.
  • Chipotle – To change the way people think about and eat fast food.
  • MGM Resorts International – The leader in entertainment & hospitality - a diverse collection of extraordinary people, distinctive brands and best in class destinations.
  • Nike – To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
  • Walmart – We save people money so they can live better.
  • Starbucks – To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
  • Tesla – To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
  • Airbnb –  Belong anywhere
  • JP Morgan – To be the best financial services company in the world

It is not uncommon for the largest companies to spend many years and millions of dollars developing and refining their mission statement, with many of these mission statements eventually becoming household phrases.

Mission statements aren't just for small or large companies. Many of the most successful individuals, professionals and investors have taken the time to craft a personal mission statement. These personal mission statements often incorporate the financial, professional, spiritual, and relational aspects of life. This in turn helps the individual to keep a healthy work/life balance that increases their personal achievement in all of these areas.
 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Mission Critical

    Mission critical describes any activity, device, service or system ...
  2. Comparative Statement

    A comparative statement is a document that compares a particular ...
  3. Combined Statement

    A combined statement aggregates information on a retail banking ...
  4. Income Statement

    An income statement is one of the three major financial statements ...
  5. Personal Financial Statement

    A personal financial statement is a document or spreadsheet outlining ...
  6. Social Impact Statement

    A social impact statement is a company's account of how its operations ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What are Financial Statements?

    Financial statements are a picture of a company’s financial health for a given period of time at a given point in time. The statements provide a collection of data about a company’s financial ...
  2. Investing

    Evaluating A Company's Management

    Financial statements don't tell you everything about a company's health. Investigate the management behind the numbers!
  3. Insights

    Navigating Government and Nonprofit Financials

    Examining government & nonprofit financials can help you trace where your dollars are really going.
  4. Investing

    Why Financial Statements Are Harder to Read Than Ever Before

    Understand four major reasons that financial statements published in 2016 are more complicated and difficult to read than they were in the past.
  5. Investing

    Sneaky Subsidiary Tricks Can Cloud Financials

    Use consolidated financial statements to uncover a parent company's true performance.
  6. Investing

    5 Things to Know About Investment Policy Statements

    Investment policy statements help guide individual investors. Here are five things to consider when putting one together.
  7. Investing

    Microsoft's New Reporting Structure: A Closer Look (MSFT)

    Learn about the changes being made to the reporting structure of Microsoft's books and how they will affect the way investors read the company's financials.
  8. Personal Finance

    Checking up on America's Financial Fitness

    Investopedia and American Century are driving a tour bus around the Midwest to talk to Americans about their financial questions and aspirations.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between a compiled and a certified financial statement?

    All publicly-traded companies are required to provide financial statements, including a balance sheet, cash flow statement ... Read Answer >>
  2. How are the three major financial statements related to each other?

    Learn why investors analyze a company's financial statements, and how the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement ... Read Answer >>
  3. How do marketable securities impact a company's financial statements?

    Understand how the various components of the financial statements are impacted by a company's investments in marketable securities. Read Answer >>
  4. How do you find a company's P&L statement?

    Learn how to find a company's profit and loss statement, along with the other financial statements that companies regularly ... Read Answer >>
  5. How are cash purchases recorded on a company's income statement?

    Take a deeper look at the treatment of cash payments on a company's financial statements, including how specific purchases ... Read Answer >>
  6. How are a company's financial statements connected?

    When you do research on different companies by looking at their annual reports, you will typically come across two separate ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center