Do Businesses Need Mission Statements?

Mission statements are grand proclamations not typically found in sales and marketing plans. However, most everyone believes that a mission statement is important and necessary. So, here’s my take on such things…

I’ve never found a universally accepted definition of what a mission statement should be or even its purpose. Some think it should paint a picture for the future. Others think it is how you differentiate your business from the rest. Others think of it as a slogan.

I’ve even heard smart business people claim a mission statement shouldn’t be made public because it tells competitors where you are going and customers don’t care about the future; they care about what’s in it for them now.

To confuse the issue further, people who are supposed to know about these things talk not only about mission statements, but also about value statements, vision statements and we marketers’ favorite, positioning statements.

I think a mission statement should justify and clarify the business’s or organization’s existence. Its purpose is to distinguish the business from others. It should be specific, easily recalled and provide direction – followed by objectives to fulfill the promises – followed by strategies and plans to make it all happen.