In my last blog post published two weeks ago, I wrapped up my research on the relationship between innovation and entrepreneurship with a detailed examination of companies such as Tom’s and Warby Parker. Over last week I switched the focus of my research onto identifying the significance of a mission (statement) for a startup company. And just like innovation, a correct mission, often introduced in a concise but wise mission statement, can help a company in multiple ways, including raising its market value by attracting additional customers, and solving practical problems present in our society nowadays.
The word “mission,” always interpreted as a potential goal and philosophy, plays an essential part in defining a company’s function, markets and competitive advantages. Almost every single company in this world has its own mission, and what all of them are doing is to get the mission complete. The mission of a company is always expressed through the “mission statement” section of the business plan. A mission statement, by identifying the exact goal of the company, provides the public with reasons why the company exists, and an idea how the company is going to achieve success by following its mission. Also, since most companies identify specific target market and the products/services they produce in their mission statement, the public can also get a clear sense of the company’s value and function from such crucial paperwork.
Of course, missions vary among DIFFERENT companies, as they work in DIFFERENT industries and provide DIFFERENT products/services to DIFFERENT layers of customers. For example, as I mentioned in my last blog post, Warby Parker’s mission statement is “to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious business,” in which the product as well as the goal of the company are identified. Honest Tea’s mission is to “create and promote green-tasting, healthier, organic beverages,” in which the uniqueness of its product is expressed in a brief statement. Besides the function of introducing products, a mission statement can also identify a company’s bigger role in the society. It is especially helpful for those companies with a social mission. IKEA claims that, “our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.” Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, says with confidence that, “we are building the best product while causing no unnecessary harm. We use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
How is a persuasive mission statement important then? Well, first and most obviously, it allows the public to know what product the company is producing and why the company chooses to produce such a product. After reading the mission statement of Honest Tea, everyone will understand that it is company that provides healthy and organic tea products for the market, and it also represents a healthy lifestyle. Second, a unique mission statement with a correct mission allows the company to distinguish itself from all the other similar corporations who are producing similar products. Warby Parker’s mission statement differentiates itself from other eyewear companies, such as GlassU, by emphasizing the socially-conscious layer of its own existence. Last but not least, a mission statement that incorporates a social perspective may attract additional audiences, especially for social enterprises, because people may resonate with such a social mission. Patagonia attracts those who care about environments by clearly identifying its goal to improve the surrounding environments.
Therefore, no matter in which industry you will be working, never forget about the importance of an attractive mission statement that clearly express your company’s goal and philosophy. Even though a mission statement seems relatively trivial in length compared to other parts of a business plan such as target market identification and financial analysis, it is actually the very basic component of a business. Investors care about it. Customers care about it. And even employees care about it. The mission of a company can always be adjusted according to the fluctuation of the market and the change of surroundings; however, it should never be overlooked because it represents the company in an indispensable way.
That wraps up my blog post this week. In my next blog post on entrepreneurship I will keep exploring how a mission statement plays a role in the development of a startup by using my own examples. I will be introducing the mission of both my own sneaker business and “OneStop,” the transportation application that my team and I are working on. Stay tuned!