Mission statements define the reason that your company exists, let people know what you do, where you are, and where you are going, and generally tell about your values and philosophy.
They are written to a variety of "stakeholders" - customers, employees, suppliers, potential employees and investors, your community, etc.
One thing that really helps us discuss this topic and its application is the fact that so many companies list their missions and vision on-line.
A company that we all know about is Microsoft. They have a special page on-line where they talk about their mission and values - www.microsoft.com/about/default.mspx#values
In "our world" some good examples include:
Solgar - www.solgar.com/Solgars_Mission.aspx. This is a very solid statement telling who they are, how long they've done it, their focus on quality and what channel their products are found in.
New Hope Natural Media - www.newhope.com. (New Hope publishes the Natural Foods Merchandiser.) This statement is written to the business customers that New Hope serves and tells them what New Hope does to help them grow their business.
Maximum Marketing - www.maximummarketing.com/index.php. This brokerage firm covers the East Coast with a spectrum of top-quality lines. Their mission statement is chock full of good stuff! It speaks to their customers, their manufacturers, and their employees about current and future operations and opportunities.
U.N.F.I. - www.unfi.com/OurMission.aspx. One of the best mission statements that I've ever seen is from United Natural Foods. This document is very thorough and is the obvious outcome of a lot of work. Not only are their vision and mission spelled out, they have taken time to speak directly to their retail customers, employees, consumers, suppliers, shareholders (investors), communities, and to the planet. A good number of UNFI business cards that I've received over the past few years have had this entire web page's contents printed on the back of them!
Enjoy checking these out - and send me links of others that you might come across. I'll share the best ones that I get!
I'll be putting up our next discussion point around the 20th of March - don't miss it!