Company Culture
Business / Workplace culture

It’s never too late to give your business a statement of purpose

Looking for a productive team-building exercise? Think purpose.

Knowing your purpose helps employees pinpoint their goals. (Photo by Pexels user fauxels, used via a Creative Commons license)
What’s your purpose?

A company statement of purpose, the 2020s version of a mission statement, should help unify your team by setting a common goal. They’re a little bit branding, a little bit company culture and a little bit expectation setting.

This is not the same as your strategic vision (check out’s here). A statement of purpose is concise — usually a single sentence or two that tells the world what your company priorities are at a glance.

If your company doesn’t have one, they’re pretty simple to create, and they can have significant impact.

Creating your purpose statement

A good first step is to look at the purpose statements of successful companies:

  • “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.” — Kellogg’s
  • “Refresh the world. Make a difference.” — Coke
  • “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” — Starbucks
  • “Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” — Southwest Airlines
  • “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” — Google

Statements of purpose are simple, almost slogan-like. In fact, your slogan should be a simplified version of your statement of purpose that conveys the same idea in a way that’s current, easy remember and mades a good base for a campaign, like Coke’s 2020 slogan “Together Tastes Better.”

Maximizing impact

According to the Harvard Business Review, a statement of purpose can impact four areas of your business:

  • Marketing and sales — A strong purpose can draw new customers and increase customer loyalty.
  • HR — It can attract new employees and retain the employees you have.
  • Governance and sustainability — It can improve performance environmentally and socially.
  • Strategy and finance — It can serve as guide for resource allocation and risk management.

That’s a lot. You don’t want to overreach. Stating, for example, that your company purpose is “to rid the world of plastics” is unrealistic and therefore pretty meaningless. But if your purpose was “to provide an environmentally friendly plastic alternative that is accessible to all,” that means something, and it can impact all four areas.

Make it a team effort

Entrepreneurs are often encouraged to create and display their statements of purpose on their website, separate from their About page — which is more for telling your story and introducing team members — and other sections. At that stage, it might be one or two founders or a founder and mentor creating the statement.

As your company grows, revisiting your statement of purpose periodically can help you retain or pivot your focus. It also allows for additional input about what your company’s purpose is.

Brainstorming an updated statement of purpose can be a productive team-building exercise that can give you insight into how your employees perceive the business. It can be as simple as asking team members to write down a statement of purpose for the company, comparing them, and building a new one. Or not, if you find that your current statement doesn’t need updating — don’t fix what isn’t broken.

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