A mission statement can be a powerful tool to help ensure your company remains consistently excellent and focused. It is your "why" - it's why you exist. Your strategy. Your core. Your vision. Your identity. Your culture. And it can steer you toward success.

Is your mission statement boring and generic? Or have you been able to boil down everything your company stands for and strives to be in a concisely simple statement that tells your employees and the entire world why your company is valuable?

What makes a good mission statement?

According to this Inc. article, a mission statement can reflect short-term goals or long-term aspirations, but they should all share four key elements:

  • Value.
  • Inspiration.
  • Plausibility.
  • Specificity.

Some more advice on good mission statements comes by way of this Inc. article:

Don't talk about the company. 

Don't mention "process" - how you do stuff (because nobody cares). 

Focus solely on the result the customer will get from working with you.

Share the result as an "outcome" - an authentic result expressed emotionally. 

If you're curious what makes a terrible mission statement, check out these nine examples if you dare.

Ok, so what can your company learn from some of the biggest startups in the world?

Plenty.

Whether it's just a few words, or a couple sentences, many of the world's most valuable startup companies clearly understand their mission and have made it part of their DNA.

Need some ideas to write or update your mission statement?

If so, you're in luck! I've collected 30 inspiring mission statements from startup companies valued at more than $1 billion.

Take SpaceX for example: "SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today, SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars."

SpaceX's mission statement highlights both its short-term goals (developing the technologies needed to explore space) and long-term aspirations (enabling people to live on other planets, like Mars).

Does it address value and specificity? Absolutely. Inspiration? Nothing more inspiring than space exploration! Plausibility? Sure seems like it!

How about fast-growing startup Slack: "We're on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive."

Quite the aspirational and inspirational mission statement. It also addresses value, though perhaps it's a tad weak on specifics and the jury is still out on whether using Slack will really make your life more pleasant.

Airbnb checks in with the shortest mission statement ("Belong anywhere"), proving you can say a lot about yourself with just two words. Bravo!

Meanwhile the longest entry comes from Moderna's three-sentence, overly wordy, somewhat meandering, slightly generic mission statement (you can read it in full in the infographic below). Might be time to revisit and refine this mission statement, Moderna team.

Check out the full infographic for all 30 mission statements, including those from Uber, Palantir, Pinterest, Dropbox, and many more (in no particular order):

Which of these 30 is your favorite mission statement? Least favorite? Why?