Man talking in meeting

The objective of this section is to help you write a succinct mission statement that describes your social business's purpose.

All social businesses begin with a vision – an idea of how the world could be a better place if a project could be established based on a set of values and with particular aims. 

One of the challenges of a social business is that it can have a number of different stakeholders, each with slightly different views and opinions. A strong vision can act as ‘glue’ that can bind these individuals together to move the business forward in a united way. 

A strong vision can motivate staff to work hard, not just because they are contractually obliged to, not just because they get paid to but because by working hard they will also help achieve the vision of the business. 

A strong vision should become part of the culture of the business. A way of embedding the strong vision is to develop a mission statement that will talk about what you will do to achieve your vision.   

If you find it difficult to write a short mission statement, it may be that you have many competing objectives and things you want to achieve. Try and look for common themes that unify these objectives. You may be able to express the mission in terms of the intended social impact, or, for a co-operative, the member benefits.

Write your mission statement with longevity in mind. It will guide the development of the enterprise beyond the foreseeable future, so draft it very carefully – consider every word – and make sure it is agreed by as many stakeholders as possible.

Once you have agreed a mission statement, pin it to the wall. It is important that everybody involved knows the mission statement – this will help to keep activity focused on the mission, resolve conflict and misunderstanding and guide strategic planning.

Check any proposed new activity against the mission statement. If it is considered to be off-mission, you should have an overwhelmingly good reason – and consensus – before going ahead.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is a values-led organisation. The Centre’s vision, mission and values can be downloaded below.