Business Plan Basics for Artists – Your Mission Statement

Creating a Mission Statement for your art or creative business is one of the most important and perhaps most difficult tasks in developing your business plan. In a sentence or two you describe why your business exists, what you sell and to whom, and a bit of your “secret sauce” – in short it is what gets you up in the morning! Your Mission Statement should guide your strategies and everyday actions so that you can achieve your business goals.

Before you start on your Mission Statement I have found that it is a good idea to determine what success means to you. Take a look at this article The Creative Economy: Define Success To Achieve It to get some ideas on the things you should be asking yourself about what success means to you. After you have completed this exercise you are ready to start to develop your Mission Statement.

As I said, it is difficult to develop your Mission Statement. I suggest you write a Mission Statement and then go on to create the rest of your business plan. You may find that your Mission Statement has changed as you go through the business planning process – not a problem! You may also want to delay the final wording as the last piece of your plan.

Some Examples of Mission Statements:


  • CVS Corporation (Pharmacies) – We will be the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use.
  • Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden) – “To nourish and delight everyone we serve.”
  • The Estee Lauder Companies (Cosmetics) – “Bringing the best to everyone we touch”. By “The best”, we mean the best products, the best people and the best ideas. These three pillars have been the hallmarks of our Company since it was founded by Mrs. Estee Lauder in 1946. They remain the foundation upon which we continue to build our success today.”
  • Seattle Jazz Orchestra (Non Profit Organization) – “SJO’s mission is to give the SRJO a secure existence and to enable the SRJO to perform widely and frequently. This means raising money (contributions and grants) and connecting to the community through an active board of directors.”
  • The Walt Disney Company (Entertainment) – “To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.”
  • Microsoft (Software) – “At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.”
  • Nike (Shoes & Apparel) – “To Bring Inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Preparing Your Mission Statement:


  • What products or services do you provide?
  • What markets or customer groups do you serve?
  • What is the geographic coverage of your business?
  • Why do customers buy from you?
  • What advantages do you have over your competition?
  • What makes your business the “only” solution to your customer needs?
  • What is unique about your product or service?
  • How do you want your brand to be perceived?
  • What are the top goals or objectives you have for your business?

Ok now get a piece of paper and start writing down your thoughts – you have now begun the process of creating a business plan for your art or creative business!  Make sure your Mission Statement answers these three questions:

  1. What do we do?
  2. How do we do it?
  3. For whom do we do it?
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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

2 thoughts on “Business Plan Basics for Artists – Your Mission Statement

  1. Tina

    These are very good tips for writing a business plan. And I would really encourage using some industry-proven templates to make sure your plan contains all the information an investor expects to find there.
    All the best luck!

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