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Costco Mission Statement is Proof That Sometimes Simplest is Best

Costco Mission Statement is Proof That Sometimes Simplest is Best

Google “how to create a mission statement” and you get 1.17 billion results, each one with its own tips and tricks designed to help you create an effective mission for your business. “Keep it short.” “Think long term.” The suggestions go on and on.

This alone is enough to turn business owners off, mainly because the process seems way too complex. Yet, as Costco teaches us, when it comes to mission statements, sometimes taking the simple route is best.

Costco Mission Statement

If you go to the web page containing the Costco mission statement, you’ll see that it says:

Here at Costco, we have a very straightforward, but important mission: to continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.

Costco goes on to explain that it uses a code of ethics to achieve this mission, which involves doing things such as obeying the law, taking care of members and employees, and respecting suppliers.

Additionally, Costco states that it will meet its number one goal as long as these codes are followed, which is namely “to reward our shareholders.” And that it does as Macrotrends reports that Costco’s annual revenues have steadily increased since at least 2005, growing from $54.3 billion to more than $152 billion as of May, 2019.

While not every business will reach these mega-numbers, yours could be one of them due, in part, to modeling Costco’s simple, yet extremely effective mission statement. How?

Modeling Your Company’s Mission Statement After Costco’s

The first step is to decide what sets your company apart from competitors within your particular market or industry.

For example, while Costco may be like other larger retail chains in its goal of providing “the lowest possible prices,” what differentiates it from similar competitors is that, many times, it does beat their pricing.

The Krazy Coupon Lady points out that some of these rock bottom prices are for Kirkland brand products—Costco’s proprietary trademark—while others are made by manufacturers and include McCormick seasonings, Nutella hazelnut spread, Red Star yeast, Frigo string cheese, and Earthbound Farm organic baby spinach.

Another way that Costco is different from other wholesale-type retailers is that it offers “quality goods” or brand name items you won’t necessarily find in these other stores known for their competitive pricing.

For instance, you can’t go in a Big Lots store and find a two-carat diamond ring or a 65-inch Samsung, Sony, or LG TV. Yet, you can find these higher quality items at Costco stores.

So, think about your own company and what it does differently than others within your market. Specifically, how do you set yourself apart from your competitors in a way that increases consumer attraction and retention?

Consider Breaking It Down

Once you’ve identified your ultimate mission, the one that will help you increase your revenues year after year, consider doing what Costco has done and breaking it down further.

Though Costco calls these its “code of ethics,” you can simplify it even more and designate them as actions you intend to follow in an effort to support your company’s mission.

Either way, these codes or actions are the values your business will adhere to when dealing with employees, consumers, vendors, and anyone else you regularly come in contact with.

As an example, your company may name acceptance of all people as a top value, or it may list the importance of acting with honesty and integrity. There are no right or wrong answers here, just the naming of values that your company promises to uphold when doing business.

If you struggle to come up with the values most important to you and your company, Scott Jeffrey, the founder of CEOsage, offers a list of over 200 values to consider. Browse through them and see if any jump out at you. Jeffrey also differentiates them by category if you find a number of values that strike a chord with you and want to use a term that envelopes them all.

Getting Back to the Basics

While other companies are working hard to create complex, paragraphs-long mission statements, Costco’s mission statement proves that sometimes getting back to the basics is all you need to keep your company driving in the desired direction.

Plus, many consumers appreciate this type of approach since it isn’t convoluted by a bunch of big words and abstract ideas. Instead, it is a straightforward declaration that tells you exactly what you can expect when doing business with them.

Give your consumers the same type of no-BS approach and they may just thank you for it. After all, if it worked for Costco, there’s a good chance it will work for you too.


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.