If you are just joining us, this is part 2 of a 3 part series on mission and vision statements so you may want to go back and start from the beginning to catch up. In my previous post, I explained the difference between mission and vision statements and the importance of having a clear mission and vision. Now I'll show you how to create a great mission statement.
How to create a great mission statement
The first thing I'll say is: Don't get all your staff involved! I know, this is contrary to what most experts will tell you. But, trust me, you don't want to do that. The last thing you need is a bunch of people wasting countless hours arguing over semantics. This is exactly how mission statements go wrong. What you want to do is bring in a few key individuals who truly understand your adventure business to help you answer the following questions:
1. Purpose :: Why are you in business? Why does your adventure business exist?
- What do you do on a day to day basis?
- What is our adventure business seeking to accomplish?
- What needs are we trying to address (to increase, decrease, eliminate, prevent, improve, etc.)?
- What problem or condition are we trying to resolve?
- What wants, needs, desires, pain, or problems do our product/services solve?
2. Key Market :: Who are your customers?
- What is our key market?
- Who is our target client/guest/customer?
- Who is our ideal customer?
3. Contribution :: What activities are you going to do to accomplish your purpose?
- What product or service do you provide to your clients?
- What are we committed to providing to our customers?
- What promise are we making to our clients?
- Why should our customers buy from us?
4. Distinction :: What's unique about your adventure business?
- What makes your product or service unique and different from the competition?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What benefits do you offer your customers?
The answers to those questions will provide you all the raw material that you need to start creating your mission statement. Now it's time to retreat to your secret hiding spot to work on this on your own. Your mission should be...
- Short (25 words max)
- Easily understood
- What you want to be remembered for
- Not about money
- Without vague or ambiguous words
- ...and please don't ever use the word "solutions".
Make every word count. You're not done until you can't change a single word. The most powerful mission statements are the ones that use concrete, simple words and are easy to say and remember. Writing a mission statement requires time. It's not a short process because you have to answer some really tough questions and be honest with yourself. It's something you'll want to do over several days - not in one sitting. Most adventure business owners find that the process of creating their mission statement is as beneficial as the final statement itself. That's because the introspective nature of the process enables them to re-focus on what really matters to them and leave the unimportant stuff behind.
The time you'll have spent revamping your new mission statement will have been a complete waste of time... unless you keep referring back to it every time you need to make important decisions. When the time comes, ask yourself: Does this [move, decision, change, idea, product, service, initiative, investment, etc.] support or reinforce our mission statement? If the answer is yes, you'll know right away that you're making the right decision. If the answer is no, it's likely that you'll just have saved yourself a lot of time, energy, and money from heading down the wrong path.
When your done with your newly improved mission statement, give yourself a pat on the back, congratulate yourself, and take the time to share it with the rest of us in the comments section. You're now ready to create a great vision statement.
I'll leave you with a short video from New York based company Holstee's who's manifesto (pictured above) is sure to inspire you to create a mission statement that resonates profoundly with who you are as an organization.
Adventure Business Development 101 Series