Revenue is important, but purpose is paramount. And I know that on my journey to grow my own small business it has felt even more important to intentionally define who we are as we take our next steps. So the question we have had to ask ourselves at one point or another (or many points) is: what is our mission?
How do we take a moment, in the midst of the daily craziness–the papers pushed, deadlines, dead ends, traffic and taxes, to re strategize, to fortify and cohesively alter course for a more focused goal?
The philosophical question is: why are we doing this? What makes what we are doing unique? And how can we do it in such a way that I can captivate clients and inspire employees?
In pursuit of that answer, my agency has come to self determine our mission and build (and rebuild) our central mission statement.
It is a central focus for me and my business today and I have, as such, spent a lot of time trying to determine what works for an independent insurance agency in San Diego. There have been a lot of ideas that didn’t work, alterations and iterations that have fit but only briefly, and as we have grown we have found a few helpful tips for keeping our momentum and keeping us focused.
1. When making (and improving) our mission statement we choose something too large, too ambitious and always slightly beyond our current abilities.
The old saying: “let our reach exceed our grasp,” was an excellent influence for our mission statement. Tom Cruise wasn’t in Mission Possible. No one is inspired by possible–everyone can do possible. Consumers don’t want to buy possible. Consumers want to buy almost-possible. They want to buy cutting edge, new, the ever intangible, cool. And cool comes from just out of reach, cool comes from the interesting, the daring, the beyond.
So, if your mission is to give away one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair sold…or to end childhood obesity…or how our’s started: reinvent the independent asset protection business for small businesses and individuals…we all may just be on to something there–something out of reach, something impossible or even (dare I say it) something cool.
2. Our mission statement has always been a rough draft– with the goal of innovating with our marketplace and target clientele.
I think that strategic innovation is likely a shared characteristic among all of the top companies in the world. Core beliefs, if done right the first time, should rarely change, but innovation allows for a consistent recalibration that better aligns us to maximize both efficiency and effectiveness. Recognizing a new strength/opportunity and focusing on that vertical is not a deviation from purpose, but rather a wedge to increase the pressure we can apply in pounds per square inch on a specific bulls eye.
So a mission statement may start out with a shoe bought is a shoe donated to a person in need, but then it may be edited to include sunglasses, back packs, drinking water…etc, or evolve from curing childhood obesity to include eating disorders, or for us: iterating from the reinvention of independent asset protection into making available the knowledge and easy accessibility of necessary coverages.
And finally 3. We have focused on making our mission spiritually positive.
There is no company that I can think of today that has created lasting success without having a mission that is in someway positive. I could certainly be wrong, but I like to believe that if a mission is not to impact more than ourself, we will fail. If our mission is to deceive, take advantage of or abuse, we will fail. But, if our mission is to improve and empower the world around us (however great or nuclear that world is) we will succeed. If its not something that creates positive momentum and empowers others, what real and unique increase in value are we bringing to the market place?
So what has worked for me, what I believe in and what I will continue to strive for is: to shoot for just past possible. to always be willing to edit and recalibrate. And make to make our goal spiritually positive.
Always exceeding our grasp,