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Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement: The Differences and Why They Matter for Your CrossFit Affiliate Gym

Mission statements help you sell your goals, while vision statements carve a path for the future - do you need both to be a CrossFit affiliate?

Sam Karoll
July 19, 2022
TLDR;
Mission statements help you sell your goals, while vision statements carve a path for the future - do you need both to be a CrossFit affiliate?

There are two key differences between mission statements and vision statements: a vision is what you see in the future and what you want for your gym or business, and a mission statement is the actionable, day-in and day-out practice of how you’ll get there.

They’re two sides of the same coin and both necessary for success. What good is a mission statement if it’s not helping you work towards a long-term goal? And they say a goal without a plan is just a dream, so it’s easy to see how both of these complement each other. It goes deeper than that, so let’s take a dive and talk about it.

What is a Mission Statement?

According to the CrossFit Affiliate Playbook, a mission statement is the objective of your company. It’s the way your company structures goals to meet the end-all desired outcome of your business.

Let’s break it down real quick:

  • What You Plan to Achieve: Do you want to become a pillar of the nonprofit community, help local schools, or just build up your brand and grow your business? There’s no wrong answer—it’s what you want for your company, so figure that out before you start drafting up your first mission statement.
  • Structuring Goals: A mission statement is just a dream unless you assign goal posts along the way. If you don’t know where your end-all goal is, how can you set goal posts between the start and the end point of your mission statement? Exactly, you can’t.
  • Marketing a Plan: Mission statements are also powerful marketing tools. With a mission statement, you briefly explain your core belief and values and translate that to short, snappy copywriting that you can use to tell prospective clients and business partners what you’re all about. It’s extremely effective, like the shortest elevator pitch in history.

So now that you know what a mission statement is, we have to talk about marketing and packaging that statement so that you can use it properly.

A Way to Market Emotion to Your Target Audience

Let’s say you have a room with one-hundred people in it, and they all love CrossFit. It’s all they do for exercise, it’s changed their lives—they’re fans. Is that enough to get them to join your gym? No.

Your gym has to come with an emotional trigger. It could be that your mission statement talks about charity work for nonprofits and how you believe that fitness is for everyone, and that’s how you attract the philanthropist-minded people in that proverbial room.

Talk about safe spaces for people of all religions, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. You’ll trigger an emotional response from a certain subset in that hypothetical group.

Do you see where we’re going with this? Bank on selling emotion, not just equipment time and class schedules.

How You Package Your Mission Statement

Now that you have a mission statement, it’s time to package it accordingly. You can package it with a few different methods.

  • Ask Why: Ask the viewer or prospective customer why they want to get fit, or why they want to join a CrossFit class? The question is enough to elicit an emotional reaction from the viewer and make them think about why they want to join a CrossFit gym or class program.
  • Ask How: Ask people how they’re going to change themselves, and where it starts. Use your mission statement and ask them how they would change their lives and their fitness if they had the opportunity. Elicit that feeling of want.
  • Ask When: If now isn’t the time, when will it ever be? Tug on their heart strings. We all procrastinate, so help them get over it and give a gentle push to help them take action right now. There’s truly no better time than the present.

Packaging your mission statement can be difficult. You have to understand a bit of copywriting and how to make your core values be seen as benefits to joining your gym, not just what you stand by and stand for.

What is a Vision Statement?

According to the CrossFit Affiliate Playbook, a vision statement is a mental image of where you want your business to be in the future. It’s different from a mission statement because the mission statement never ends; your business embodies the message of the mission statement and uses it as a continual selling point.

Vision statements are opportunities to ask yourself a series of questions that can help you turn a dream into reality. It’s similar to a mission statement structure because you do have to outline goals, but this is less technical and data-driven.

Let’s break it down real quick:

  • Where You’re Headed: Find out where you want your business to go. Think of the end of a movie, when everything ties together, and now plan out what that moment would look like for your vision statement. Write it down and put it into action.
  • How You’ll Get There: You still have to set up goals. This is a vision statement, not a vision board (which doesn’t give you any plans on how to get to where you want to). Even if it’s abstract, mark some points that you would like to see that would communicate to you that you and your business are on the right track.
  • If You’ll Get There: Let’s be honest here, not every vision statement that someone thinks of is going to come true. That’s actually one of the points of a vision statement: it helps you understand and identify objectively achievable odds and outcomes. Even if you realize you can’t bring a vision statement to life, you still take something positive away from the process.

Just like with our mission statement, now we have to understand what vision statements do for the business. Let’s break it down further.

An Emotional Reaction Founders Expect Clients to Experience

Your mission statement got people on board, but now you have to tell them where your ride is taking them. In this case, your vision statement is where you want to go, and how they can expect your brand to change.

This is important because if a client doesn’t like your direction, they’ll hop off the wagon. That’s okay, because the ones who like where you’re headed will be there for the long haul, and actually contribute to your gym culture to help you reach those goals.

This is how you, as a founder, make them feel emotions to drive their business:

  • Utilize Your Vision Statement Every Day: Keep your vision statement in the front of your mind at all times. Manifest it into what you do and it will rub off on your clients and your staff.
  • Thank Them: When people feel appreciated, they’ll do just about anything to hold onto that feeling. Thank them for being part of the future of your business and for being such a kind, caring member of your gym.
  • Use it in Marketing: In your email marketing list, social media posts, or push notifications, use part of your vision statement when you talk about the future of the gym. When you update schedules or introduce new machines and class types, inject a little bit about your vision statement in there.

Everyone enjoys seeing other people happy and passionate. It makes them feel like they’re part of something bigger. You may never get an outward reaction from a client, but when you continually talk about your vision statement in various ways, that information gets through to them.

How it Shapes the Future of Your Marketing and Success

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll just stumble around in the dark. Growth for the sake of growth doesn’t mean much. Even at later, larger stages of your business, investors and prospective partners will ask you what your goals are. They want to help you hit them as part of the exchange, so you have to know what they are.

It’s good to have growth that you can measure and talk about, but only if it’s leaning in the direction of your goals. Your vision statement is something that your staff, co-founders, and anyone else in your organization or who wants to become affiliated with your organization needs to have so they know what you stand for. It makes doing business a lot easier.

Why You Need Both

Mission statements help you with the present and short-term, and vision statements help you with the long-term and help you drive emotion for your plan. That plan isn’t just good internally, either—it can open up a world of possibilities, including:

  • Partnerships With Major Brands: Huge brands have their own branding specialists. Whether it’s fitness clothing, gym equipment manufacturers, or what have you, there are tons of brands out there looking to strike up deals with successful, like-minded gyms. Having a solid mission statement (one that you can live by and recite by heart) is how these brands will see you at a first glance. They’re not going to be hyper impressed with that one social media post you made a while back; they want to know what your brand stands for so they can bolster their message, and borrow the attention of your audience.
  • Align With Local Talent: Every day you have a local high school wrestling champion use your gym. Each week, that 10K runner that keeps popping up in the papers is in your gym training for the next big thing. You become the central hub of local talent, and their notoriety can trickle into your gym.
  • Assistance With Local Nonprofits: Nonprofit companies are not only an amazing experience for you to give back to your community, but they can also open up many doors that would otherwise be closed. A lot of big and important people do charity and volunteer work, so just imagine what that nonprofit can do for you in exchange for your help. It’s okay for you to reap the rewards of your good deeds, as long as everyone is winning in the process. That’s called networking.
  • Partnerships in the Future: You’re successful, but you could be more successful. You get approached by an investor to open up another location, and they want in. How are they going to know what you’re about and where your goals are if you don’t have a vision statement? To double down on this scenario, how are you going to know what you want and stay on a straight course if you’re approached by investors with blank checks and you don’t have a vision statement as your internal compass? It’s important at every turn.

Both of these statements seem like smoke in mirrors to many new CrossFit affiliate gym owners. At the end of the day, there may not be many differences between you and another gym down the block. If that gym could take your innovations and offer the same thing to its clientele, then what do you have? You have emotion. Draw on people’s emotions with your mission statement, vision statement, and how you carry your business.

Carve a Path for the Present and Future

Your mission statement is consistent action. Your vision statement is the outcome of long-term consistent action. We’ll tell you right now: consistency is difficult. You have to show up every day no matter what, do your best to provide solutions to your clients and lead your team to reach your goals.

Remember that even though this vision statement starts with you, it includes your team. It’s a team-based success story, and you can’t do it alone. Nobody can. Be sure to share the glory on your rise to the top as you become the most beneficial, relevant CrossFit gym in your entire area. If you stay consistent, you’re already ahead of 95% of the competition.

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Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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