We love to ask business owners why they started their business.
Usually we hear it’s about control, flexibility and making more money than being an employee. And these are good reasons. From the perspective of business growth and maximising value? They might not cut the mustard.
Those three key reasons – control, flexibility and money – are all very inward looking. They’re highly personal motivators. They’re most definitely not reasons why clients will deal with your business. And they’re even more definitely not reasons why people will want to work for your business.
Which means…growth and enterprise value? Not so much.
Simon Sinek (check out this video….) says it brilliantly from a customer perspective. He says people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. In other words, they’ll buy your purpose rather than your product or service.
And he’s absolutely right.
A personal case study.
From my own early days as an financial adviser I recall one particular prospect whom I met with a number of times and thought we’d struck up a good relationship. In my mind he was pretty much ready to sign on as a client but it seemed he had a different view. He was actually rather apologetic when he told me he was going to go ahead with another adviser. His reason? The other guy had told him he’d started his business to “help more people understand what financial security means to them”.
In other words, he was able to clearly articulate his business purpose.
Ouch! And lesson learned.
There’s little doubt that a clear purpose is an incredibly powerful customer engagement trigger. Not only will it resonate with customers and prospects themselves…it’s also really useful for referrers (if you work with them) when they’re asked about your business.
Business purpose is also great for team engagement
As well as being great for customers and prospects, building a team around a purpose also helps build a great culture and strong engagement.
People generally have a desire for their work to be meaningful and part of a bigger picture, otherwise it’s “just a job”. Research continually proves that engaged teams will go the extra mile when they believe in what they’re doing.
For strategic and business planning as well
Being clear about your purpose keeps you and your business on track. It helps focus all your strategic planning and shorter term activity planning so you’re less likely to find yourself straying off course.
The bottom line?
Everyone gets busy with day to day priorities, of that there’s little doubt. But pausing and thinking about “why” you’re in business (beyond simply wanting to be your own boss) can re-energise you and your team by making sure everything you do is “on purpose”.
How can BusinessBlades help?
We'd be happy to share our thoughts on purpose over a coffee. We know clarity of purpose will help you reach outcomes you probably didn't think possible.
Please give us a call or drop us a line to start a conversation.
At the very least, why not check out some other BusinessBlades posts?
There's quite a few posts on business purpose and related issues - we're sure you'll find some gems!
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