Why you should define the purpose of your businessArticle added by Paul Mallett on January 13, 2014
Joined: September 27, 2012
Ranked: #19 (2,365 pts)
Most companies have no idea what their purpose is. Be different. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take action. Define your business purpose, and communicate it to all your stakeholders. You might just be surprised at what happens.
The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. — Thomas Carlyle
If you are looking for one New Year’s resolution for your practice this year, consider this: Organizations with a strong sense of purpose
perform far better than those that don’t. A new study from research firm Deloitte confirms it.
The survey, conducted in early spring 2013, sampled 1,310 U.S. adults and found that 90 percent of people who believed their organization had a strong sense of purpose also reported a strong financial showing in the business over the past year.
The primary benefit of clarity of purpose is the discipline it provides to help resist the temptation to chase bad ideas. Instead of doing something just because everyone else is, you can look at every opportunity or challenge and ask yourself, “Does this course of action align to our purpose? Does this further our cause?” If it does, do it. If it doesn’t, run.
There is no quicker path to mediocrity, or outright failure, than trying to be everything to everyone. It’s just not a winning strategy. You
have to stand out. You have to strive to be the best in your market at something. Clearly defining your purpose helps make that happen.
Business consultant, lecturer, and "Good to Great" author, Jim Collins, calls purpose the greatest “stop doing” list in the world. If an activity
doesn’t add value or align to your stated purpose, stop doing it. Everything must work together, and everything must align to your purpose.
Finding your purpose is an important first step, but it doesn’t end there. You have to share your purpose with all stakeholders, both inside and outside your business. To see the full benefit, weave your purpose into all of your business communication. Include it in your website,
newsletters, advertising and email campaigns. Explain the importance of your purpose and how all your business decisions roll up to it.
I really like how these successful companies articulate their purposes so simply and clearly:
Google: “We organize the word’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Southwest Airlines: “To connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable and low-cost air travel.”
John Deere: “Helping farmers do a better job feeding the world.”
As you can see, defining your business purpose isn’t rocket science. It’s not as difficult as you might think. You don’t need to hire an
expensive consultant. You won’t have to climb to a Tibetan mountaintop for divine inspiration. To get started, just ask yourself these simple questions:
Blend the answers to these questions together to complete the following sentence:
- What are your core values? What principles and philosophies are you not willing to compromise?
- What can you realistically be the best at in your market?
- What do you have a passion for? What activities in your practice energize you and make your day fly by?
- Why do you do what you do? After you answer that question, ask "why" again and again until you have done it five times, or are
absolutely certain you have found the underlying reasons for your current actions. (Hint: It’s not for the money. Money is the result of
fulfilling your company’s purpose.)
- Who do you serve in your practice? Which clients or types of clients have you been able to help most? What do those people really need? What keeps them up at night? What stands between them and their goals and dreams?
Our company’s purpose is to _____________.
Most companies have no idea what their purpose is. Be different. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take action. Define
your business purpose, and communicate it to all your stakeholders. You might just be surprised at what happens.
There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. — Napoleon Hill
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