How do you find your business purpose and why is it so important to success?

find your business purpose

Is finding your business purpose important? I know it might sound like feel-good rubbish, but could it help your new business succeed?

I. Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and “why”
II. What is business purpose in a small business?
III. How do you find your business purpose?
IV. Money is not the main motivator for many new business owners.
V. How do you use your business purpose?
VI. The definition of business culture for a small business owner
VII. How does business purpose increase my business value?

It goes without saying that becoming a business owner is a time of change and reinvention in your life. You’ve probably been working away at a job for years before finally taking the plunge. With that in mind does it make sense to find some purpose in your new venture?

In this article we explore how to find your business purpose in the crazy world of small business.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and “why”

The “find your why” craze might be traced to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk about the Golden Circle Start with Why. Sinek’s theory is customers buy into the “why” behind a business rather than its’ products. It is an excellent talk and worth watching.

Simon Sinek’s talk triggered an explosion of big businesses trying to describe their “why”. Many of them will have done so in an attempt to emulate Apple’s success.

Compass to mean Business Purpose

What is business purpose in a small business?

Your business purpose is a succinct statement about why your business exists and the essence of your beliefs and attitudes. It should speak about the “heart and soul” of your business.

Many exceptional businesses have a deep understanding of their business purpose. They are “confident” about their identity. Their employees seem to understand how they fit into a higher purpose or cause.

Having a well-defined business purpose can lead to higher levels of employee engagement. When employees are engaged and happy in their work, they provide a better customer experience.

In this context, it makes a great deal of sense to identify and embrace a purpose. The authenticity it promoted can set you apart from your competition.

Many will say that their business purpose is simply to make money. That one’s personal life and values are entirely separate things. Well, it might not be as clear cut as that.

The small business universe is very different from the big business world. Cold corporate thinking lends itself to the ideology of “business is business and personal is personal.” No wonder big business seems to struggle so much with matters such as identity, values and culture!

In small businesses, however, the value system of the owner is interwoven with the business. It sets the culture of the business. In very blunt terms, if the owner of the business has questionable values, so to will the business. And, a business that does not operate to a set of values will come unstuck at some stage. At the very least, it will not reach the levels of success it should have.

Being a small business owner means your personal purpose and business purpose are linked together. It’s down to you to develop and nurture them.

How do you find your business purpose?

Start by knowing yourself and considering your life’s values and motivations. How do you want these embodied in your business? Look for areas where your personal motivations and values overlap with what your business does.

  • Holistically look at yourself to explore your motivation, aspiration and ambition.
  • What are the values, beliefs and attitudes that you hold precious and are not willing to sacrifice?
  • Which beliefs guide you as a person through life?

In episode 2 of the Podcast we discuss how important this is in a bit more detail. There is also a worksheet to help clarify your thinking.

When thinking about owning a business, decide how you will influence the business culture to complement its purpose.

Money is not the main motivator for many new business owners.

Many people start businesses because they have strong motivations for things other than money.

A survey published by NAB Group Economics shows 66% of people like the idea of being their own boss while only 24% said that financial gain was their main motivation for starting a business.

Don’t be afraid to write down and capture what you truly value, as you will find you are not alone.

In SIOAB Episode 3-Understanding Your Motivation, we explore some of the reasons why people like owning a business.

Here are two other articles that you might find interesting:

Do business owners have a better work life balance and less job burnout?

Why quit your job to own a business-what really motivates you?

How do you use your business purpose?

  • Be authentic – Authenticity is not about being perfect or stating platitudes, it’s about being real. Your potential customers will smell marketing “b.s.” a mile away.
  • Use plain language and not management jargon – Ordinary people find the use of complicated language off-putting.
  • Support causes that align with your values and talk about those things with your customers.
  • Develop a culture that supports your purpose – do not accept behaviours that do not align with your values.

Once you are clear about your business values, apply them in every aspect of your business. But, be warned! You are on show to your staff and customers so you must honour what you say.

Your business purpose helps set your organization’s internal character. In a practical sense, it will enable you to select employees based on their “fit”. Recruit new employees carefully as a lousy culture will defeat a great strategy every time.

Your business purpose will also be crucial in crafting your marketing messages. Develop a language and “tone of voice” to use with your customers so they hear your authentic purpose.

Your business purpose and culture will become based upon your real values.

The definition of business culture for a small business owner

Employees look to you, as the small business owner, for guidance and leadership. New staff will be curious about you and wonder what makes you tick.

Essentially, every business has a culture that stems directly from its leader, no matter how small the business is.

Every business, no matter how small, has a culture.

Business culture is the collective personality of  a business experienced internally (by employees) or externally (by customers) through their interaction with the business.

Culture is often only talked about in the context of larger organizations. Because it’s so difficult for them to manage or change their culture, they employ specialist people to try!

Fortunately, you won’t have to employ specialists if you go about it correctly from the start.

You will “reap the culture you sow”, so it’s worth putting the effort to get the business culture you want!

You will enjoy the culture that you deserve!

If you don’t influence the emergent culture, then quite simply, you deserve what you get and many established businesses are in this mess.

So the point is that “your why” influences your business purpose and culture.  

How does business purpose increase my business value?

Having a clear business purpose enables you to build a great culture and, ultimately a successful business.

Although it is intangible, culture is still a huge asset to your business. If and when a potential buyer comes along, they will notice that there is something special about the “feel” of your business.

They may not be able to put their finger on it right away. But, what will become clear is that the good numbers they are seeing on the financial reports are supported by something other than good products. Or, good sales processes. They will identify that the performance has been supercharged by a great team.

To the savvy buyer, that realization is the “holy grail”.

So, is it worth putting time and effort into identifying your business purpose? Is it worth developing and nurturing a culture that supports it?

Yes it is.

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