I have never found a business that succeeded without a purpose. It may start and grow for a short time, but it ultimately stalls if all you’re hoping to do is make money. Money is a short term motivator for most people. To build an extraordinary business, you must find and continue to focus on the purpose your business plays in your customers’ lives.
When I think about many of the great entrepreneurs I’ve worked with in my lifetime, none could sustain their business without having a clearly defined purpose. Now that being said, is their purpose always the same? Are their dreams all equal? Not really. I think it doesn’t matter what their dreams are, but the fact they have dreams.
These dreams can are so vivid they take the successful entrepreneur to a different place than where their customers and clients are now. Think of Sam Walton, Fred Smith, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Walt Disney and the businesses they help create that will live on forever.
I thought it might be helpful to share several questions I’ve used to help entrepreneurs to reconnect with their passions and purpose. When I’m involved in mergers or acquisitions, I start my conversation with the entrepreneurs discussing what caused them to found their business.
Many are surprised by my line of questioning; wondering what does this have to do with selling their business? I share that without a larger purpose it will be very difficult to sustain the business after they leave. An owner’s passion can sustain a small business almost forever. The best leverage comes when all the team members are engaged in creating a breakthrough organization.
Let’s walk through these questions to see if I can help you rediscover your business’s purpose. A great resource for this discussion is Roy M. Spence Jr.‘s book called It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. He has many great questions to help you put back the mojo in your business and your life. He has a great exercise on Discovering Your Purpose on page 47 of this book.
To get you started, I’d like you to think about your business and what you hoped to do for your clients and customers. Remember, the more time you focus on your customers’ wants and needs, the more clear your vision for your business becomes. Now let’s get started!
What difference do your products and services make in your clients’ lives?
Do you share a common challenge that you’re able to help your clients with?
Do your clients see the connection to what’s going on in their lives and the service you provide?
What would happen if you stopped offering your product or service?
How important is your product to their daily lives or that of their family members?
Why do your customers choose your brand or service over others in the market? What emotions do your services connect through?
What do they think you do better than anyone else in the world? Why do they feel this? Would they share your product with family, friends, and their communities?
How do you make your clients feel when they interact with you or your brand? How might you connect on different levels?
How do you want people to see your solution in their lives?
Take a few moments to think through each of these questions and the impact your product or service makes in the lives of your clients/customers. From there you can determine your purpose. A strong sense of purpose re-energizes your people and creates evangelists from your customers.
There is nothing more powerful than a business that is so connected to their clients that it is hard to determine who customers are and who are employees. Are you looking for a great blog to inspire and help increase your influence today? You might enjoy How do You Build Influence like Ben Franklin?
Don’t just be in business to make money when you can just as easily change the world. Look to create a purpose driven organization and you will fall in love with your customers and your business all over again. See you here next week where we will discuss creating a more innovative culture to help you and your teams develop breakthrough products and services.
I had unexpected surgery this week but will return to our scheduled blog next week when I return to my office full-time. See you next week.