Do you know the ‘why’ of your business? It’s your business’ purpose. Aside from making a living, it’s the core reason why your business exists. Having a purpose-driven brand means infusing your business with passion, vision and values, along with a desire to make a positive impact.
A lack of purpose is easy to identify in people: if they are unmotivated, stressed, unfulfilled, pessimistic or they play the blame game, then they aren’t clear on their own why.
In businesses, without a clear why, you will see plenty of evidence including lack of appreciation of their employees, a culture of increasing margins at any cost and a negative atmosphere.
The good news is that you can find your why, and at the same time clarify your business’ why by adopting the tips in this post.
This exercise involves taking time and writing, but if you’re serious about having a purpose-driven life and a business you love, you’ll find the time.
1. Write down what you’re good at
All of it. Everything from cooking omelettes to putting together a chic outfit; from ‘wrenching’ on your motorcycle to strategic planning; from starting a fire to reading upside down to your kids.
2. Write down your needs and wants
In other words, your ideal personal/professional life (the line will blur).
3. Write down your values
What’s important to you? Freedom? Integrity? Community? Altruism? Innovation? Note: don’t say “wealth” because wealth is only a means to an end. Think about what you will do with your wealth.
4. Write down how you want to be remembered
What do you want your legacy to be? This is the impact you want to make in the world. It could be anything from helping people find the right home, to making sure your guests have a memorable dining experience, to raising happy and self-reliant children.
5. Read what you have written and refine it over the next couple of hours, days or weeks
Let it percolate in your mind. This is vitally important because you will give your brain a chance to start forming associations.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, for example, had a passion for calligraphy, which is how he developed the iconic Apple fonts that have become the standard for modern communication.
Don’t try to force any associations or come up with ideas. Just let your mind ruminate on it, playfully and freely.
6. Write a mission statement
This is where you match your skills to your needs/desires and your values. Use words, phrases and sentences. Don’t worry about grammar – this is for you, to clarify your purpose. Your mission statement should inspire you.
Your purpose should ignite your passion; stimulate personal growth; inspire you to become the best that you can possibly be; leverage your skills, knowledge and experiences, so that your business is authentically “you.”
Your statement should be achievable (like a big goal, you want your mission statement to be smart – challenging, yet fulfilling).
It should positively impact your customers, employees and community, and describe how you would deliver on your promise.
Once you know your business’ why, the “how” of doing business will fall into place. Your statement will give you focus, motivation and it will guide your decisions in a way that is satisfying, fulfilling, positive, challenging (in a growth-minded way), and yes, fun.
Like Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.