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 a businesses without a clear why, you will see plenty of evidence including lack of appreciation for 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 following tips.
- Write down what you’re good at.
All of it. Everything from cooking omelets 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.
- Write down your needs and wants.
In other words, your ideal personal/professional life (the line will blur).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 communications. Don’t try to force any associations or come up with ideas. Just let your mind ruminate on it, playfully and freely.
- Write a mission statement.
This is where you match your skills to your needs/desires and your values. Use words, phrases, sentences… don’t worry about grammar… this is for you, to clarify your purpose. Your mission statement should inspire you.
To inspire you:
Patagonia clothing brand:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
“Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages. We strive to grow our business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our products, with sustainability and great taste for all.”
“Offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.”
“Up for Good: In the air and on the ground, we’re committed to bettering the lives of our customers, crew members, and communities – and inspiring others to do the same.”
Your purpose should ignite your passions, stimulate personal growth, inspire you to be the best you that you can possibly be, leverage your skills/knowledge/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 are selling, they buy WHY you are selling it.”