Why are you in business? I've asked that question often, because I keep finding the need to further clarify it. What is your Purpose?
A little of my story
At first I just wanted to make some extra money. That's a tough motivation for me because if I think that way then I get impatient - my focus is not where it should be. Of course, anyone in business is doing it at least in part for the money. I don't know any people so rich and bored that they start a business just for something to do and intend to lose money in the process. As altruistic as we are, we still have the habit of eating, and sleeping indoors.
My personal belief system won't allow me to be satisfied with simply making money, so I found the need for clarification. My second answer was to help a friend make enough money to go full time as a small-business owner. I decided that it would be educational for me and I would help him fulfill a dream. So I jumped in with both feet!
After clarifying my purpose more, I'm now wanting to help small-business people so that I can create a good influence in this world. I want to eventually help many people improve their lives (not just their businesses), so my focus is more holistic than monetary. That's coming from a heart of ministry that I have nurtured for almost 20 years. It's a part of who I am. I can't just look at the physical and be satisfied with it. I need to build connections and relationships so that I can have some influence in other areas of a person's life--as much as allowed, of course. Whether it's helping people learn to have a better outlook on life, helping them learn how to better manage their homes, or even taking steps in spiritual directions, I know that influence is earned, not assumed. And I'm willing to do something I love in order to help other people live better lives.
How my purpose can help you
So allow me to tell you how my Purpose benefits you: I'm invested in your success. But for now I want to use this discussion of my goals as a catalyst and an example. It's not that my story is the perfect example, but it's one that I am familiar with, and I know many people can relate.
Why you need to clarify your purpose more
You need to clarify your reason for being in business. There are many benefits to this clarity, and here are a few that I have learned through experience:
- You need clarity of purpose for motivation. Building something important is not easy, and it shouldn't be. You better have a good reason to keep going when you get knocked down.
- You need to understand your audience. Your Reason will help you relate to the people you are trying to reach. It will help clarify what actions you should be taking with them. And because of that...
- You Reason will help provide a game-plan, policies, and procedures.
- You can look at your work and determine whether your plans are accomplishing what you hope. No one has a magic ball. There is a lot of trial and error in building your business, but you need to be able to see if you are succeeding. If you want to make tons of money, you can determine that by looking at your funds, but if you want to change the world, you must get more specific so you can know if you are making progress!
- You will attract others with similar goals and dreams. That's just how it works. If you look at the people you have attracted, they will tell you what kind of person you have presented yourself to be. So in a way, you deserve the audience you receive.
There may be many other benefits associated with clarifying your Reason for being in business. If you can add to them, I'd love to hear your comments below!
How to find that clarity
But there is one more thing to consider: HOW do you clarify your Reason? This can be soul-searching, difficult work, but the results make the effort worth it! Here are four ways to help clarify your Reason.
- Fill in the blank: All ___________________________ should ____________________________ . I learned this from Jeff Goins at his recent Tribe Conference. The first blank relates to the people in your niche and the second blank refers to something your business provides. So "All 25-45 year old men should drive a truck." "All dog owners should own my dog collar." If your product is not something you believe helps people, why are you in that business?
- Margie Warrell wrote that purpose is a combination of your values, skills and expertise, talents, and passions.Define these and you will gain more clarity for your business.
- Dan Wilson at PracticalEcommerce says to consider your customer's needs, not what product you are offering. Instead of selling a book about dating, re-engineer your outlook. You are providing help for people to have a happy life through a healthy marriage. I've learned that people usually do not care what you are selling until they see how it helps them improve their lives in some way.
- One last piece of advice I have employed is to start with "What am I trying to accomplish here? And then ask "So what?" --and do not be satisfied with the answer until you answer it at least 5 times. What ARE you wanting to accomplish? "I want to sell lots of books." So what? (Why does that matter to anyone else that you wrote a book?) "I want to help people have a better marriage." So what if you want people to have a good marriage? They can get marriage advice from all kinds of places. Why would they want it from you? "I want to use my experience and strengths to show them principles to use to make marriage great." So what? "I want to help people be happy in life and find fulfillment by learning to experience a good marriage." Now we're getting somewhere! Could you possibly answer that question one or two more times? Keep narrowing your focus and make it resonate with the people you are going to affect.
We've seen that there are many good reasons to clarify your vision, and I've outlined four ways to help you do it. What are you going to do with this information? Have you determined your Reason for doing business? I'd love to hear about it! Comment below and tell others how you can help them!