4 ways to put purpose to work in your business
Last week we talked about the importance of having a purpose in your business. Today, I want to give you some tips for how to put that purpose to work in your business.
After all, you didn’t go through the whole exercise to define your purpose to hang it, ignored, on the wall.
For your purpose to have any meaning, it needs to be reflected in how the business runs. Every. Single. Day.
Here are four examples of how you can do this.
For our example, let’s use Ed’s Breads. Ed’s Breads is your source for all things Stromboli. Their purpose is:
Ed’s Breads makes events special with their fresh Stromboli made from the best premium ingredients. We understand that the food people serve at events is a reflection on them. They demand the best quality and taste, and want to provide the best to the people they care about. Our customers recognize that hosting an unforgettable event costs money. They are willing to spend it to make their guests happy. Our employees are craftsmen (and craftswomen) who take great pride in the food they produce. They love the challenge of always innovating and developing their craft. Good food makes people happy, so we’re making the world a happier place, one Stromboli at a time.
With that purpose in mind, let’s see how Ed’s Breads handles some common business situations.
Situation: A Groupon salesperson offers a promotion for half off the regular cost. He promises that it will attract many new customers.
If Ed’s Breads had no well defined purpose, it would be tempting to jump at this “opportunity.”
But they do have a well defined purpose. To produce a premium product for people who appreciate and are willing to pay for quality.
How does offering a half-off deal square with that? It doesn’t. They should decline the offer.
Situation: A well-regarded local Theater Company is having a reception for its most important donors. These people are very well off and entertain a lot. It’s an audience Ed’s Breads has had some difficulty reaching. The Theater Company asks Ed to donate breads in exchange for acknowledgement at the event.
Owners shoud evaluate a request like this on how it could advance the company’s goals. Without a clear purpose, how could you even do that?
In this case, there is an opportunity to expose the exact target customer to the product. An added bonus is an association with a respected local institution. Ed’s Breads should provide the food.
Situation: A new supplier contacts Ed’s Breads. It says it can save the company money by providing lower cost, but still ok quality ingredients.
A company without a purpose might jump at a chance to add to the bottom line through cost-cutting. But making top quality food with the best ingredients is a core element of Ed’s Breads’ purpose. It couldn’t be more clear from the purpose that “ok” isn’t good enough. They should stick with their premium suppliers.
Situation: Ed’s accountant tells him that most of the other food businesses in town are paying less than what Ed’s employees make. The accountant suggests reducing the pay to match other local businesses. It would also increase profits in the business.
Many businesses (especially ones with no purpose) try to pay their employees as little as possible. Many businesses also have big problems with turnover and lack of employee engagement. Think there might be a connection between these things?
Ed understands that producing top quality food requires top quality cooks who love what they do. In fact, a core element of the purpose is to provide skilled people with a place to do the work they love. By paying above market salaries, he can be selective about who he hires. This guarantees he gets – and keeps – only the best people.
There you go. Four common situations every business faces. Four examples of how a well defined purpose guides day-to-decisions. I hope you are starting to see how a purpose makes these – and dozens of other – decisions so much easier to make.
Leave a comment and let me know how you use your company’s purpose to make decisions easier.
Learn more about how to bring a purpose to life in your business. Schedule a discovery call.