Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you have a business?
When I ask business owners this question, I often get some version of “to make money.” It is often delievered in a tone that screams “are you stupid?”
“Money for who?” I ask.
“For me, of course” is always the reply.
Here’s the thing…
If the purpose of a business is to provide money to the owner, they’ve created a job for themselves. They haven’t built a business.
Yes, making money is a purpose of a business. But it shouldn’t be the purpose.
It shouldn’t be because money is never enough to keep you motivated. If you are trying to build a business only to get rich, you’re setting yourself up for a big fall. If you aren’t driven by a bigger purpose or vision, sooner or later you find that there isn’t enough money in the world to keep you motivated.
Every business needs a higher purpose. A reason for being. A thing to work toward.
It gives meaning to the work and provides the spark that helps you push through when things get tough.
If you don’t have one for your business. You need to get one – fast.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What does the business do for you, other than make money?
- What does it do for its customers?
- What does it do for its employees?
- What does it do for the community?
Come up with specific answers that you believe in.
The consequences of no purpose
When your business lacks purpose, you’re flying blind. You keep missing the target because you don’t know what the target is.
Businesses without a purpose:
- Spend all their time and energy lurching from crisis to crisis.
- Are stuck in reaction mode.
- Never make any progress toward their goals.
You are stuck in a constant scramble to react to what happens to you. That means you can never take any proactive steps to grow. Instead, you lurch from crisis to crisis.
Without a vision, there are no priorities. Everything seems important and urgent. Nothing gets done.
Wondering why your business has you feeling miserable, frustrated, overwhelmed, and out of control?
This is a likely culprit.
What happens when you find purpose
When you define the business’ purpose, everything changes.
You become proactive. You relentlessly pursue your goals.
Once you have goals you believe in, it’s only natural to pursue them with everything you have. When you have a purpose, it becomes a filter through which you decide where to invest time and energy. Either something supports your purpose or it doesn’t.
Suddenly, your business is about something bigger than a paycheck. It’s about making a difference in the world. It’s something that motivates you and your employees.
When you have a purpose you believe in, you find the drive to achieve your goals. Your employees go above and beyond to achieve the goal.
You end up with a business that makes more money than when your main purpose was to make money.
What to do now
Now that I’ve convinced you to define a purpose for your business, here’s what you need to do.
Block out quiet time to reflect on what matters to you. Reflect on the impact you want to have on the people you serve.
Thoughtfully answer the questions I posed at the beginning of this article. Keep revising your answers until you get to something that excites you.
Next week, I’ll talk about some practical steps you can take to bring your purpose to life in your business.
What do you think? Share your purpose in the comments.