Defining your why

Let’s get real - what’s the point of your business? Why does it exist? Did you inherit it, see a gap in the market or simply create it out of passion? Oh, and another thing – why should people invest in you; work for you; buy from you? What’s in it for them? If you can answer these questions then great, you’re on your way to getting to understand the purpose of your business.

Your ‘why’ should be one of your business’ key drivers. It is the heart of every decision you make so it’s best to spend time defining that now before you do anything further.

Revisit your mission, strategy, vision and value statements

Still having trouble answering what the purpose of your business is? Then perhaps it’s time to revisit your mission, strategy, vision and value statements. Although these don’t define your purpose, they can go a long way in helping you to answer why your business exists and if they don’t reflect your purpose you may want to think about changing them.

Your mission statement is what you do, your strategy is how you plan to achieve your long to short term goals, and your business values will guide the way your mission and strategy are executed.

Thinking about these or reviewing them in your business strategy can help you to define your why? Your purpose should be aspirational. It’s big picture thinking. It should inspire you to create value beyond financial gains. It should take in to consideration employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, growth and change.

Employee satisfaction

Defining your why isn’t only important for yourself, but for your employees too. A clearly defined purpose gives your team a clear sense of what their contribution means and how they should go about things every day. It gives their work meaning and motivates them as they feel they’re contributing to something bigger. Additionally, having a well-known purpose clarifies expectations and work standards and can assist in helping to retain staff and attract top talent.

However, for your why to be truly effective you need to ensure your purpose resonates with employees. They’re not necessarily driven by the same factors as business owners. Making it important to think about what’s in it for them? What’s in it for the customer? You’ve got to make them feel it.

Customer loyalty

Fact. Taking cost and quality out of the equation. Customers are more likely to ‘buy in’ to what you’re selling if they’re able to resonate and connect with the purpose of your business.

Customers are faced with choices every day. They need a reason to choose your business over another who does exactly the same thing making it imperative for your purpose to be clearly defined. A well-defined purpose emotionally connects and encourages long-term relationships with the consumer. It’s ok if your employee and customer purposes are different. It’s expected. However they do need to correlate and mirror each other.

Inspire business growth and change

If everyone has a clear understanding of your business’ purpose, they’re more likely to embrace and understand the need for change and growth. Your purpose should be viewed as a guiding light that inspires ideas, future proofs your business and helps you to focus on what really matters. It should help to provide you with strategic clarity; Defining what your next steps are and what your mission, strategy and values are going to be in the future.