Walk through any local neighborhood, and it’s quite obvious that small business is having an impact on that particular community, while at the same time fulfilling an important role in the global economy. All across the globe, there are literally thousands of businesses being created on a daily basis. For some entrepreneurs, it is a “lifetime dream” to be able to own something that they can call their own. For others, it is an “opportunity to survive” in times of struggle.
According to statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor, only half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. Some would consider these statistics great while others would say the statistics are disheartening. Is there any way that the opportunity to “not only survive, but thrive” is able to be improved? The answer is “yes,” but it would require each perspective and current business owner to start at a point that is often rushed over – and that is the beginning.
In establishing their business, many entrepreneurs have spent literally hundreds; if not thousands of hours focusing on a criterion that they believe is the basis to set their business into action. The essential focus is on “what” will be the product or service that will be provided. Once it has been determined “what” that product or service is, some will begin to address the “way” they intend to get the business noticed. Unfortunately, this is in part why so many businesses fail. The problem is in the initial “design” phase.
When designing a business, starting with the “what” and “way” the actual business functions is only interesting to those persons that are intimately involved in creating it (the entrepreneur). While knowing the information in these areas are important, it does not necessarily address the need (or needs) of the person who requires the product or service the most – the actual CLIENT.
Clients do not necessarily “buy” what it is a business does or the way the business does it. Their interest is more in “why” the business does what it does. Now, before someone jumps in and says that the “why” is simply to make money; that simply is not true. Making money is the result of being in business, NOT “why” a business should exist. In other words; if a business is not making money, then the owner is simply “funding a hobby” which can become very expensive. If that is the case, then get out a “business,” because it will become expensive!
Entrepreneurs that are clear in their understanding of why they are in business find that they not only address their needs, but now their business helps address the needs of others. There is clarity in understanding the “purpose” of the business. Knowing the purpose of a business will address “why” the business exists. Once this has been established, the entrepreneur is now able to create a business that externally promotes and develop employees, peers, suppliers, customers, and (yes even) family members that are in alignment with the business itself. Clarity in knowing “who” the business is and where the business is going, will attract the right people to jump on board.
So, what are some of the questions that need to be answered to get to the “why?” Here are three of them:
1. Why do you do what you do?
2. Why is it important to the people you serve?
3. Why does the existence of your organization matter?
These simple, but “difficult” questions now enables a business to formulate a purpose statement. Many of the largest companies in the world have done so using questions like these to determine their purpose.
One such example is Walmart Stores, Inc. An American multi-national retail corporation with over 11,000 stores in 28 countries; Walmart purpose statement addresses the reason why it is successful. Simply stating its purpose to help people “to save money so they can live better,” Walmart has become the world’s largest company by revenue according to the Fortune Magazine’s 2014 Global 500 list. Another company is BMW AG, a major game changer in the luxury car industry. One of the three best-selling automakers in the world, BMW states that their purpose for being is business is “to enable people to experience the joy of driving.”
Entrepreneurs that focus on the purpose or “why” their business exists will find that they will become more efficient and effective in the way their business is being conducted, because it is aligned with what it is intended to do. The corporate vision is now clear, and becomes plain enough for all those that are impacted by the business will either want to get involved in what the business is providing, or support it because it is in alignment with what they need. For an entrepreneur, the greatest five words they will ever hear are “that’s exactly what I need.”
If you want to have a business with impact, I invite you to join me along with top international business leaders for a 6 week Online Course focused solely on providing value for you to grow your business the right way. Click HERE to register.
The author of this post, Warren Winston writes on Values-Based Business and work 1-on-1 with Business Leaders across the world.