As entrepreneurs and business owners, we have a lot of responsibility in our hands. We are able to take dreams, concepts, and ideas and bring them into reality, interacting with a specific target market. In order to grow these concepts into million dollar or hundred million dollar organizations, we need a purpose that aligns with the vision and mission and connects with the target market. The responsibility that we have as entrepreneurs is continuously shaping the business and focusing it on its purpose.
Without purpose that is bigger than yourself, you are more likely to serve only yourself.
This quote is striking in simplicity and truth. Simple, because more often than not, outcomes are self-serving. Truthful, because many entrepreneurs are seeking to better their lives at the cost of others. This may not be in a cruel way, but this intent, whether conscious or subconscious, comes through when the purpose doesn’t serve a large enough need.
Purpose allows an Organization to stand for something
Companies that can empower employees to rally behind a social cause have a more tangible purpose than just profits. At BrandedWorld, we support a local cause in Chicago. The non-profit supports those in social need, transform their life through free dental treatments, job training, and job placement services.
The Lifestyle Business Trap
Many entrepreneurs get stuck in the “lifestyle business” trap that can easily be found online. A lifestyle business can afford the owner a lifestyle that fits them and their schedule, allowing for the perfect mix of personal and business time. On the surface, the pitch for a lifestyle business sounds pretty great. But who is it really serving?
When you think about the description above, all of the descriptors are geared towards the entrepreneur. Yet, the entrepreneur is in business simply because they are serving a targeted niche who want their products or services. Without the customer, the lifestyle business goes away. If the whole purpose is to fund a lifestyle solely for the owner of the business, the purpose is self-serving, and therefore, doesn’t allow itself to scale or attract others who can get behind the cause.
Purpose is Greater than you and your team
An organization’s purpose serves as fuel to propel it towards achieving its vision, by executing on its mission day in and day out. The organization should run like a well-oiled machine, it’s performance reliable and its’ variability low. The model for tbe organization should be tried and true, allowing it to scale with ease.
In order to achieve the above results, the purpose must be greater than the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur’s team. The purpose must unite everyone towards a measurable goal, increasing engagement and interaction among the team.
Unilever has committed to eliminating deforestation around the world by working with governments and participating in industry forums. Those who want to help the environment and are associated with Unilever will be more inclined to help achieve this goal, which ultimately leads to a more sustainable organization.
Starbucks just recently announced that they will be donating 100% of all unsold food to homeless shelters. The organization solved the logistical problem of transporting refrigerated food from its store locations to homeless shelters. The problem was that food that requires refrigeration could only travel so long before being unsafe to eat. By solving this problem, Starbucks will reduce their food waste dramatically and serve a greater purpose.
Tom’s Shoes has a much greater purpose than simply serving its founder. For every pair of shoes purposed, Tom’s will donate a pair of shoes.
These organizations with higher purposes move beyond the bottom line and connect with their audience on a much more emotional level. People can connect with these causes, and in turn, connect with the brand.
Combining an innovative business model with an uplifting purpose positions an organization for both positive growth and impact on the world.
What’s your company’s purpose? Leave a comment below.