Purpose has become a buzzword for business over recent years. Maybe for you, as for many of us, it has been something to tick off on your ‘to do’ list in the space your mission statement used to occupy.
Is it a set of words that may ring true, but you struggle to apply it into your everyday business life?
The most crucial aspect of purpose is that it must be thought about, lived and talked about.
It must come from deep inside you, from your gut, and your heart. Purpose when clearly articulated is motivational and is the central core of all that you do.
When you express your purpose aloud, it should light up the room; and be felt by others as a personal statement with a big picture potential impact. When you are alight with your purpose, you can change the world. Without a clear purpose, your business will be held back and lack clarity of intent.
As a business owner, you must be able to inspire and enthuse others with your purpose. Staff and customers (your WHO) all need to feel it and want to be part of it.
Your purpose statement helps you decide exactly what products and services you will offer.
It’s easy – they are either in alignment with your purpose or not. Purpose defines your business so it can be compared with other businesses that may seem to be similar.
How many cafes have a clearly defined statement of purpose?
If they are a Starbucks, they do, and whatever you think of their coffee, it has undoubtedly propelled them into stellar success. This is the Starbucks statement of purpose:
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
One of the most well-respected marketing gurus of recent times, Simon Sinek used the ‘Golden Circle of Marketing’ to define how to market your business successfully. This is explained using three concentric circles:
The outer circle is WHAT you do.
The middle circle is HOW you do what you do.
But the central core circle is WHY you do it – in other words; this is your purpose.
Back to the Starbucks purpose statement. It goes straight for the WHY, to inspire and nurture the human spirit is the type of grand purpose that we referred to above. When you state this level of purpose with sincerity, it lights up the room.
Whether we can explain it or not or even name it as the human spirit, we are inspired and uplifted by purpose expressed from the deepest aspect of another person either for themselves or as the purpose of their business.
But it’s not enough to be able to feel and express your purpose. Your customers need to feel it too, which means your staff need to be fully on board.
The Starbucks purpose statement says that every cup of coffee, in every neighbourhood in the world inspires and nurtures the human spirit. For that to be true – and something certainly fuels their success – every employee needs to be on board as they prepare and serve every cup of coffee, everywhere.
This brings in another more subtle aspect of purpose. When it is genuinely expressed, it is contagious. The customer feels nurtured and understood and wants more from your business.
This ethos is embedded in the business practices and customer service training of other spectacularly successful businesses such as McDonalds. Their employees who genuinely embody the purpose as measured by their sales are rewarded.
But you don’t need to be a multi-national to be fuelled by purpose. Every SME, including yours, can achieve this by inspiring your employees to see themselves as part of the business’s purpose.
And when they find a way to link their sense of purpose to yours, you gain access to their sphere of influence. This is especially true when it comes to social media reach. Their followers can become yours too.
So how do you do inspire them? You talk about purpose, and you workshop purpose. You help your employees to understand their own purpose and how that fits with your business purpose.
If they realise they are not aligned with your purpose during that process, they may decide to move on elsewhere. This is not a bad thing as it enables you to attract other people who are aligned with you, and there is evidence to prove this results in an immediate upturn in sales.
Here’s the Nike purpose statement:
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
It’s the same message – and you can do it for your business too.
Let’s find out what your business purpose is! Contact us here.