Although a healthy bottom line is important for business success, there is another essential element that must be established and nurtured: purpose. Without a clear purpose, the driving force behind the business is lost. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, this is especially true. Identifying and reinforcing a solid business purpose will ensure everyone is on the same page, from employee to customer.
Aside from the fact that an entrepreneur starts a business to make a living, there must be a meaningful foundation for the business, in other words, “The Why”. When the reason why is identified, the purpose is revealed. Today, purpose is often the difference between good enough and great. It enables a worker to believe in what they are doing and as a result, put forth their best effort when performing for the business.
For example, take the age-old story of what a janitor at NASA told President Kennedy when asked, “What do you do here?”. The janitor replied, “I help put a man on the moon.”. That is the power of why translated into purpose. The janitor did not just show up and clean, he showed up and cleaned because he was part of something “bigger” than the job he was being paid to do.
The end goal of ALL employees, partners, associates working for/with a business should be pinpointed and reiterated. Purpose achieves this essential element. It is a reminder for everyone that their work matters. Their effort has a purposed beyond the paycheck and task at hand. Identifying and working toward a purpose not only helps the individual but is often the saving grace when things go awry.
Persevere and Thrive
Let’s face it, when it comes to entrepreneurial endeavors and/or running a small business, the purpose is the “oil in the machine”, “the reason to preserve” and often the difference between quitting and “sticking it out” during the bad times. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
When the going gets tough or things start to spiral out of control, having a defined purpose helps the business keep on track and persevere.
Beyond the Business
A business is started for a reason. Sounds simple, but a lot of endeavors fail because the reason the business was started in the first place becomes watered down or lost altogether. In other words, the purpose becomes lost.
This is detrimental to retaining talent, especially for today’s workforce made up primarily of millennials. Why? Because millennial talent values the meaning of the work over simply receiving a good paycheck. Being paid for your work is not enough, and certainly does not motivate these workers to stick with an employer if the going gets tough. There must be a higher purpose. If that is lost, so too will the worker to another more fulfilling purpose-filled job.
So, if you are an entrepreneur or a small business looking to obtain and retain quality talent and stay in business for “the long haul”, make sure purpose is the foundation of your business plan.
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