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As business owners we all want to create a growing and thriving business.

However the reality is that some of us manage to achieve this while others seem to potter on in a hard-earned but stagnant existence.

I recently ran a workshop with 15 high growth businesses and we discussed just this. After much debate it became clear that every successful organisation we could name had a very certain and passionate purpose and a clear vision.

I don’t mean the text book statement of purpose that we all learn about in our university days either.

Let me explain.

Each great business understood exactly why they existed and could articulate what it was that made their teams turn up to work each morning.

For example:

Oxfam exists to create a just world without poverty.

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation exists to create a world free of MS.

Temple and Webster exists to be Australia’s most beautiful shopping experience for the home.

These statements aren’t the voluminous, meaningless waffle that we were traditionally taught a statement of purpose should contain or that you so often see hanging on a company’s wall.

They are a clear one sentence statement that describes what it is that is driving the business.

Understanding the why factor

I watched a TED talk by expert Simon Sinek which explains this further. Click here to view this talk.

Sinek argued that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Meaning they buy on emotion and then rationalise it with logic.

And yet most businesses focus their marketing communication on non-emotional things like facts and features.

This is because most businesses know what they do but very few know why they do it.

So where does this leave you if you are like many of the business owners I meet and haven’t thought about the very reason your business exists?

As the year draws to a close take the time to reflect on your purpose and vision

  1. Start by reviewing your ‘why’/purpose
    Your why is the inherent driver for you and your business. It is not to make a profit. That is the outcome of doing what you do but it is not why you do what you do. If you are struggling with clarifying ‘why’ your business exists consider using a mind mapping process to expand your mind and provide focus and clarity.
  2. Use your purpose to help define your vision.
    The next step is to develop your vision. If your purpose talks to your heart, your vision talks to your brain. It describes the long-term desired change that results from your organisation’s work and provides a mandate that all work can be measured against. This is your inspiration for rallying your troops. In other words it captures exactly where you are heading to achieve your purpose.
  3. Use both your purpose and vision to guide everything you do
    Your vision should set the direction for how you interact with staff, market to your customers and the criteria you use to make decisions.

Fine-tuning your vision into something that is inspirational can be a real challenge. But with so few businesses really understanding why they exist – this is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and is the first step in building a growing business.

Of course developing your vision is just the first step to creating a high growth business. In our next newsletter we will discuss how to turn your vision into action.

About the author

Grant Field

Director, Management Consulting & Business Services

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