by Paul Slack
One of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes is “Businesses don’t exist for their own sake but to fulfill a purpose in the marketplace.” Companies can’t thrive without a clear understanding of their purpose. Nor can they thrive without vision, mission and values.
Without a purpose you are unable to:
- Communicate to customers, prospects, or employees the why, what, and how of your business.
- Make intelligent decisions or strategic moves.
- Measure your impact and modify or adjust to market conditions.
You can’t have a dislocated purpose statement either. These, typically called mission statements, often are a result of a brainstorm from the leadership, and end up as paragraph long plaques or posters hanging on walls that no one ever reads. We’ve all seen them…”XYZ’s mission is to be the world’s greatest provider of [insert product] within the [insert industry] in a principled, centered way that treats our customer’s bla-bla-bla ad nauseam.”
If you want to have some fun putting together meaningless and lifeless mission statements check out the mission statement generator – https://cmorse.org/missiongen/.
We wanted our purpose to be a reflection of our culture; something that defined us and our ideals. It needed be something so ingrained that you could literally shake one of our team members awake in the middle of the night and ask “Quick. What is the purpose of Vende Digital? Why do we exist?” and they would be able to answer right away.
4 Steps to Developing a Purpose Statement:
- Ask yourself why? Why do you get up every morning and go to work? We all need to work, but there is something at the office that drives your passion. Is it having the best relationships, or the best product, or service?
- Ask you customers what sets you apart? Even if you don’t realize it, you are the perfect fit for the perfect customer. This is the only reason you are making sales right now. Find out from them what purpose/value you are delivering in their world.
- Look at where the industry is going. What’s over the horizon? How can you link the purpose of your business to the value you deliver without locking yourself down to a technology or product? You’ll see below that our mission statement transcends the Internet, even though the Internet is the current way we fulfill our mission.
- Build your purpose statement from the outside in. Once you have a sense of the value you provide, your culture, and what sets you apart, you are ready to craft a purpose statement.
I’m not saying you have to grow a hipster beard and have a “cause.” But it is important to convey to your employees and customers who you are with clarity. We express our DNA as a company in our Vision, Mission, and Values.
To make a difference—Our desire is to be a place that positively impacts the lives of others. This desire is motivated by my Christian faith as expressed in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.”
How does this affect our business? It means we won’t make a buck off of someone’s misfortune. We’re not looking to rip people off—suppliers or clients—for profit. It also means that we go out of our way to treat people like people. Customers. Employees. Parking garage attendants. CEOs. Everyone.
Connecting customers to our clients—We are totally committed to helping our clients find new customers in more effective ways. This is the basis for our business. Notice that we’re not committed to a particular method.
In the 1990’s I was helping get companies found on AltaVista and Lycos. Imagine if that was still our model today! While the “what” of our business has evolved in the last 15-plus years, the “why” remains the same—connecting customers to our clients. So whether it’s Google and Facebook today, or The Next Big Thing tomorrow, we’ll be around helping customers find your business.
We have four primary core values here at Vende:
- Honor God
- Client Satisfaction
- Employee Satisfaction
- Financial Success.
You can read more about what each of these means here.
These four values form “how” we ought to go about our daily work. Think of them like gatekeepers. There are lots of ways we could unscrupulously drive traffic to your website. But in the end, that would be inconsistent with our beliefs, upset our clients, frustrate our employees…and we wouldn’t be in business for long.
If you haven’t already, take time here in the beginning of 2016 to define and document the why behind your what. You will discover how much easier it will be to communicate with customers, prospects, or employees, make intelligent decisions, and measure your impact in the marketplace.