Purpose is the latest career buzz word and an entrepreneur calling card, but what about finding purpose for your business?
You’ll generally see a lot of content out there encouraging individuals to find their purpose, their why – but it’s more important to find your business’ why.
When it comes to building a great brand, and successful business, one of the most important things to do is define and live by a purpose.
So what is a purpose? It is essentially your business’ reason for existence.
What’s its reason for being? How will it change the world?
Why is purpose so important?
There are many businesses that are successful and profitable by just delivering to customer needs – they develop a product or service that people need and deliver it to them in exchange for money.
It’s business 101.
But delivering what customer’s need and want isn’t always enough.
What you sell can always be copied by others. They may not do it exactly the same as you, but they can come pretty close. Purpose can be the thing which sets your business apart.
Defining a clear and unique purpose and using it to guide your business’ decisions helps to future-proof your business and stay ahead of the competition.
It turns your focus from what you can sell, to why you do what you do, and this is a much more powerful proposition.
It’s also a lot harder for other’s to authentically copy.
There’s no better explanation than the power of Purpose and finding your business’s Why than Simon Sinek’s viral YouTube video – it’s only had about 34 million views and breaks down how it helps leaders inspire action.
Brands with a clear purpose
A purpose should sit at the heart of your business.
It should guide your business decisions, drive what products or services you deliver and align your employees and culture. It creates a north star for everyone to head towards.
Take The Body Shop for example.
When it launched over 40 years they essentially sold a range of natural, ethically produced cosmetics and body products.
With a powerful purpose to Enrich, Not Exploit they created a reason why people should trust them, and an enduring platform, for all the brand’s activities – product development, sponsorships and advertising.
It also helped align employees around a common altruistic goal.
Homegrown favourite Vinomofo is one of Australia’s most successful startup stories.
Founded by two brothers-in-law, Vinomofo’s brand is all about ‘No bullshit or bow ties’ and they bring this purpose to life through down-to-earth, everyday language.
The started their business because they were sick of the elitist and convoluted language used by wine review sites and saw an opportunity to disrupt the industry by using plain-speaking language that your average wine-lover could understand.
This focus on a higher purpose has helped it become Australia’s largest online wine retailer.
So when you are planning your next venture or thinking about how to optimise the business you’ve got, spend some time defining your purpose.
What is the broader reason for being? How might your business change the world?
If you answer those questions, then you can find market differentiation. Competitors may be able to copy your product or your service, but it’s infinitely harder for them to copy your why.