Get ready because we are about to talk about something essential for your business if you want to work day in and day out with passion, excitement, and determination.
I'm talking about your brand purpose.
Let's get it over with and talk about the elephant in the room - profits. Many of us need the income generated from our businesses to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads, and plants on the window sill (okay, maybe just me?). We need to be profitable to keep our businesses running to continue to serve our clients and customers. Many of our decisions need to maintain profit and loss in mind, which is entirely okay. It doesn't make your business any less honorable, authentic, or heart-centered if one of your top priorities is making enough money to keep the doors open. It's the reality of being a business owner, no matter the size or number of employees you may have.
Remember, profit is not your purpose. Buying a bigger house, having a trust fund for your kids, or "making money" is not the WHY of your brand. Generating a profit is a direct outcome of having a successful business. It's not the core of why you do what you do. A brand's purpose is something deeper than monetary gain. It's the heart and soul of WHY your business exists.
Stop what you're doing and ask yourself
Do you currently have a brand purpose?
If so, is your purpose tied to some monetary or material gain, personally or professionally?
If your answer is "yes" to #2, you indicated your business's primary aim(I'll get into this in another post!). Outside of the extremely wealthy, most of our small businesses were created to help us sustain our ways of life, so "making money" is not a unique purpose. Your purpose should be linked to your passion. We don't want to look at our business as a mundane job. It should get us revved up and excited about the possibilities.
Your brand's purpose is your business's reason for being.
I know. It sounds intense, but I will help you uncover your business purpose below. It should be relatively easy to uncover if should be relatively easy to uncover if it's authentic to your brand (and you as the business owner).
The point is to uncover your business purpose, not fabricate or create a purpose that isn't true to your brand and yourself.
Method 1: Uncover the types of client or customer feedback that turns your frown upside down
Bear with me here, friends! There is a method to this madness. If you're a brand new business, think about the excellent 5-star review you'd want to receive. If you're a current business owner, search through your reviews and identify the top 3 that leaves you proud and smiling from ear to ear.
What do they say?
How did the customer or client feel after working with you or buying from you?
What were some key things they mentioned?
How did it make you feel reading their feedback?
I guess that a majority of the reviews you pulled or the future reviews you dreamed up did not say things like "the lowest price around," "got what I paid for,," or "met expectations and will be coming back again."
The reviews you cherry-picked probably had emotional elements where your business made customers feel a specific type of way. The reviews probably raved about more than just your product, service, or price points. Your customers valued way more than what's on the surface. Am I right?
The takeaways from your review analysis will help you uncover your business purpose.
Because you created or selected these reviews and see them as your perfect client reactions to your business. You practically described part of your business's legacy. You want people to feel, think and perceive your business a certain way, and the fact they did indeed value what you had to offer displays you accomomlished what you set out to do.
For example, here is a sample review.
From this one review, you can pull the following pieces of information:
It really meant a lot to me that customers find our staff to be extremely friendly.
Great service plus delicious food is so important. This person mentioned the great taste of our food twice!
Our decor was spot on! The way in which we kept the design minimalistic and modern lets our staff and the food shine.
A happy staff means they probably enjoy working here. Maybe the benefits, competitive pay and additional perks we provide help with this? I should ask!
Now, maybe the above statements are a trend among all your reviews. From reverse engineering the purpose-making-process, you come to realize that you actually have a bigger purpose that you've been living through your business!
Sample Purpose: To provide our guests delicious food, exceptional and memorable service from a knowledgeable and friendly staff who truly enjoy working at our restaurant. Our purpose is to provide our customers a memorable dining experience where our food and staff are the stars of the show. It is also our aim to take care of our staff and give them opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally, making our restaurant a place they will always want to be a part of, which is reflected in the exceptional service and the delicious food they create.
Method Two: Ask yourself, "What matters to me as a business owner and human being?" How can I be purposeful in my own way, so that every day my business is open, I know I am living a unique purpose?"
If you don't have an authentic purpose unique to you and your business, you're just jumping on the bandwagon and forcing someone else's purpose to fit your business.
It is imperative you do a little soul searching to uncover what you want to do outside of making money.
What do you want your unique impact to be?
If you're a coffee shop, is it helping save the planet by using ethically sources coffee beans and sustainable products?
If you're a dentist office, is it making sure families receive personalized service and knowledge about their children's teeth during every visit so they make the right decisions? Is all of this tied to making annual trips to ensure the children of underprivileged countries receive proper dental care?
I'm spitballing here, but you get the picture! What good do you want to do? If it is all about making money for you, then disregard everything I said above, but I have a very good feeling most of you reading this want to do good and change the world in your own way. Am I right?
Remember, don't look at another business's purpose and replicate it to fit your own. Your purpose should connect with you in some way. Make it count!
Remember: Be realistic with what you can and are willing to "give."
Another huge part of uncovering and nailing down your true brand purpose is to make sure it is 100% authentic and doable.
These days, many brands are tied to philanthropic and charitable causes (i.e. Tom's and Bombas). We all know their purpose and they are committed to it, which is AMAZING.
It is a huge no-no to proclaim to the world that your purpose is to help save the planet, and then actually do nothing behind-the-scenes or in your business practices that puts your purpose into action.
Do not use purpose as a marketing ploy to tap into the hearts and minds of your customers.
Francois de la Rochefoucauld said, "What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one."
If you want to have a meaningful purpose, it should be created unselfishly. Examine your motives often so you know your purpose isn't shifting closer and closer to selfishness.
In the above restaurant example, the owner created the purpose with integrity, because he indeed has meaningful employee benefit packages, team-building outings, and more to ensure his employees are well taken care of.
He wasn't just talking the talk. He actually walked the walk.
Now it's your turn! Go ahead and change the world, friends!