How Do You Define the Purpose of Your Business?

Define the purpose of your business

Seeing Profit as a Consequence, Not a Purpose

Like many, you probably default to saying, “To make profits”. And while that is certainly an aim of every capitalistic enterprise, it falls short as a useful and motivating driver of an enterprise. Too great a focus on profits draws attention away from the triggers of success in today’s world.

Successful leaders see profit as consequence

For more and more leaders, another North Star is rising. By embracing the notion of “purpose beyond profit”, these leaders don’t forego their obligations to generate profits for shareholders. But they subjugate the financial agenda in favor of a promise that speaks to how the enterprise contributes in meaningful ways to the individual and collective well-being of its customers, employees, partners, and communities.

When their enterprises align their people, products, processes, and policies around the continuing fulfillment of that promise, profits naturally follow. By adding new and focused energy to their enterprise, these leaders forge more meaningful and enduring relationships with customers; they become more appealing to prospects; they enjoy the benefits of truly engaged and gratified employees; they acquire the edge that makes recruits gravitate toward them; they find it easy to forge the partnerships that pave new avenues to revenue; and, they find they are more welcomed in the community.

It’s not about foregoing good management or being fiscally irresponsible

One doesn’t abandon the idea of making money when choosing to evolve into a purpose-driven enterprise. What does change are the attitudes, beliefs, and ambitions of the people vital to the enterprise’s success. By putting the needs of people at the forefront, the enterprise discovers that it can matter more in the world as it generates profits.

So, a purpose-driven enterprise aligns its management skills to a new, more meaningful ambition, while continuing to satisfy the core need of the enterprise to generate profits. It’s not a “either/or” idea, but a smart “both/and” approach to business success.

Using brand strategy to identify a purposeful promise

One discipline naturally lends itself to the process of identifying a purpose beyond profit, and to bringing it to life within the enterprise. Brand strategy that naturally embraces the ideas of empathy, purpose, and emotion can lead the enterprise toward a new North Star that people want to follow. Brand strategy is a powerful tool for bridging the interests of people and need of the enterprise. It has the ability to create a pervasive sense of purpose, and to help people within the organization see how they can be a important part of the effort to keep the enterprise’s purposeful promise.

When everything is flowing from the promise, energy increases and aligns. There’s a new spirit within the enterprise. People both outside and within the enterprise response instantly to its fresh new vitality. As the enterprise innovates around its promise over time, the relevance, value, and competitive power of the enterprise grows.

Purpose as a powerful driver, profit as a rewarding consequence

Leadership is about bringing new vision that will empower the enterprise to thrive. When vision is clouded by dollar signs, enterprises choke. When vision is enlightened through purpose, and embodied in a powerful promise, it speaks boldly, clearly, and in a emotionally motivating ways. It feels good for both leaders and followers. And it pays well for shareholders.

Rethink purpose. Find the best mix of meaning and management for your enterprise. Change the way people think, feel, and act with respect to your enterprise. Use the ambition of purpose, not the goal of profits, to thrive.

If you would like to read additional articles on how to define the purpose of your business, please visit our blog.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.

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