Know Your 'Why': 3 Tips for Building a Business with Purpose

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With COVID-19 forcing many business owners to overcome huge challenges, It’s more important than ever to know your ‘why’. In this article, we explore what this means and how you can build a business with a purpose.

Anyone going to work each day, whether that’s employees, business owners, franchisees or franchisors – will remind themselves why they get out of bed in the morning and do what they do. While earning a living and taking care of your family is a key driver of this, to be a successful business owner you need to motivated by something bigger than money alone. Because the reality is, the road to business success isn’t always plain sailing, so it’s important to remind yourself of you and your business’s purpose to pick yourself up when the going gets tough. To help keep you on track and spirits high in these difficult times, we’ve suggested how you can build a business with purpose.

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Tips for building a business with purpose

1. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons

There is an abundance of reasons why people want to become business owners. The most common are having creative independence, higher personal satisfaction and financial autonomy. The main thing these have in common is they allow for more freedom. Aside from this, ask yourself what it is that drives you – aside from money. One of the main questions that career counsellors ask their clients is ‘If money were no object, what would you do?’ Make sure you’ve considered this before jumping into a franchise opportunity or launching your own business from scratch.

2. Remind yourself that money isn’t enough

Money isn’t a big enough reason to keep you motivated in turbulent times. As a business owner, you can set your own targets and have the freedom of not being told what to do. But, then having no one to blame when things take a turn for the worse can be a bitter pill to swallow and makes it even more paramount that you know your why.

Businesses rarely make a lot of money from the get-go, so you need to be committed to making your vision a reality and accept that you might need to wait some time till you can really see the profits you’ve imagined. If money is your only motivator, it’s unlikely that you will have the passion needed to see the business through rough patches. As the famous saying goes: ‘chase your passions and the money will follow’.

3. Establish what your business’s story is

Nowadays lots of customers want to feel like they are supporting a cause when spending their hard-earned cash on a product or service. If you pursue something that you love doing and do it well, you will attract the attention of the public. If your customers know that you love what you do, they will feel reassured with their decision to choose your brand over the next.

Your story should link to your brand values and principles. Be careful not to let the integrity of your product slip, or you’ll undermine all your hard work and what you stand for, and in doing so lose your customers’ trust.

One company that is smashing it in terms of its brand-driven storytelling is Airbnb. It’s 100 percent about the customer, as without the hosts and the guests there is no brand. Airbnb knows that its purpose is providing a space for customers to promote and book properties, so instead of selling their own story, they get their customers to tell their stories. It has a whole section called ‘Stories from the Airbnb Community’ and a ‘Belong Anywhere’ campaign that uses images and short films to offer snapshots into what a guest might expect when they stay at the host’s property.

You can get inspiration from the purposes of some of the most influential brands on the planet at the moment.

“To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” - Facebook

“To be a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity.” – Sony

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” – Google

All three of these businesses know what they are and why they do what they do.

Know your why – the questionnaire

To help you know your why and build a business with a purpose, we recommend asking yourself these four questions. Your ‘why’ is personal to you, so we can’t tell you what it is, but hopefully, some self-reflection will help you to uncover it.

1. What are your biggest strengths?

Consider what you are naturally good at and how you could use these strengths to positively impact other people.

2. What makes you come alive?

This will vary from person to person, but we all have something that makes us feel alive. Ask yourself what experiences or interactions bring you the most fulfilment and excitement. Whether it’s making someone smile, teaching someone something, or making your family proud, this is a very important question when it comes to knowing your why.

3. In what areas do you add the greatest value?

This is similar to the first question, but we can take it one step further. Once you’ve decided what your innate strengths are, have a think about which ones might produce the most value.

4. How do you want to be remembered?

Sometimes it can work wonders to begin with the end in mind. Take the time to think about how you want to be remembered as a person, as well as your business goals.

Build a business with purpose today

A business with a purpose will attract more customers naturally. Knowing your why helps steer your business in the right direction and keeps you motivated when money isn’t enough. The next step is to share this in a way that your audience will appreciate. In other words, be authentic and make sure you can back up what you say.

Remember not every passion has to become a business. Maybe you love football and you’re friends and family are always encouraging you to start a football coaching business? But if your love of the beautiful game is because the pitch is your escape from the rest of the world, you don’t have to make a business out of it. You’re perfectly entitled to keep it to yourself.

Enjoyed this? Check out our other articles for franchisors.

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