If your business lacks a strong purpose because it was originally started as a hobby, or as a means to stay afloat during uncertain times, fear not.
Just because you didn’t start with a clearly defined, non-financial purpose, doesn’t mean you can’t begin the process of weaving one in.
This “weaving in” is something that’s delicate. We plan to cover it in greater detail in future emails. For now, the best thing you can do is to take inventory of things you really want to change/improve in the world and try to see if any of them are meaningfully connected to your business.
Here’s what you absolutely should NOT do:
Call an all-staff meeting where you invite everyone to share their thoughts on the greater purpose of the company and the change it can bring to the world.
While it might seem like an innocent team-building exercise, it’s actually a path to disgruntled employees and a purpose that leads you astray. Here’s why.
1. As the business owner, it’s critical that you feel personally tied to your company’s purpose.
Unless you share ownership with a partner, you are ultimately the only “staff” member who will never leave or get fired. That’s not to say you won’t grow tired and think about selling one day – or if your business is in dire straits, then you might even think about closing the whole thing down. But those decisions are up to you.
2. Employees move on, and that’s okay.
Employees come and go, and while some will show years of loyalty, the purpose of the business must ultimately align with the interests and values of the person at the top.
If you choose a guiding purpose based on the need to appease an employee, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for the frustrating scenario where that individual leaves, and you’re left with a brand built around what matters to them.
3. People expect action after they’re given a voice
If you invite your staff to join in on the mission of defining your purpose, you run the risk of collecting some less than stellar suggestions.
It’s easy to brush these off, especially if the brainstorming session leads to a mission or purpose you feel good about. Unfortunately, the people whose ideas don’t make the cut can feel excluded.
“They never listened to me before. So what else is new?”
Not a good mindset for team members…
There is no delegating your brand’s purpose.
You can observe the world around you or even hire brand consultants, but the final decision rests with the business owner.
Do you have a brand purpose that gives you energy every day? Respond to this email and let me know. Having practical examples to reference is always a great help.