When you began your business, you had a picture of what you wanted to accomplish—a plan or purpose that you hoped to achieve through your work. And there was something in that picture that went beyond the idea of making money. You wanted to “make a difference” and you were convinced you could.
In the ensuing years of growth and change, it’s likely that you may have lost track of that original driving force, or, perhaps, it has changed. This section is designed to help you to define or re-define the compelling reasons behind your decision to be in business.
When we talk about purpose, we are not talking about mission or vision statements. Mission statements describe the type of business you’re in and possibly define your audience. Vision statements are about where your company wants to be in the future.
Our definition of purpose includes the core values and beliefs that are the unchanging principles, ideas and philosophies that guide your decisions. They serve to create a particular culture and environment within a company and include things like belief in diversity, fair and equal treatment of employees, a commitment to honesty and integrity, ensuring a safe and supportive work environment, contributing to your local community and the like.
The information you define in Section 2 about the purpose of your company will provide the cornerstone on which will be built your ability to Stand Out. Purpose is what will add significant value to whatever it is you sell.
Some questions to ask your team in gaining perspective would be:
- What do we love?
- What does the world need that we provide?
- What do we really do well?
You will know you are ready to move forward from Section 2 when you can say with emphasis and enthusiasm: “Our purpose is clear; we know what we stand for as a company.”