Wednesday, June 21, 2023

6 Ways To Build A Business Based On A Higher Purpose

ExxonMobil - Chicago, IL 08-12-2014 012Commonly, I find that business owners and entrepreneurs look first at solutions which solve painful problems, or have high profit margins, regardless of their own commitment to a higher purpose, such as saving the environment or helping the underserved. For your own happiness and satisfaction, I recommend you start instead working from that higher purpose and passion.

For example, consider CVS Health's Project Health program, which directed teams to provide free health screenings to disadvantaged and underserved patient populations. The program has led to significant business benefits, including more fulfilled and productive teams, and a large brand boost, promoting CVS to a list of the nation's 50 most community-centric businesses.

All too often, business owners find the financial returns alone do not provide the long-term satisfaction and success they assumed would come with all the hard work and challenges that come with every business, large or small. Thus I often recommend that you look first at ideas that combine a strong personal purpose with a good business opportunity, per the following principles:

  1. Dig deep to find a purpose that excites you every day. Look for a cause or empty space to fill that aligns with your dreams, strengths, and can create a legacy to be proud of. Make it come from your heart, rather than be driven by money or someone else’s expectations. Test specifics and potential on friends, advisors, and potential customers.

    Some of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, structured their work into alignment with both their genius and purpose, which then bolstered their opportunity. Their purpose became their passion, with a win-win for all.

  2. Focus your purpose based on experience and learning. The environment and cultures today are rapidly changing and evolving. Don’t be afraid to adapt your thinking and look for just the right timing to capitalize on a business opportunity that also satisfies your purpose. Take baby steps to advance and stay in sync with relevant communities.

  3. Build a business plan with specific deliverables and timing. To succeed in business, every passion and purpose has to be translated into real products, services, customers, and impact on the community. These must be managed by metrics to allow you to gauge progress, recognize successes, and keep constituents motivated along the way.

    Even experienced business owners can’t keep all the requirements for starting or growing a business in their head, so organizing it on paper is critical to making it consistent and complete. Make sure your plan makes business sense before committing real resources.

  4. Rally a community and build a team to support you. Use social media and interest groups to find a strong set of followers, and people with relevant interests and skills to make your mission a reality. Take time to develop a team of individuals that all see purpose in their roles, and the strategic direction of a business wrapped around it.

    Success in any endeavor requires more than hope and a dream. It takes hard work. As a leader, you must communicate and inspire people with your actions to support you, rather than assume they all see the same purpose. Business requires a team effort for results.

  5. Create a team culture to exemplify your purpose. Team engagement is critical, and must be nurtured by opportunities for growth, recognition consistent with your purpose, work flexibility, and leader visibility and communication. You need to put a high emphasis on individual and business integrity, positive focus, and integration with the community.

    The evidence is overwhelming that everyone in a purpose-driven culture is more fulfilled by their work. A sense of purpose has replaced the dollar as the number one criteria for job satisfaction, with engaged teams outperforming those without by over 200 percent.

  6. Measure customer value perception at every stage. Monitor formal and informal feedback for customer value testimonials and keep the focus on customer support and satisfaction. Highlight purpose in all your marketing and team activities, and make customers your best advocates through word-of-mouth and stories from the field.

In my experience, we have drifted away from passion and purpose in business, resulting in reduced productivity and satisfaction from both employees and customers. With the principles outlined here, you too can get back to having fun, as well as long-term success, from your business activities. In these changing times, you need to enjoy the journey and the destination.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on on 06/06/2023 ***



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