Today’s message is for small business owners. I have been in business for myself for over 25 years. I innately understand, empathize, and connect with you more than you could ever know.
I’ve enjoyed many successes as a business owner, and I have faced just about every type of business problem that exists.
- I know what it takes to make it in a down economy.
- I know what it takes to grow in a shrinking product category.
- I know what it takes to scale a business without overdoing it.
- I know what it feels like to earn industry-wide recognition.
- I know what it is to meet and exceed sales goals month over month.
- I know what it is to grow bigger and stronger in unimaginable ways.
Business owners are pulled forward by their personal vision for their business. Meanwhile, they fight to meet financial milestones from one month to the next, fulfill staffing needs, and develop processes to make their business flow with less waste.
Often this produces inner conflict. Their vision pushes business owners forward, while the issues immediately at hand simultaneously pull them backwards. In these moments, it is hard for business owners to identify their priorities. They ask themselves, “What is the most important thing right now: my dream for this business or the need of the moment?”
Listen carefully to me when I tell you that your first priority as a small business owner always needs to be purpose. Purpose is the big “WHY” behind everything you do as a company. A clear and compelling purpose will unify you and your employees. When you put purpose first, profits will follow.
You may be thinking, “I will think about purpose once I have profit under control.”
I hear you. I thought the same way for many years. I’d get my stride only to run into a challenge that would slow me down. In the end, this stall-out was the result of one thing. My vision didn’t match the vision held by my employees. It was as if we were all in one boat rowing in different directions.
Before I could articulate the purpose of my business, I wasn’t able to connect with my employees in a way that made my company profitable. It was like the momentum I needed to create a profit was locked up in a vault. When I established a purpose for my business, I unlocked that vault.
How do you find your purpose?
Begin by asking yourself why are you in business? Like really why are you in business? Why? Why? Why? Why? Ask yourself this 5 times. The answer will reveal the deepest reason why you are in business.
Discovering the deepest why changed my life and my business. Everything got better because I had this purpose to fall back on when I became confused, disillusioned, discouraged or when we had success. The purpose became a compass for me and my employees.
Only then could my employees and I row the boat together in one direction.
When your organization moves ahead with a compelling, relevant purpose that your employees can support, momentum will flow toward success. This sense of purpose gives employees and leaders a foundation upon which to make decisions. Best of all, employees know what to shoot for.
Only then can your employees connect personally with the company purpose and become more passionate about their work.
And when they do, be ready to recognize them on the spot. This will create a culture of recognition and encouragement that will give even more momentum to your organization. Use words to describe their important contribution and explain why it matters to the company and to you personally. You can use this easy formula as a guide:
- I saw what you did…
- It is important to the business because…
- It matters to me because…
People need to know that what they do is important – employee recognition fills that need. When people know that they are important, they give more, do more, and expect more of themselves. And all of this will lead to greater and greater profitability for an organization.
This is what moves your company from purpose to profit. Profit always follows purpose. Purpose leads profit. They go hand in hand. Take the time to find the purpose for your business and make it the cornerstone upon which you lead your company.
Success will follow naturally and the profits will roll in, I promise.
You can read about how we did this at Crystal D. I have talked about this at length in Our Story.