Why? Who? What? When? Where? These 5 questions are the starting points of any successful businesses. This blog talks about the why we choose to engage in any type of business or project? Why has to do with purpose: No business should start without a purpose. The why is what keeps any business owner going when things get tough. Making money is never a good enough reason to go into business. If money is your primary purpose you will bail out as soon as things get rough.
The quickest way to ruin anything you are doing is to forget your purpose. Life without purpose is meaningless and projects or businesses without purpose are doomed to fail. When you lack purpose you often find yourself procrastinating what needs to be done. You engage in so many projects and not giving yourself fully to any. You lack efficient action.
This point was beautifully illustrated as I watched my daughter play her opponent during her soccer practice. During my daughter’s soccer practice, they had a section where they played one on one. My daughter’s opponent loved to hug the ball so much she forgot the main purpose of the game was to score a goal into the net. Her eyes were too focused on the ball and not enough on the goal. My daughter, on the other hand did not get to kick the ball much but she won the game because the few times she was able to get the ball she made it her purpose to score a goal.
Which one are you like? Are you like my daughter or like her opponent? Do you focus on the ball or the purpose of the game? Do you remember why you started that project or business in the first place? Taking your eye off the goal and focusing on the ball is called short term thinking. Short term thinking increases the number of “blind spots” you have in your business. As we all know the more blind spots you have, the more likely you are going to get into an accident.
Next we will discuss, one way in which you can stay on the right path by tracking your business purpose.
Tracking your purpose in business
If you have been in business long enough, you have heard of financial statements. Hopefully, this is something you examine on a regular basis. However, financial statements are not enough for tracking your business purpose. While financial statements can point out weak areas in your business, they do not tell you the full story. To see a clearer picture, you need to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business. KPIs are unique to business types and different industries have different statistics they need to track. Every business should have a key performance indicator dashboard. This is not a recommendation but a must for any business that wants to succeed. Small businesses can grow in quantum leaps just by keeping track of key numbers. This is because keeping track always forces you to ask “why”.
The first step to tracking your purpose in business is to have a purpose. Your purpose is reflected in your mission statement. For example my business purpose is to help others achieve their dreams, vision and goals in the most cost effective and productive way. Before I can achieve my business purpose I have to quantify the following:
- Help other achieve dreams, vision and goal
- Cost effective
When a client comes to me I first try to understand the purpose of reaching out to me. I have found out that clients don’t always communicate very well what they need but they are good at telling you what they want. However, I am able to draw from my experience to communicate to clients what they actually need to take care of their wants. I propose cost effective and productive strategies to meet those needs. So in developing my key performance indicators, I will need a way to measure that I am actually doing what I purpose to do and my business is not veering off course. These measures are called internal operational indicators because they measure what goes on within the business.
There are various ways to do that such as customer satisfaction surveys, customer retention rate and growth rate. Happy customers always brag about your services which in turn bring in new customers. When you have the internal developed right, it overflows to the external. A good business has to be strong from the inside first. Let’s say I take an opposing direction and focus on the number of customers and profits which are external factors without managing my internal processes, I will always be tempted to use short cuts to get to where I am going. Even though I will look like I am succeeding over the short run, I will get burned over the long run. Badly run business never lasts.
Key performance indicators are essential tools to keep you on track. They force you to re-examine your purpose and help pull you back to the core when you veer off.
Now I will like to invite you to answer the following questions in the comment box. Do you have a purpose for your business? Do you have key performance indicators to ensure you are staying on track? Do you focus on better developing your internal purposes?
If you need help keeping your eye on your purpose, contact me and I will love to help you. Helping business owners stay on track is what I do best.