3 Ways Reconnecting with Your Business’ Roots Can Help Grow Profits
Every business owner I’ve ever met started their company with a clear purpose.
Usually, they wanted to solve a specific problem or help a specific group of people.
Sometimes it’s even bigger than that. Some business owners literally want to change their community or even the world.
Regardless of your intentions when you started your business, that initial sense of purpose that helped you get started holds an enormous amount of power.
It’s the fuel that kept you going in those early days, and it’s a source of power that you can tap into again and again to keep your business moving forward.
Why do you do what you do? Why does it matter? Who cares?
Today, as you confront a complex array of business issues, it’s essential to stay connected to these purposeful roots. A purpose isn’t just a “feel good” thing. In fact, I’ve seen a strong purpose drive growth and profits for many businesses I’ve worked with. It can do the same for you in three key ways.
1. When you leverage the power of purpose, you can create deeper relationships with prospective clients.
Every human decision is emotional. Even when “it’s just business,” people make choices consciously or unconsciously based on how they feel about the situation. And that’s the great thing about a strong purpose. It helps you build relationships by fostering an emotional, personal connection steeped in your values.
These better relationships result in higher retention, more repeat business and a higher lifetime value of a client.
Take Target for example. Target set a goal to give $1B to education. While supporting schools is not Target’s main purpose, it has been central to their brand.
If you ever visited a Target, you can’t miss that fact that a percentage of every purchase you make goes back to schools. Customers know it, employees know it and the schools in their communities know it.
This is a good example of how a strong sense of purpose doesn’t have to be all about what you do; it can be more about the people you serve. It’s not surprising that many families line up at Target year in and out for their school supplies. Their purpose is highly tied to their ideal client group – families with children.
Their purpose resonates with their customers and creates a unique connection. This unique connection creates repeat visits, more sales and more revenue for Target.
2. A clear purpose can guide your team to treat each and every client like you would treat them. . . Even when you are not there.
For thousands of years, people have found their way through treacherous terrain, fierce predators, and brutal weather conditions by keeping their sights on the North Star. Like the shining beacon that has guided people through the ages, a strong purpose helps your people see the way forward – even when you aren’t available to point them in the right direction.
When your team is tightly aligned with your purpose, they’re more likely to adhere to company policies and guidelines that support this purpose. When they have to make decisions on the fly that aren’t covered in your standard operating procedures, purpose gives them a framework to guide their behavior.
Take Rackspace – the web hosting company. Web hosting is a very boring business, but Rackspace decided to be the market leader by providing what they call “Fanatical Support”.
If you have a problem with your website and call your typical hosting company, they will usually tell you, “Sorry, we cannot help you with that…. You need to call your programmer.”
Call Rackspace with a technical problem and you will immediately experience the difference. You’d be shocked how far they are willing to go to help you identify and solve the problem. Rackspace employees have a mandate to provide Fanatical Support.
When your clients experience a consistency in service that comes from a clear purpose, you build both your company culture and brand – two assets that are essential to long-term profitability.
When your team and your clients know what you stand for, you drive employee retention, client attraction, and referrals. All of these factors combine to improve your bottom line. (For example, I probably don’t have to remind you about the high cost of replacing lost customers or recruiting and training new employees – just two of the more direct benefits.)
3. A clear purpose simplifies and streamlines management, helping people rise above daily twists and turns while staying focused on what really matters.
Nothing is more common in the business world than owners or managers who shift from one priority to the next when managing their team.
On Tuesday, the most important things is getting the product out the door.
On Thursday, we need to get back to customers within 4 hours.
On Friday, sales reps need to upsell and drive the margin.
It’s maddening for business owners, managers, and employees when the priorities keep shifting.
Now, having a clear, central purpose doesn’t eliminate the need to manage the details. But when you lead from a broad sense of purpose, the priorities remain clear.
When key priorities are clear, your team knows what to focus on and your entire operation falls into greater alignment.
Nothing drives profits like streamlined management. Not only do you save money by avoiding the time spent on micromanaging or overemphasizing the operational fire drill du jour.
Aligning people behind a common purpose and freeing them from worrying too much about daily whims helps them get their attention out of the trenches. As a result, they can put more energy into identifying, pursuing and capturing valuable new opportunities.
Revisiting and Reclaiming Your Purpose
Can you clearly state the purpose of your business? Can your employees? Cahill Consulting would be happy to help you capture and harness the power of purpose.
Having a clear sense of purpose and infusing it into your organization may be the most profitable decision you ever make.