It’s easy to forget why you do what you do as a business owner.
Listen to the podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis unpacks this big important question:
The vision we have for the business when we start is informed by many false premises. We think it will be easier than it is, we think we will get ahead faster than we do, and we think we will be standing on the bridge of our ship, leading and guiding our crew as we sail into growth and profit.
And 10 years on, or 20 years on, we struggle to remember why we do what we do. It mostly feels like a slog, stuck in the engine room of the ship we built, hauling coals into the furnaces that drive the engines that turn the propellors. At the same time, the seas we sail in change, constantly, relentlessly. The ship we thought we’d build is perhaps not the right ship today or for tomorrow. It’s equally relentless staying ahead of the change and it too, wears you down. Inspiration, when lost, means it’s time to get out. Staying in will erode the value you have built so far. Keeping your inspiration means keeping clear on why you do what you do.
And there are two “why’s”. Yours and your businesses. They differ and they should and clarity on both feeds the passion, energy and inspiration you need to maintain a clear head, hold perspective and lead your ship to its destination, profitably and on time.
Passion is vital. It is the fuel that drives your engine, that keeps you going, rejection after rejection and disappointment after disappointment. These ‘nay saying’ forces do eventually lessen over time. Holding your head and persisting needs more than passion. It also needs purpose.
Passion drives your idealism, but purpose must guide your pragmatism. Why you do what you do for each means different things. Passion is deeply personal and reaches back into the depths of your psychology and culture as an individual. Purpose is easier to define, and it must be so for when passion wanes, purpose leads that next level of commitment to get and keep you on track.
We believe that there would only be one purpose – to build your business into an Asset of Value. This is a business positioned to win in a changing, competitive world, enabled by reliable operating procedures and systems, and empowered by a high-performance team to generate consistent organic growth. This releases your time to focus on next-level growth and innovation.
The outcome is a business that grows revenue and profit, operating largely independent of you, enabling it to be one day sold for a premium value in a clean exit.
This matters because 94.6% of businesses started, fail to sell. Despite being well-run, income generating businesses, they close at great cost to the business owner, their family, and employees.
Tying your business’s purpose to yours feels intuitive but it’s wrong. Your business doesn’t care about your purpose. It is inert and needs to be separate from you. Too much emotion around your business creates confusion as to why it exists. So, what then is your businesses “why?”.
It’s not about creating jobs, paying taxes to build a nation, making you rich or giving you meaning and a sense of purpose. Whilst you hope that all these features are in play, your business exists for one reason only – to solve a problem for your customer through a great experience. Understanding your business this way lets you build your business to serve and through that have its why answered by those whom it serves.
Do you know what the problem is, how it comes about, the cost of it not being solved and how you get it solved? Equally, do you know what experience your customer wants in getting this done, and do you know what makes up that experience? Have you built a business that can do this every day, all day, reliably and consistently and adapt to the changing world around you? Do you know who your customers even are?
Building a business is tough. It gets tougher and tougher over time as your why and that of your businesses too become vaguer and vaguer. A crisp, clear and simple purpose behind why you do what you do and why your business exists is no different to being clear on what your destination is and how you plan to get there fast, simply and reliably. It’s an imperative!