The day you start your business, you should place "Purpose" at its forefront. This is a critical issue that fails to get enough attention. Many business owners that are asked, "What is the purpose of your business?" will answer "to make money" (or something similar). You might be thinking, "Isn't that the purpose of being in a for-profit business?" I can confidently say "no." By serving a purpose well and doing it in a profitable manner, you will "make money." The greater, the more needed and more desired the purpose you choose to serve, the more money you can make.
If I met you at a party and asked you to tell me about your business, where would you start? Most people tell me about their role, title, function, or product or service. For example, one person might tell me they are the Managing Partner in an accounting firm, or a tax accountant, or an auditor. A CEO might tell me he owns a company that manufactures retail skincare products. However, if that is what they view as their purpose they are in trouble. If you look at the marketplace, there is an oversupply of just about every product and service you can name. Think about it. When was the last time you thought, "There isn't a tax accountant or auditor to be found anywhere?" When was the last time you heard someone say "I wish I had more choices of skincare products because there are just not enough of them?" It just isn't going to happen. Because there is oversupply, services and products are available everywhere you go, as well as online and over the phone, and can be delivered in 24 hours.
Now imagine those same people had a different view of what their purpose is. For example, I have an accounting firm client whose purpose is to increase the wealth of the firm's clients. They have built a set of practice areas in tax, audit, technology, wealth management, etc. For each client they create a team that uses the strengths of each team member to devise the best strategy each year to help maximize their clients' wealth. While you might point out that every sizable firm has the same practice areas, this firm's view of what they are doing and why they exist is the difference-maker. My client's view causes them forge a nontraditional client relationship structure. They build specialized tool kits, hire specialized resources, and act in a way towards their client that has specific intention. I can assure you that not every accounting firm is creating the kind of relationship with their clients that would allow for such positive outcomes to occur and thus they are failing to help their clients reach their fullest potential as a result.
Only after you have established your purpose are you in the position to answer the following questions:
1. What problem(s) does our business solve for our client?
2. What should our business do to achieve that purpose
3. What types of clients do we want to have, and what will our relationships look like?