Most companies don’t have a purpose. This may sound odd but most people have forgotten why they are in business. The founders are dead. The purpose is no longer there. They think it is just to make money. But making money is a result. It is not the purpose. For me, a business that has a purpose is much more energised. It is the wind for the sailboat. It pushes you and the team on. It is the fuel for the journey ahead.
A lot of businesses fail because they give up. They give up because they never had a purpose so when things get tough, they quit. I would say 90% of businesses haven’t worked out why they are in business. I think it’s vital to do so. It’s important to do so because it gives you great motivation. Understand the why. It’s pivotal to your success. Your team needs to understand it. And sooner or later your customer will get what you are about too.
Apple understands the importance of why. They started from a garage. Had little money. They had something more important than money. They had a desire to change something. They wanted to change the status quo.
Their ‘Think Different’ advert gave new life to Apple. Steve Jobs had just come back. And they were having a tough time. This advert didn’t do anything except tell everyone they were back. And they still wanted to change the world. And once you tell the world that, you had better make sure you do. They did.
So ask yourself this. Why I am in business? What is it that my company is going to change?
Brands with a purpose have a real strength to them. They have a reason to exist.
That’s important stuff. And customers know it’s important stuff too.
They become fans as well as customers.
‘The problem is no one is stealing the pepper pots.’
Every business has to make a decision of how good it wants to be.
We forget that the people who run the business decide this. Just like picking which product or service to make was a decision. Or which people to hire. Or what colour to paint the walls.
It’s not luck. It’s a show of hands. It’s a board meeting. It’s written on the back of a beer mat. But, someone, somewhere makes that decision.
And once your intent for the business has been declared, you follow that path. You hire accordingly. You choose your products or services accordingly. And yes, you even paint the walls accordingly.
If you choose to be good at something, you take the left turn in the road. And if you choose to be great at something, you take the right turn in the road. They are two different businesses on two different journeys.
Around a year ago, I helped to start a local eating house in West Wales called The 25 Mile. It would source the main ingredients from within a 25 mile radius, hence the name.
Like any business in its first years, it has not been easy. But the desire from day one has been to be great at it. That’s our map. So we hire people who want to be great, we work with the best growers, we buy the freshest, tastiest ingredients that we can find within our circle and cook it as simply as we know how.
And it is beginning to take off. But, everyone in the team knows how much harder we have to push to become great at this thing. Most people would settle for where we are now. But our decision was to be great. So we can’t stop here. We have to push on.
So when I am sitting in a meeting at The 25 Mile and someone mentions that some of our customers are stealing the salt pots. I know we are doing something right.
The salt is from the iconic Halen Mon. The ceramic pot comes with a dinky little wooden spoon. And the salt inside is amongst the best in the world. It’s crazy good. People leave The 25 Mile and tell their friends about the salt. They remark upon it. So in the true use of the word, the salt is remarkable.
So I tell everyone in the meeting why I think this is great thing. And we shouldn’t be concerned by it.
But, I tell them, we should be worried that no-one is stealing the pepper pots.