Part of rebuilding your business requires a realization that ‘what was good enough to get you here isn’t going to be good enough to keep you in business going forward’.
If you are like most SMB owners, this reality hits like a ton of bricks. It probably feels to you as if the only path forward is a reinvention of who you are and what you do from the ground up. A little bit like changing engine parts on the plane while it’s flying!
We recommend a simpler focus … find your authentic purpose.
Your authentic purpose is the value your business delivers uniquely to the market. You may already have this strategic weapon but misplaced it. Your business probably started years to decades ago on a premise. But now, that premise may be lost in the background as you’ve developed new products and services, added people, systems and lots of financial management into the equation. Now all you see are spreadsheets with numbers in them that scare you.
What we see are two types of leaders looking at these numbers. The first stares at the results and freezes, or in the extreme cases passes on a set of problems related to pushing the market and reducing costs across the company. These leaders and companies are not long for this world. The toxic environment they create and the fear that oozes out of their interactions in time produce exactly the worst case scenario they hoped to avoid.
The second type of leader is the one we like to work with. They’re the ones who take a step back to embrace the reality of their situation and search for what will make them more relevant today. They find lots of nuggets of gold in everything their current business is doing, just maybe not in the correct strategy and configuration for today’s market. They adapt. They change. They move forward.
And they reconnect with their authentic purpose.
For the last 20 years, business growth was a wave unto itself. Companies with competitive products, prices and services could win their fair share of business. Now, the bar is set higher. Only the strong will survive. And the buyer is pretty discerning about who those companies are. They choose based on a belief that they can ‘trust’ the provider to deliver value.
It’s been our experience that the only companies able to consistently deliver that value are the ones who know who they are, know what they do, and work passionately to deliver quality. They believe they are in business to serve and they work from that foundation forward. There is a purpose to what they do and they deliver it authentically.
Top Ways to Find Your Authentic Purpose
- Talk to your key stakeholders. Your employees, customers, partners all will have a good sense of why they are in world and what value you really provide. Ask open-ended questions to them and you may be surprised what you hear?
- Try to buy your own products. Ever been through the same evaluation your buyers go through when they are trying to decide whether to buy from you or a competitor? You might be surprised what you find. Is there any one thing you (or one of your competitors) does that makes a difference?
- Bring in an outsider. To help you think outside the box and get a fresh viewpoint on what it is you do and where the real value is. Someone who can interpret well is the key … they’ll need to have an equal focus on where you’ve come from and where you need to go to.
Every business has a purpose and every owner has a mission. When they lay dormant or hidden from the world, that company suffers. Reconnect to your core value in these times and you’ll find a much simpler filter for making decisions about what to do next. You’ll likely also find a faster path to profit, growth or long-term value.