You’ve bit the bullet – you’ve decided to start your own company. Maybe you’ve had this idea for years. Maybe this is a new concept.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or this is your first rodeo, starting a business can be tremendously exciting. However, the process of starting a business operation of any kind can be a tremendously difficult road and involve long nights, hard questions, disappointments, and difficult seasons.
How does one stand a chance of making it through to success? To answer that question, this article will dive into one of the best-kept secrets of starting a business endeavor.
Perhaps the most vital step for starting a new business is one people don’t often talk about. This step is determining the meaning behind your efforts. What is your business’s underlying purpose? What is your fundamental motivation for engaging in this journey? This question should be answered before determining anything else about your business.
Defining Your Purpose
Though there are plenty of things you’ll need to consider and develop when starting your company, purpose should be the first. Before working on the nuts and bolts of creating your business, defining its purpose will help you set the stage for all the other aspects of formation that you’ll be required to think through as you build your business from the ground up.
Solidifying your purpose is critical. Without pinpointing your priorities and making sure you’re clear on your reason for beginning your business in the first place, it is easy to make decisions about various aspects of your business that stem from different core motivations.
When left unchecked, these decisions and their outcomes will eventually conflict with each other. If this continues as you move through the stages of your business’s development, this can eventually create seismic inconsistencies that can be painful, difficult, or even fatal for your business.
As an example, say your business idea is to manufacture school supplies at a lower cost than your competition and, for every purchase, provide its match to an inner-city child in need. If your fundamental purpose is to provide school supplies for vulnerable demographics, that must drive every business decision you make. If your actual motivation sways between philanthropy and creating a cool retail line or making a strong profit, your decision-making will suffer from lack of definitive direction and your business will experience risk of drifting.
Meaning Creates a Foundation for Everything Else
The benefits of determining your purpose and the meaning behind your business efforts are widespread. Here are just a few examples:
Your meaning will form the basis of your business culture when you build your team. This is important no matter how big you anticipate your team will grow as you develop your business. People need purpose and meaning in order to perform well and maintain positive engagement in their jobs. Even if your business will only ever be operated by yourself, you operate this way as well. You and your performance will benefit from knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if you do plan to build a team, the importance of this increases exponentially.
Purpose provides motivation to continue when things get tough. If no one has told you yet, starting a business can be hard work. You’ll likely experience times when you’re discouraged and want to quit. You’ll encounter setbacks, imposing competition, high costs, heavy workloads, difficult markets, stiff economic realities, complex regulations, confounding problems, and more. There will be plenty of instances when you might feel like throwing in the towel.
A strong sense of purpose is one of the biggest antidotes to difficult circumstances. Why did you choose to take on this adventure in the first place? What was the vision or idea you believed in at the start that made you begin? What positive change is it that you want to create in the world through your efforts? Being able to let your purpose reinspire you and motivate you to take on another day is one of your biggest weapons against the real difficulties of starting a business.
Your business’s meaning guides your decision-making. As mentioned above, knowing why you started your business is a powerful guide for making the countless decisions that face a new business owner. Starting and operating a business can require answers to hopelessly difficult questions and may also demand some of the hardest decision-making you ever experience. Determining a clear sense of meaning and purpose at the onset creates a framework for helping you navigate those challenges and make strong decisions that push your business forward in the right direction.
Ready to Start?
Determining the meaning that will drive your business forward takes some concerted attention and time. But this practice is well worth it. Making it a priority to sit down and decide on your underlying purpose will create a strong foundation for your business for the rest of its journey.