The KEY to a Successful Business is PurposeJan 24, 2022
The key to a successful business, is to have team members working while you are not there. Since team members and customers are a critical part of a successful business, we need to ensure that you have a plan in place for them to succeed. While working for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, I once heard a fellow manager say, “As a leader, your purpose is to set your team up for success.” I think that is a great philosophy to live and lead by. If you don’t have happy customers and team members, you are not going to have repeat business, and you will be constantly re-training new team members. This is certainly not a key to a successful business.
The first step is to have a clearly articulated purpose of your business. This purpose will act as the guiding star in the night sky so that you and your team always know the direction they need to be headed. It will be the basis of how you hire, fire, grow, and operate your business. It is the keystone (or key part of the foundation), the one piece, that if it’s not there, the system will collapse (or more likely look lopsided). Having a well thought out purpose will attract the right team members and customers to your business and dissuade those who are not.
A Word about Mission, Vision & Purpose
The fact that most private businesses are really considered small businesses (less than fifteen team members, more commonly three to six), your Purpose can also be used interchangeably as your Vision. For larger companies (fifteen plus team members), you will most likely evolve the framework I am outlining in this book for a small business to a more comprehensive framework. I think it is best to start more simply. This way you and your team can understand the basics of a guiding purpose, direction (goals), core values of the team, and holding them accountable during the fourth phase: Track.
As you grow, you can start separating vision, purpose, and mission in a more formal structure. One I like is the Collins-Porras Vision Framework that consists of core values and beliefs, purpose and mission (Beyond Entrepreneurship, James C. Collins, William Lazier, 1992). If it helps, keep these definitions in mind:
Vision is "something that you imagine, a picture that you see in your mind.”
Purpose is "the feeling of being determined to do or to achieve something.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com).
Those definitions may seem similar, but they have different meanings. You must be able to “see” (Vision) something clearly before trying to attain it; after you have a clear picture of what it is that you want, you can then go forward, determined to achieve it.
Your Purpose is to Inspire
Like it or not, it all starts with you. You set the tone, culture and ultimately the success of the business. We are going to cover four leadership skills that you have or need to develop in order to have a smooth-running business. The investment in time to get clear on these skills is going to make your life much easier in the future. The biggest monthly expense for most business’s is payroll, so it is critical to invest time in developing a team that functions well, whether you are there or not.
In Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking book, Start with Why, he introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle.” He hypothesizes that the most successful leaders and companies connect the What, How and Why of a company and this connection inspires both team members and customers. I’m sure you know what you are going to do. This may be to provide aesthetic procedures like Botox®, fillers, and/or tattoo removal procedures. If you have attended any training, or have done research, you will most likely know how you are going to do it—you will use a laser to remove tattoos, or RF energy to tighten lax skin. But why are you doing it? It’s not to make money, since that is a byproduct of your why. You need to be very clear on why you are getting into aesthetics, and this why needs to motivate and inspire your team to follow you and direct your customers to come to your business. My guess is that having a purpose of “making money so I can buy a bigger house” is not going to motivate your team members to follow you or customers to buy from you!
Your purpose should revolve around making a positive difference in peoples’ lives. How can you make their lives better? Can you improve their self-esteem by improving what bothers them on their face or body? Why does doing what you do matter?
Let’s be clear though, money is critical if you want to operate a successful business and make a difference. Without profits from your business, you will not be able to invest in newer equipment, support your local economy with taxes and jobs, and reach your financial goals. As Jim Collins wrote in Built to Last, "Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself for many of the visionary companies. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.”
When developing your purpose, keep in mind that it shouldn’t change. Your business operations, procedures and/or unique selling propositions will all change, but your core purpose should not. Your purpose is not your marketing campaign; it is like a guiding star in the sky, directing you to the final location, which by the way, you never get to. When it comes down to the basics, your purpose should not only guide you and your team but also inspire them every day they come to work. This inspiration will translate into the way they interact with customers, and those positive interactions will generate more happy customers who will return and tell their friends. This cycle is the key to an enduring and profitable medical business.
Your purpose needs to be deeply internal for you and your company.
In his book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni says, "Employees in every organization, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational." This is a great point. Why you exist must matter to your team; otherwise, they will work to their own personal agenda, which is often just doing the bare minimum to get a paycheck. You don't want people who are only working for a paycheck working for you.
In a Harvard Business Review article, “Happiness Traps” (How we sabotage ourselves at work),” author, Annie McKee says, “Humans are wired to seek meaning in everything we do, whether we’re sitting in an office, hiking the mountains, or eating dinner with the family. Passion for a cause fuels energy, intelligence, and creativity.” I think these are all traits we want with our team. Annie goes on to say, “Purpose is a powerful driver of workplace happiness.” I think we can all agree that we want happy team members!
Richard Branson says, “You need to explain your company’s purpose and outline expectations for internal and external clients alike. Make it unique to your company, make it memorable, keep it real, and, just for fun, imagine it on the bottom of a coat of arms.”
Your purpose should be used in team meetings to guide conversations toward making constant improvements. For example, if your purpose was to “improve the self-esteem of our customers,” you could ask your team for ideas on how they can do that. “How can we improve the self-esteem of ten new customers we haven’t met before?”
Questions to Stimulate Finding Your Purpose
Why does your business exist?
What difference do you want to make in your customers’ lives?
What difference do you want to make in your team members’ and their families’ lives?
What difference do you want to make in your community?
If you closed down, would anyone miss you?
Your team will be much more motivated and engaged when they have a clear purpose to align to, one that gives real meaning to their role at the clinic. Ultimately, your business’s purpose will give them a reason to get out of bed in the morning beyond simply getting a paycheck.
Do you have a clear and compelling Why that reminds your team of how meaningful their jobs are to them and to the customers they serve?
Your purpose may act as a unique differentiator, but that should not be the basis of your purpose.
You should also be deeply passionate about your purpose; if it is going to keep you motivated day in and day out, you want to make sure this is something you really believe in. Your purpose should come from something deep inside of you.
Don’t worry about getting it down perfect; it’s not just the words that are important as much as it is the meaning and the actions you take that demonstrate daily to everyone what your purpose is.
Examples of Company Core Purposes
These are for the most part, core purposes of very big companies. But I want to give you some examples, so it can trigger the creation of your business’s why.
Zappos - Deliver happiness to the world
Apple - Think differently
Uber - Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.
Here are some more examples from author, Jim Collins.
3M - To solve unsolved problems innovatively
Boeing - To push the leading edge of aviation, taking on huge challenges and doing what others cannot do
Merck - To preserve and improve human life
Nike - To experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors
Becton-Dickinson - To help all people lead healthy lives
Walt Disney - To make people happy
Marriott - To make people away from home feel they are among friends and really wanted
Mary Kay - To give unlimited opportunity to women
Patagonia - To be a role model and tool for social change
Wal-Mart - To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people
Finding Your Purpose
As you saw above, a core purpose statement can be shortened to just a sentence. However, your core purpose will more likely start as a paragraph or more. Sometimes, to paint a clear and compelling picture of your purpose to your team members, it may require several paragraphs. There is also nothing wrong with having a longer purpose statement, like the example below that I have at my business.
Glenmore Healthcare thrives on battling the war on obesity. Between the stress of everyday life, family and work obligations, the food giants’ focus on profits over nutritional value, the many side effects of prescribed drugs, and lack of time for our commitment to exercise, many of us have succumbed to extra pounds.
Unfortunately, those extra pounds are often found around our abdomens, which is the most dangerous fat of all. Our focus is to eliminate that belly fat and get our bodies back to where they were.
We, at Glenmore Healthcare, love to experiment with the latest fat-burning technologies to see what works and what doesn’t. We separate fact from fiction about which diets work and which ones do not.
When you come to Glenmore Healthcare, you are going to be embraced by a medically supervised team of professionals who want to make a difference. Our purpose is to get you to your goal weight and the body shape you desire by using the latest advances of science and medicine to get you where you want to be.
Sure, it’s wordy, but when I first read it to my team, it clicked with them—they got it. I also posted this on our website, so our customers can see our why.
The next step is to chop it down to one or two sentences that clearly outline why you exist, what you are doing, and how you are making a difference. From the above four paragraphs, your resulting purpose statement, or why, may be:
Glenmore Healthcare will get you to the goal weight and body shape you desire!
I want you to now block off a half-day and really think about your why. Try to write words that will act as the guiding light for you and your team. This is a time to be creative; write down anything and everything you can think of to get to your why.
If you need some help, try out the following “5 Why’s” exercise.
Exercise: The 5 Why's
The “5 Why’s” is an exercise developed by Sakichi Toyoda and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies. Toyota found that when they found a defect or problem, it could be solved by asking “why” five times.
First, start with a question, “What do we do?” It may be to “reshape people’s bodies.” The next step is to ask “why?” five times. You do not have to ask the “why” five times, but do it for at least three times.
For example, ask yourself (or your team):
“Why does it matter if you reshape people’s bodies?” The answer may be “So they can fit into their old clothes.”
Then ask, “Why does it matter if they can fit into their old clothes?” The answer may be “Because they don’t want to buy new, bigger clothes.”
Then ask, “Why does it matter if they buy new, bigger clothes?” The answer may be “Because it proves they gained weight.”
Then ask, “Why does it matter if they gained weight?” The answer may be “Because it makes them feel like a failure.”
Then ask, “Why does it matter if they feel like a failure?” The answer may be “Because it affects how they feel about themselves and their self-esteem.”
Now we have the real reason, reshaping people’s bodies is rarely about aesthetics; it’s more about improving or building up someone's self-esteem, or how they feel about themselves. From that exercise, you may find your core purpose is to “Make a positive difference in customers’ lives,” “Improve someone’s quality of life,” or even “Put a smile on every customer’s face!"
Now it’s your turn!
Question: What do you do?
Why #1 _______________________________________________________________
Why #2 _______________________________________________________________
Why #3 _______________________________________________________________
Why #4 _______________________________________________________________
Why #5 _______________________________________________________________
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