Best foot forward (with purpose) Part 2

Published by Alison Jones on 1 December 2021

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As I wrote in the first part of this article in the last edition, having a clear purpose in life and through your business activities is increasingly important and customers and clients are placing an increasing value on why a business exists, not just what it does.

Many of you might already have a clear purpose – either individually or as a business. Here at Kreston Reeves, we have embraced business purpose and my own is “To help people maximise potential and achieve their goals”. I’d be interested to hear what your purpose is.

But what’s the point of business purpose?

It does add value to a business and its products and services. It also provides focus and energy. It helps a business and individuals to be forward thinking and not just to focus on the bottom line – although that is important for many reasons.

Having purpose can also provide clarity and focus in stormy times, such as those we continue to weather due to Covid, and also for what else lies ahead on the horizon, and climate change is surely the biggest challenge we collectively face?

Having purpose means you don’t just concentrate on the now but you also look and plan ahead for the future and the impact you can make. I wonder if Queen Elizabeth II had a clear purpose when she took the throne 70 years ago?

As we look ahead to the Platinum Jubilee year in 2022, I can’t help but think that the Queen must have felt daunted and perhaps even overwhelmed at what lay ahead for her and her family. Luckily, she was not alone and we have learnt much recently about the support Prince Phillip provided her. I’d like to think she has always had the bigger picture in mind, and that is what all business owners should focus on, the bigger picture, the longer term, and to not be afraid of asking for advice.

Business purpose has never been more important and it is critical to achieving change, and if following COP26 we all want and need to initiate great changes, then it must be central to everything a business does going forwards.

Businesses with purpose have the power to change and to change faster. They are also more likely to have more engaged employees and strong leadership teams.

Businesses of course still need to be responsible to their shareholders and to meet their goals, but in doing so they also need to balance those needs of their customers and clients, of their employees and wider society.

Business purpose needs to clearly link to your business strategy, as it will influence day to day and longer term decision making.

It also helps to provide you and your team with a reason to get up in the morning, reasons to come to work and reasons to look ahead and to the future with positivity.

If you are struggling to identify your individual or business purpose, look at which achievements over the last 18 months make you proudest. Can this be distilled down into a few words to reflect your mindset and intentions going forwards?

If you tell people about your purpose, does it energise, enthuse, and excite them to come on the journey with you and ultimately, will it influence decision making and behaviour going forwards, whatever is on the horizon?

Having purpose, having strength will provide the glue, the basics, the foundations to help hold everything together, even when the journey is a bumpy one.

If you are struggling for inspiration here are some of the purpose statements of some well-loved brands and businesses:

  • Lego – To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow
  • Ikea – to create a better everyday life for the many people
  • Airbnb – we help people to belong anywhere
  • Tesla – we exist to accelerate the planet’s transition to sustainable transport
  • Patagonia – Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

If you would like to discuss the challenges and opportunities that your business is facing, please get in touch. As I mentioned earlier, my purpose is to help you achieve your goals and I would love to hear all about yours.

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