How to Get Clear on Your Business Mission, Vision and Purpose for Growth
I am curious as to what stops Small Business owners writing a business plan, a roadmap to their goals. You’ll find that every successful business has a well-documented strategy in place, so why don’t many Small Businesses plan for growth? The Small Business owners I talk to about planning, tend to fear planning, and the most common excuse is not having the time. However, when I dig deeper – worry, and lacking know-how and confidence are really the key drivers for this thinking. Do this sound familiar?
The age-old adage is true, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! I have always found it to be incredibly motivating and exciting to write down my goals for each financial year. Nonetheless, I’ve found that sitting down and writing a traditional static business plan doesn’t work for me.
My strategic planning process has always begun with a heart-centred; customer centred, servient approach. For example, for you, this process starts with your dreams for your business, but it must also align with insights from your customers, what problems do your customer have and how can you solve them?
This starting point is where we create your mission, and your vision. We drill down into your “WHY”, what is your business’s purpose.
Here are the five steps of the envisaging stages:
What are your customer problems?
The first step to understanding your customer’s problem is to ask them. Simple right? Ask them, “What keeps you awake at night”? The goal of this question is to help you identify your customer’s most painful problem. A prime example of this is, Buffer the social media scheduling platform.
- The Problem – I don’t have enough time to post to different social media networks.
- The Solution – Buffer offers a better way to share on social media and the easiest way to save time.
There are many ways you can find out what keeps your customer up at night.
- Set up a meeting with your current top customers, either in person, over the phone or via Skype.
- Ask questions via your social media accounts, listen to your customer’s conversations on forums. Collate the information using crowd sourced data.
- Send them a well-thought-out survey with specific questions. Incentivise them to conduct the survey and offer anonymity for those who would prefer to conduct the survey.
What is your why and your purpose?
This comes back to the insights you’ve gleaned from your customers. What are their problems and what solutions can you offer? Think about if there is a specific issue that resonates with you, or that you’re passionate about. This process of review and discovery might be easy for some and hard for others. You may go through the questions and information and find the answers quickly. You may not, if this is the case, it may be useful to seek help in the form of a coach or mentor.
Who will benefit?
Who are they key customers that will benefit from your solution and purpose? Again, I use the Buffer example, Small Businesses that use social media will benefit from the Buffer solution, as it saves time. Who doesn’t want more time? From there, in your plan, you can drill down of the specific demographics of your target market, and what strategies you’ll implement to target them. When you solve a problem for people, you’ll attract a tribe around your business.
What is the value you’ll add?
Why will your customer buy from you? For example, if you’re a service-based business, don’t trade time for money, trade results. Results are the outcome; it’s what matters to your customer. Think about how you can serve your customer, as opposed to how much money you can make from them. If you are solving your customer’s problem, then it’s a win-win for all.
What it means to your customers?
When you know the answer to this question, your brand / business is grounded in meaning. You can then articulate your value proposition clearly. Once you are clear on those things, you’ll be working towards your passion. You’ll be filled with purpose, which will inspire you to take on challenges that will stretch you.
Once you’re clear on your mission and vision, you can you start to write the strategic plan, it outlines how you plan to get there.
I have always found that I achieve results when I’m excited and motivated about working towards my goals, about adding value, and making a difference. Therefore, what I’ve learned in business is, the fundamental difference between a traditional business plan and one that truly works, is how you feel about the plan.
It’s not your lack of time, or you’re lacking the know-how and confidence, you know your business, you know what problems you are solving for your customer’s. Start with a heart-centred, customer centred, servient approach and your connection and attitude towards the plan will make the difference.
What have you done to solve your customer’s problems? Share in the comments below.
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