2020-11-16

Where Are You Going?

Navigating COVID-19 & Other Business Challenges

 

Part 1

 

Introduction

As I’ve counseled, coached, and consulted with local businesses, there’s a common challenge that many of them face, mostly without realizing it: They haven’t clarified why they are in business and what they are trying to accomplish.

I’m not an advocate of “corporate” mission statements and other lip service declarations, but I do believe in developing a clear sense of Why, Who, What, and How for your company.

“When Values Are Clear, Decisions Are Easy”

Once you’ve identified your reasons for being in existence, decide on a goal to point your company at each year (or quarter, or some other reasonable cadence). After creating a defined and aligned objective, the last step is to determine how you’ll measure success.

I’ll share a condensed version of what I’ve learned and read about into simple principles you can start with, as well as a recommended reading list at the end of the post.

“Action to be effective must be directed to clearly conceived ends.”

Why?

A useful “mission” statement is simply a declaration of why you are in business and what you hope to accomplish, stated consistently with your company culture & communications. The simpler, the better. Your “Why” is the basis for everything your business will do. If you don’t have a mission yet – stated or otherwise, get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it can change, but if you don’t know why you are doing what you are doing – how will you know if your actions are effective?

Here’s a few “why” prompts to get you started:

  • Why are you in business?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What change are you trying to make?
  • What problems are you trying to solve?

Who?

Once you’ve got an idea of Why you are in business, who is your company intended to serve? Who are your customers? If your instinct is to say “anyone who will pay” you are not alone, and sometimes we have to do what we have to do to survive. However, it’s not a sustainable strategy for your business. Part of deciding who you serve – is to determine who you will not serve. Creating a “customer experience” is only possible if you know who that person is and how they’d prefer to interact with your company.

Here’s a few “who’s your customer” prompts to get started:

  • Who are your favorite customers to work with
  • Who are your most profitable customers
  • What customers refer you to other customers
  • Who are your repeat customers

 

To Be Continued…

Part 2 will continue our journey into better defining what we do and how we do it – followed by a deeper dive into aligning and defining organizational focus to make progress on your mission.

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Part 1 Reading

  1. Start With Why – Simon Sinek
  2. Find Your Why – Simon Sinek, David Mead, & Peter Docker
  3. Clockwork – by Mike Michalowicz
  4. The On Purpose Business – Kevin W. McCarthy