5 Steps to Creating a Purpose-Driven Business
You want running your small business to be about more than just making a profit. But how do you balance leading a purpose-driven company with earning revenue?
The reality is those two goals are one and the same (or at least they can be). We’ll show you how as we cover these five topics:
- What goes into a purpose-driven business that makes it stand out from a non-purpose-driven business?
- How can purpose and profits co-exist?
- How do you leverage your unique purpose to attract new customers?
- How can you create brand loyalty so customers consistently return?
- How do you make employees feel valued, so they are also purpose-driven?
We’ll help you answer these questions, so you can take steps to create a purpose-driven business that draws in customers based on how you better their lives.
1. What goes into a purpose-driven business that makes it stand out from a non-purpose-driven business?
A purpose is a company’s aspirational reason for existing, beyond just selling goods or services. Companies that are driven by a purpose use it for aligning their strategies and employees together to make a positive impact on customers.
Your purpose flows through your business model and every decision you make.
For example, let's say you run a membership organization. You sell memberships and the benefits that go along with that. But perhaps your purpose is to create a community hub where members feel they belong. The difference between a focus on selling memberships and a focus on creating a sense of belonging is going to be a huge part of your business strategy.
You can discover your own businesses’ purpose by asking “why” you’re driven to do what you do.
Why do you exist beyond just making a profit, and what keeps you excited to come into work every day?
2. How can purpose and profits co-exist?
You need to keep your eye on your purpose, not only to stay motivated on a personal level but to also consistently motivate your team and connect with customers and stakeholders.
You can't be purposeful for a month or year, then let it slide. Your purpose has to become part of your culture. Otherwise, employees tap out.
What do I mean?
Research shows that companies without a sense of purpose underperform in the market by 40%, because they’re missing out on the perks that come with having a purpose beyond profit, including:
- Supporting the success of others
- Championing discovery
- Creating an impact by bringing joy to others
- Inspiring greater possibilities
- Caring about the well-being of others
79% of business leaders believe that purpose is central to business success because it pushes teams to make a deeper impact beyond just showing up to work. They want to be connected to something other than just a transaction or metric.
So if you lose sight of your purpose, you could very well lose out on the drive that propels your team forward to make progress. That’s why following your business’s purpose and increasing your bottom line are one and the same.
3. How do you leverage your unique purpose to attract new customers?
Customers will stick with you when they know who you are, how you make their life easier, and they connect with your purpose.
But how do you communicate your purpose to them most effectively?
You want your purpose to shine through in your marketing, so customers know what you’re about. The primary way to do that is by focusing less on “here’s how I help you do this” and more on “here’s why we value solving this problem and making your life easier” in your messaging.
That means keeping your messaging less focused on you and putting your customers’ needs front and center.
For example, when you incorporate your purpose statement into your messaging, your one-liner could go from something like:
“We’re a text messaging platform that lets you send group messages, save everything for compliance, and have multiple lines.”
“We help you connect with customers through powerful messaging solutions, so your business can thrive.”
Ultimately, your marketing should always tell the story of your customers and the problems they have. Every customer is the hero of their own story, and every hero needs a guide to help them accomplish their goal (which is you). Your messaging should reflect that.
Using the Storybrand layout can help if you’re struggling to nail down wording for how you help your customers:
1. Define a main character (your customer) and what they’re trying to accomplish
2. Identify your customer’s problem, or what’s in their way
3. Introduce yourself as the guide to help them get what they want
4. Introduce your plan as the guide, without overly emphasizing how great it is (remember, you want your customer to shine as the main character in their story)
5. Give concrete steps to call the main character to action
When you show consumers how your purpose connects to them, they’re more likely to be engaged by your messaging.
4. How can you create brand loyalty so that customers consistently return?
Repeat customers are vital to revenue, plus a clear indicator that you’re sticking to your purpose and making their lives easier.
It costs 5x less to resell to an existing customer than it does to bring on a new one. Plus a 5% increase in customer retention can produce more than a 25% increase in profit.
So how can your purpose give customers a reason to come back?
Aside from providing a quality customer experience, you also need to actively educate consumers on your purpose.
79% of consumers say they’re more loyal to purpose-driven brands, and you can show them what your purpose is through:
- Educational content (blogs, infographics, video, etc.)
- Customer guides and tutorials
- Newsletters with updates on promotions and improvements
- Having direct conversations with customers through case study interview, events, or social media
The goal is to remind customers of the value you bring by frequently re-engaging them. You essentially want your customers to need you as much as you need them by becoming a part of their routine with scheduled content they can count on.
Customers will also want to know (either through social media or newsletters) whenever you do things that champion your shared goals, like:
- Donating to a charity or cause
- Dedicating supplies or your time to a community service
- Hosting events to better the community
81% of millennials (who are currently the most lucrative market) say they want to support purpose-driven brands that give back to their communities.
Just be sure to balance how much you promote your good deeds. You don’t want to harp on one charitable thing you’ve done for too long and burn your audience out.
It also helps if you have employees who champion your organizational purpose and provide a quality customer experience even when you’re not around. We’ll talk about that more next!
5. How do you make employees feel valued, so they are also purpose-driven?
Not every employee will have the same level of investment as you or a co-founder. How can you create more opportunities for them to feel personally connected to what you do and champion your purpose?
Employee perks can go a long way to creating an environment where workers are eager to give their all, including:
- Recognizing and rewarding small achievements
- Unsolicited praise from team leaders
- Yearly money for personal development
- Opportunities for promotions
- Schedule flexibility
- Paid time off
- Opportunities to invest in the company brand or profit share
90% of workers say recognition with perks like these increases their engagement. And companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their less-engaged peers by 147% in earnings per share because they’re more incentivized to do quality work.
In other words, you need to treat your employees well if they’re going to bring their best.
You essentially want to make your business feel like their own, so they do things like celebrate your company on social media or share the good things you’re doing through word-of-mouth.
All of this helps with social proof and demonstrates to the community that you’re true to your purpose to make life better for everyone.
Besides, no one wants to work with a company that isn’t good to its employees.
Go back to your purpose.
If money is your only driver, you’re not going to create a product or service that customers want to choose.
Frequently revisit your business’s purpose and make sure you’re staying true to it.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with selling goods and services, so you can pay bills or live the life you want to live—but having an authentic purpose can empower your team by giving you consistent core values you can align with.