Finding Your ‘Purpose’ In Business As An Entrepreneur – It’s often joked about that if you had 100 CEOs in a room and asked them the most important part of being in business, you would get 100 different answers, and no two would be anywhere near the same.
If you were to try the same experiment with 100 entrepreneurs, however, you’re more likely to hear that the most important part of their business is the reason why they started their business in the first place, no matter what that business is.
We are, of course, talking about the importance of purpose and finding your ‘why’ when it comes to being an entrepreneur and running your own business.
The purpose is the driving force behind every business decision and every business takeover; it’s the reason that CEOs get up in the morning and the reason that they work 80 hour weeks and answer the phone at 3 in the morning on a Sunday.
The purpose is not just the reason you go into work, but the purpose is the reason you continue to go into work, even if you are tired and feeling deflated.
This may seem a little bit like hyperbolic wishy-washy ideas from new-age business owners that won’t survive their first year, but many studies have shown that working in a socially conscious way is good for mental health, and what’s good for mental health nearly always translate to being good for physical health and working relationships.
Just because you know what purpose is in a business context, it doesn’t mean that you will always know what your purpose is when you are running your own business.
For so many entrepreneurs, especially entrepreneurs that have had a higher-level education, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day practicalities of running a business and being an entrepreneur over the reasons for doing it in the first place.
Putting a strong focus on education by taking an advanced degree, such as a master’s in business administration (click here to find out more), is a great way for leaders to improve their theoretical understanding of the world of work and what makes a successful business. This, in turn, will help them to develop a more well-rounded outlook on their working purpose.
Working with experts in your field on courses like the business administration masters is a great way to discover why people go into business in the first place and learn from them about how to make your business idea a success in the real world.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but being an entrepreneur with no purpose and no ‘why’ is even harder.
As inspirational speaker Simon Sinek spoke about in his now world-famous TED talk on finding your ‘why’, being successful depends not on how you are doing something or what you are doing, it depends on why you are doing it.
This is something that business owners across the world need to be good at recognizing. You need to know the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of your business, but you also need to spend time discovering the reason behind why you do what you do.
This kind of mental roadmap will help you to create a more successful career in the future.
How do you know that you have found your purpose and your ‘why’?
This is a difficult question to answer, even for entrepreneurs and business owners who are very content in their job and their work.
In a situation like this, it is easy to answer the question with a generic answer:“you will know you have found the right role for you when you want to be working all the time”, but this is not a good enough reason for most people.
There is an important distinction to be made between having a career and getting a job. Both are important steps of the journey towards true adulthood and independence, but very few people have a career, most people have a job.
In its most simplistic terms, a job is something you do only because you are being paid to do it; if there was no pay involved, you would not be doing the job that you are doing.
On the other hand, a career is something that you’re doing because you love it and, even if you weren’t being paid, you would happily be doing it as a hobby.
This important distinction between job and career is something that can help you discover if you are on the right path and if your job is your purpose.
Everyone would prefer if they went into work every day and thoroughly enjoyed what they did, but this can be a very difficult thing to achieve without a purpose behind your work. Employees who don’t feel like they’re in the right job, or employees who are disheartened with their job, will inevitably feel deflated and put less effort into their work, resulting in them underperforming.
In the words of the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw “happy is the man who can make a living from his hobby”.
If you are just as excited to do your career every day as you are to come home and do the same thing as a hobby, then you may have just found your purpose in life.
The purpose is, however, a very personal thing.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your purpose being to earn a living for your family, no matter what that living is.
While it would be lovely for everyone to be doing a career they absolutely loved and getting paid for it, there is absolutely no sense in doing what you love and not earning enough to be able to feed your family.
For business owners especially, this is a major concern.
To take on a position as an entrepreneur is going to mean taking on a great deal of risk, and no matter how much you love what you do, if you can’t make it pay while enjoying a work-life balance, then your business is not a success.
Being a business owner who wants to drive their business forward based on the theory of working for a purpose is that it takes a lot of luck and a lot of hard work.
Hard work is something you’re going to have to get used to if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, but this doesn’t mean that this pathway in life is right for everybody.
The same goes for leadership, especially leadership when you are the boss.
If you have ever worked for somebody you were proud to work for and would happily speak to outside of work and ask for their honest advice, you have been blessed to be working under a good leader, but good leaders are not easy to come by.
Leadership is a skill that can be taught, but it’s also a skill that requires practice, and it’s possible to get out of practice if you have been focused on your own work and your own business for a long time.
Serial entrepreneur Gary V, who owns the wildly successful Vayner Media company, has often been quoted as saying if you want your employees to believe in your business as much as you do, give them part of the business.
This is a really difficult part of being an entrepreneur and a business owner, learning when to let go and listen to your employees when it concerns your business, but learning to do this makes you a better leader.
For people who are in business because they genuinely love what they are doing and believe in the reason behind why they’re doing it, this can be quite jarring and difficult to get your head around.
It’s for this reason that, when you decide to hire new employees for your business, you must ensure that your new employees fit in with the culture of your business. For successful business owners, skills and experience should be secondary to how a new hire is likely to fit in with the current team and how they will exude your core values as an employee of your business.
In today’s world, being authentic in business is a big selling point.
Today’s customers and today’s consumers are savvier than ever before to poor marketing practices and empty promises. They can spot a ‘bandwagon exercise,’ and a hollow apology from a mile off, and a bad reputation can stick like mud, especially in the digital age where reviews are crucial.
It’s for these reasons that businesses should look to invest in authenticity at all times, especially when it concerns the social and public-facing areas of your business.
Businesses that stick to their core values publicly, even when it may be deemed as short-term bad business, are more likely to keep their customers and fans loyal, which will be better for profitability in the long run.