As you reflect on your ‘best of’ lists from 2017, take time to think about the ‘purpose’ of your business for 2018.
As we approach the end of another year you can expect to see a proliferation of ‘best of’ lists—the best movies of 2017, the best music, or the best TV series. I have a confession to make—the musician who has impacted me the most this year will appear on none of them.
His name is Godrey Birtill, a musician from the north of England, whose songs I love for the way they prompt me to think about life differently. Sure, the music is terrible (in my humbly uninformed opinion), but his words are profound—uplifting themes about being created for a purpose and being perfect just as we are. Rich words that I find life-giving (even if the tunes are horrible).
I’ve been thinking recently about two important points related to purpose and business—partly because of Godfrey Birtill, but also because Christmas and New Year are approaching and it’s a good time to reflect.
- The first point is that knowing our purpose is vital to running a ‘successful’ business
- The second point is for all business owners—do you realise what an amazing job you are doing and how much it is benefiting the wider community?
Let’s reflect on the first point. As an accountant, a major part of my own purpose is helping business owners identify their purpose because it directly impacts their profitability and sense of fulfilment. Taking some time to think about who you are as a business person and what role it is that you’re fulfilling can be incredibly worthwhile.
Having ‘purpose’ isn’t difficult or scary (or at least it shouldn’t be). It’s actually about doing what we love. You will have heard the phrase, “Choose the job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” There’s debate about who came up with it first. It might have been Confucius. It might have been Godfrey Birtill! Let’s just say, it makes a lot of sense. What it means is that when you’re doing what you love you’re not only in your sweet spot, but you’re fulfilling your purpose. It’s that simple.
When your skills meet the needs of other people and you discover you’re able to solve their problems, it’s a real match made in heaven. So, if you haven’t yet isolated what it is that you love doing, and what problems are out there that you are uniquely equipped to solve, this holiday period may be the perfect time to do so.
Let’s finish on the second point. Have you thought this year about how much your business contributes directly to the lives of people in the community? You may not realise it, but your business provides for not only your team and their families, enabling them to live fulfilling lives and be the best people they can be, it also contributes to a better society.
If you employ six or seven people, that means there are six or seven families who have economic well being and can make choices in life because of what you do. That has a trickle effect in the community. It means ‘Sarah’ can be on the golf committee and improve the golf club for everyone; it means ‘Joe’ can help out with his kids’ basketball team down at the leisure centre and benefit the whole team. Essentially, the things you love to do are giving people the freedom to participate in life and their communities in richer ways. What greater purpose is there than that?
It may be that you’ve never reflected on your purpose. You might think it’s mumbo jumbo or maybe you don’t know where to begin. I can’t encourage you enough to start by finding out what’s happening in the marketplace around you. Rubbing shoulders with people in the community can identify needs that you might never have considered, but which you are uniquely prepared to solve. By listening to your customers, you will get a much clearer picture of the different ways that you could meet their needs.
As a business owner, you know that you have a responsibility to your team and to your customers. My conviction is we do that well when we have a better understanding of our purpose. Perhaps as 2017 winds down and you reflect on the ‘best of’ moments from your year, you could also reflect on how well you know what your purpose is, and how 2018 might be a year in which you come to a better understanding of what you love to do, and how that benefits your team and the wider community.