Over the years, the importance of finding your purpose in life has been brought to the forefront. With concepts like Ikigai or the secret to a long life, it’s become even more clear that discovering your purpose can help you achieve your dreams.
The way you define success may be different from someone else. If your purpose is to find joy in everyday life, someone else’s may be more tangible like setting up their own business.
Purpose is why you do what you do. For a business or an organization, this is even more important. This is why they have a purpose statement to define why they’re in business. More than what they have to offer, they must focus on why their customers should be interested.
Let’s understand ‘what is a purpose statement?’, why it’s important and how you can write an effective one.
How Do You Discover Your Purpose?
Before we move to the meaning of a purpose statement, let’s discuss ways to understand your purpose. Each one of us has certain goals, dreams and plans. Yours may be to become rich and famous, have a family, or buy a house. For others, it could be to have a stable and secure job.
These are all goals and your purpose is to achieve these goals. Your purpose is what gives you the strength, perseverance and inspiration to reach the finish line. It’s the journey that takes you to the end.
Why you need to discover your purpose is because it adds meaning to your life. You’ll find fulfillment, enjoyment and significance in what you do. Not only that, your purpose can drive you to be better every day. It motivates us to keep moving forward, even if we’re facing setbacks or failures. The biggest example of this today is the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people set up their own businesses, started teaching online or learned new skills during the pandemic. They didn’t let the state of things stop them. Instead they powered through because their purpose gave them strength.
Decoding The ‘WHY’
You can find your purpose by answering the ‘why’. Ask yourself why you want to do what you do. If you want to study, why do you want to do it? Or why do you want to start your own business? These are questions that’ll give you clarity.
For instance, say you set up an online store for handmade soaps. You’re looking for local investors to invest in your business. When you approach them with your business plan, they’ll want to see your purpose statement. This tells them why your product is better than others, why you chose to do this and what motivates you. It’s an important and critical aspect of your venture. Not only will your purpose statement determine whether you get the investment but also gives you a chance to revisit why you started in the first place.
What Is A Purpose Statement?
A purpose statement is a specific, concise and precise sentence that defines the why, offers a summary of contents and objectives of a business. For a business, a purpose statement is just as important as their vision or mission.
It’s a focused sentence that sets out to explain what the business is for and what it hopes to achieve. A company purpose statement helps stakeholders like clients, customers, employees, investors and senior leaders to visualize their goals, roles and responsibilities and the reason why.
Here are some characteristics of a company purpose statement:
It can help motivate employees to put their best foot forward and achieve organizational goals
It builds loyalty toward the organization by making employees feel like they’re critical to business operations
It sets out to explain what the organization stands for, the employee code of conduct and how it plans to add value to the environment it operates in
It’s tailored to specific goals the organization sets out to achieve so everyone is clear on what they need to do
It’s specific and brief, stating everything that needs to be said in a few words
Your business purpose statement is specific to you. No two businesses will have the same statement to define their why and how.
Why Do You Need A Purpose Statement?
If you start without a purpose statement, you may lose sight of why you wanted to do something. When you put it in writing and share it among concerned stakeholders—who are directly or indirectly impacted by it—you tend to align yourself with your goals.
Here are some reasons to highlight why you need a business purpose statement:
The primary reason you need a purpose statement is for clearly defined goals. You need to set out what you’re planning to do, how you’re planning to do it and why. This will act as a roadmap, motivator and guide to keep you on your toes. If there are times when you’re facing a challenge, you can revisit your goals and remind yourself of the reasons behind your decision.
Standardizing Code Of Conduct
A code of conduct is the way you expect your employees to work in your organization. It explains the rules, responsibilities, processes, procedures and practices to be followed by everyone engaged in business. Not only does a code of conduct help streamline practices, it also gets everyone on the same page. It even furthers your purpose by aligning personal employee goals with organizational goals.
Boosting Employee Morale
With a proper purpose statement in place, employees are motivated to perform and work toward collective goals. They can see what they need to do and that their efforts are validated. Proper awards, incentives and support from their organization is what’ll drive them to become well-rounded professionals. Boosting employee morale is critical if you want to retain top talent. If they see their efforts being acknowledged they’ll likely stay on board for longer.
Creating Value Proposition
A value proposition is what an organization claims to offer external stakeholders like clients, investors or customers. A purpose statement is like a mark of authentication. It allows those involved to see for themselves what the organization promises to do. This is where you have a chance to set yourself apart from your competition. Even though you’re not going into detail about what you offer, you still need to reassure them you want to offer them the best.
Building Trust In Your Organization
Your purpose statement helps you build trust among different stakeholders—employees, clients or customers. You have a chance to prove yourself, convey your motivation and inspiration and polish your ideas. Frame your company purpose statement in a way that’s easy to understand. This way you’ll likely win votes from people you need in your network.
Even if it’s just a few lines, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to a purpose statement. You need to be mindful of not just your business goals but those who are investing their time and effort into your idea. Let’s see how you can write an effective purpose statement to meet your needs.
How To Write A Business Purpose Statement
Writing a purpose statement requires inputs from stakeholders, keywords you want to work with and understanding why you’re doing something. Before you even start the process, you need to be clear on what it is you want to write.
Let’s start with a few examples of purpose statements:
“We aim to improve the well-being of our community by offering clean drinking water in five locations across town with our self-cleaning community water dispenser initiative.”
“Our business aims to set up monthly drives to connect local craftspeople with wholesalers and retailers to promote art and culture and help them make a living.”
These two purpose statements clearly define the why, what and how of each business. The first is to improve the community’s well-being and the second deals with the promotion of local arts. It helps put things into perspective and execute your purpose statement for the best results.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while writing a purpose statement:
Seek inputs from every person who’ll be expected to contribute to your initiative for a well-rounded statement
Understand your reason behind doing what you’re doing to come up with a ‘why’ for your actions
Clearly state what it is you have to offer—product/service/initiative—and how you plan to do it
Proofread and double-check to make sure everything is in order to leave a lasting impression on the audience
Finally, share it among the concerned parties and communicate your plans in a clear and simple way
With these tips, you can easily formulate a purpose statement that works. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to people, ask for feedback and make revisions if necessary. If you’re flexible, you can write a powerful, crisp and impactful purpose statement.
Discover Your ‘WHY’ With Harappa
Harappa’s Discovering Purpose course will help you accelerate your business plans. Our course is designed to teach you key frameworks like Elements of Purpose and the Concept of Ikigai so you can arrive at your purpose. Learn to ask relevant questions, build self-awareness and envision where you want to be. Enroll today to reap the benefits of our comprehensive and insightful learning path!
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