Great businesses have a clear purpose; something bigger than just revenue or profit; certainly something better than what was there before. For me this is one of the things that separates the great from the run-of-the-mill.
I’ve been lucky enough to work for a couple of these ‘super companies’ recently (see examples below). I know when I’ve found one because my job as a content writer becomes so easy:
Their enthusiam and passion is contagious; I get totally caught up in the company’s proposition; I can’t wait to start writing their web content and, what is more, I rave about them to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. Their fight is my fight; I’ve signed up to their crusade.
This might sound like an unachievable ambition for all but the blessed few, but in my view, if you dig deep enough and ask the right questions, most businesses can uncover their hidden crusade.
Some questions to help you
If you want to set your company apart and uncover your hidden crusade, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What inspired you to set up in business? What difference did you set out to achieve? What do you stand for?
- Why is this important to your clients?
- What bugs you about your industry? What are the burning issues you now look to solve for clients? What pain do these issues cause?
- What do you want to do about it? How do you solve these issues?
- What are the benefits of your fresh approach? How will it improve your customers’ lives?
A useful distinction
These questions will help you to work out what you are FOR and what you are AGAINST. You can see this distinction at work in the two business examples below; it’s immediately obvious what Jane and the guys at Footprint stand for.
This is a really useful distinction to make when you’re defining what you do. Try it.
What are you for and against?
Then communicate it to your customers, your contacts, on your website and face-to-face. Inspire them to join your crusade.
2 small businesses with missions that inspire:
Jane Northcote – making change happen in organisations:
Jane is a client of mine, a hyper-intelligent and immensely pragmatic and effective consultant, who I greatly admire. I’ve worked for her on and off for a number of years now; it’s taken some time (and the writing of her first business book) to uncover her guiding mission. Here’s what she’s stands for:
Jane works with teams in the corporate world to implement change. Most approaches to change focus on the theory behind the process – on planning or strategy or consulting frameworks – what we ought to do, when and if we get round to it. Jane concentrates on action. When the analysis has been done, the strategy decided and the framework presented, somebody has to do something. Jane is for that moment.
Through her consulting work, books and training materials, she’ll show you what you actually need to do to make change happen. I recommend her highly. See www.janenorthcote.co.uk.
Footprint Building – creating beautiful, sustainable homes
Footprint is an ethically-minded building company in Bristol. They bring a fresh approach – sustainable building techniques and an ethical stance with absolutely no compromise on quality and craftsmanship.
The founders have been at their top end of the industry for a long time. They’d seen what a negative impact the building trade was having on the environment; they’d had enough of depositing huge amounts of waste to landfill, using toxic products and timber from unsustainable sources. It was time to make a difference.
They set up Footprint Building to help people create beautiful homes that are healthy, energy efficient and sustainable. Their excitement and drive is truly contagious. They launched last month and the orders are already piling in. They start on my house in the autumn! See www.footprintbuilding.co.uk.
How about your business? What do you stand for? What are you FOR and AGAINST? What’s your crusade?
I’d love to know what works for you.