When I meet with my clients and go through the process of helping them identify their business marketing goals, I not only ask them WHAT they do in their business to make money, I also ask them HOW they do it. This generally leads to a more indepth discussion about what they perceive their customers needing vs. wanting of them. It also brings to the forefront their business purpose. I am often surprised at how many people are in business and they don’t really understand their purpose.
Today I met with the co-owners of a health care consulting company who are caught between wanting to grow their business in a new direction and the daily struggle of being pulled back into work that their customers are needing from them right now. They have so much clutter in their way they can’t focus on setting new goals.
This is a common problem that many small businesses face as they attempt to grow, including my own. After I returned to my office, I took out a notebook and began to write down my businesses goals. This is an important component of any marketing plan, by the way. It’s also a section in my upcoming new book. Funny thing was, I hadn’t reviewed my own business goals since I last wrote my marketing plan three years ago! Shame on me. It was time for a critical review.
Once I wrote down all of the basics such as sales targets, the amount of money I want to make after expenses, etc. I began by asking myself the same questions that I ask of my clients. Now, I have to warn you that this process only works if you are honest with yourself. For me, I believe in marketing from within. This means that I believe in staying true to who I am and translating my “personality” to my business identity. I encourage my clients to do the same not only because it feels good, but because it creates the basis for your unique selling proposition. For me the question quickly became how can I meet my financial goals and do it with “heart”? How many businesses today say they are “committed to meeting and exceeding their customer’s expectations” and have “excellent” products and offer “superior” service. Don’t we all do this? One of the most important differentiators between competing business today is the level of heart within the company. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. describes in his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, And Purpose,” how he and his company refined their entire business purpose to this statement — “Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world.” WOW! Talk about putting your heart at the forefront of your business. To identify how to market from within and how to find your business heart, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is my primary business product, service, offering? What is my secondary offering?
3. What matters to my customer is. . . ? What they want is. . . ? What they need is. . . ?
4. My cusotmers need me for (to do). . . ? I make it easy for my customers to do business with me because I. . .?
5. Who is my competition?
6. I am different from my competitors because. . .? How involved am I in my business? How much does the business depend upon me? What do I ultimately want most out of my business?
7. The best/worst customer experience I have ever had was. . . ? It made me feel like. . . ?
8. Do I have any special talents that could give me and my business a ”leg up” on the competition?
9. List 20 adjectives that describe you (the business owner) personally. Then circle the top five that are most important to you.
10. List 20 adjectives that describe how your customers perceive you and your business. You might have to start asking your customers for this information through surveys and customer feedback forms if you don’t already have access to this type of information. Once you have your list, circle the top five that are most important to you.
All of these questions forced me to define my businesses personality profile and it also helped me locate the “heart” at the core of what I do. Suddenly, it became very clear how I plan to achieve my business and financial goals. Now I can focus my marketing goals in the same direction. After reviewing my answers, I realized that it is critical to know thyself before knowing thy business. We set goals and objectives for ourselves because it’s what we want to do so that we can achieve something we want most in our lives. The key to setting good business and marketing goals is to be willing to do something (whatever it takes) in an effort to reach that goal. Here’s a tip: setting goals without action steps is being a passive observer in your own business. That brings me to my last step. Think about what you are willing to do in order to achieve the level of success you want. In fact, there could be several answers. Take action and write them down. These are now the basis for your future goals. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself more focused on achieving success because your purpose is clear, specific and attainable. Most importantly, once you put your goal statements on paper, you’ll be surprised at how committed you’ll become to achieving them.
“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” — Dr. Bertice Berry
Do you struggle with acheiving your goals or even setting them becasue you’re not sure what you’re doing? I would like to hear your experience with finding your business purpose and using it to set and attain your goals. Stories of success or failure are welcome. Leave a comment below. Cheers!