As a business coach I am often asked, “what is the most important step in business?” My answer to this question is quite simple. At the same time, it gets quite complicated. I ask every business owner I meet the same simple question. “Why do you exist?”
That sounds simple right? Answering that question is by far the single most important step in business. You would be surprised, how many business owners do not have a good answer for this question. I get answers such as “to provide the best customer service in the industry” or “to make the highest quality widget in the industry.”
Those answers simply do not cut it. They do not go far enough or deep enough to be effective. The reason you exist should be 100% idealistic. The most important step in business is to create the vision, the dream, the aspiration.
The main reason this is the most important step in business is fairly easy to understand. If you aim to have the best customer service in the industry, you can map out a great plan to get there. You can know what to do and how to do it. The issue is, every plan will run into road blocks, stumbling points or hardships. But too many plans are is abandoned at the first sing of adversity. A clear vision,however, always finds a way.
When people tell me “I aim to have the best customer service in the industry” I think to myself, well that gives you permission to play, but where is the depth to your company? One of the most important lessons I have learned in business is that it is not WHAT you do, rather it is HOW you do it. WHAT you do will never be as important as HOW you do it. There will always be competition, people making the same widget or doing the same job. The thing that will make your company truly your company is how you do things.
Without a true and clear vision, your company is destined to be average.
I am going to assume something right now. You probably didn’t start your own business, take on the odds, take a huge risk and leap of faith …. just to end up average did you? I didn’t think so.
My final piece of advice to all you business owners out there is this: If you can’t come up with a powerful and deep answer to the question “Why do we exist?” save yourself the hassle and go get a government job.
But If you are serious about creating a meaningful and purposeful business, find a competent coach or mentor to help you along the way.