Business Basics – Defining Your Purpose And Goals
Basic Business Concepts To Set Your Marketing Direction
If you’re wondering where to start when it comes to how to start a business, you can’t go wrong by establishing the purpose and goals for your business. Business basics 101 in the corporate world would call this determining your company “mission” and “vision” – usually with a mission and vision statement.
In all my experience in the corporate world and years of marketing training, I always struggled to keep straight what the difference was between and mission statement and a vision statement and how they impacted the company’s direction. For the purposes of my own personal business efforts I like to think more about defining my business purpose and goals. These terms are more clear to me and yet still help me to think through essential foundation items in my business that determine where my business is headed and how to market it and get it there.
If you are working to start your own business in an area of expertise that you hold, joining a multi-level marketing organization, or wading into a new income-earning opportunity starting with the business basics of defining your purpose and goals will help to steer your business where you want it to go.
Defining these items is the first step to building a marketing plan (again a corporate word that sounds scarier than it really is!) for your business.
So let’s dig into what it means to define your purpose and goals:
How To Start A Business Plan By Defining Your Purpose & Goals
First, let’s look at your business purpose.
It really is as simple as it sounds! What is the purpose of your business? Why does your business exist?
If you’re building a business then one of your answers SHOULD be that… you’re trying to earn money! It isn’t a successful business if you aren’t churning some profit. Spelling that out is OK and good! It helps you to stay on track with that purpose in your work.
Most businesses, however, exist for more than the purpose of generating profit. What else is a compelling reason for your business to exist? Are you trying to help people solve a specific problem? Are you trying to sell a product that you think can help people or benefit their lives? Do you simply find engaging in your business FUN?
There are no right or wrong answers, but defining your business purpose is important. I recommend even writing it down somewhere so you can be reminded of why you are pursuing your business as you take steps along the way or hit hard seasons in it.
Here is an example of my purpose in running this site (my business):
- To make money!
- To help other moms make money and support their families with their ambitions.
- Because using my business brain is fulfilling and FUN for me.
That’s it. In a nutshell, that is the reason that this site exists. Write it down, tuck it away, and keep it in your head. We will do more with your purpose later.
Second, let’s look at your business goals.
Some of your business goals may overlap a little bit with your business purpose, but it’s still important to spell them out. For example, it is a purpose of my business to make money but it is also one of my goals. It is a purpose because it is essential to what I want my business to exist for, but it is also something I am reaching for with my business.
When you look at your business goals at the start of your journey, try to just set general “visionary” goals for your work. These are general goals that will steer where you want your business to grow.
Most likely you want to make a goal of returning a profit. If you are selling a product a goal may be simply to sell a lot of it. If you are offering a service a goal may be to fill your available schedule. A less concrete goal may also be to simply grow yourself (that’s one of mine).
All of those are valid goals.
Again, there are no right or wrong answers – but defining goals for your business is essential to then develop a plan to meet those goals.
Here is an example of some of my general goals for this site:
- To be highly profitable.
- To have a large amount of traffic to my site.
- To be a credible business resource for momtrepreneurs.
- To be a confident person.
I recommend writing out your goals as well and periodically checking in to write down updates on where you are with each one. Not every general business goal is measurable – but I can easily keep record of growth in things like increasing profits and traffic. Checking in on your goals as you grow can help you to prioritize things and weed out directions for your business that aren’t going to take you where you are trying to go.
Another way to think about defining your purpose and goals is to think about WHY your business exists and WHERE you want it to go. (You can read more about establishing your “why” in this article from Entrepreneur.com).
Whichever set of terminology helps you to think through these items better, roll with it! The important part is that you are establishing what your business is about and have a vision for it’s future – from there you can move forward into determining how you are going to build that future. If you don’t think through your purpose and goals FIRST, it is hard to define a direction for your business and you may end up down unnecessary rabbit trails.
Once you’ve established your purpose and goals (and I highly recommend writing them down!) then it’s time to move forward into defining and evaluating your target market.