Why is one company really successful in a long-term down economy while the majority of them struggle or even go out of business? Businesses all across America continue to fight to realize their dreams and their potential but it doesn’t have to be that way! There really is a secret that most business owners don’t know that could make all the difference in the world for your company!
While many companies are struggling, others right now are highly successful. What makes them different from those who are not?
- That they are cheaper?
- They have deeper pockets to market to larger audiences?
- They are more efficient?
- They employ the latest and greatest technology?
Maybe or maybe not, but these are not the real reasons for their success.
If you don’t want to discover the one over-riding reason why your business can thrive then don’t read any further.
Good, I’m glad you are sticking with me because I have an extremely important idea to share with you.
The long-term success of a business is not determined by anything else but this one thing and it’s the one thing that will change your business forever!
What is Your Business Driven By?
For my regular readers you know I ask one question that is the most foundational question of all for any business:
What business are you “really” in?
This foundational question when answered is the game changing answer you’ve been looking for. It’s what separates the mediocre from the spectacular and the failures from the successes.
If you don’t know how to answer this question, then you cannot begin to message your business in such a way that you can:
- Create a well thought out and inspiring business model
- Build a dynamic business around
- Build a sustainable budget around
- Communicate with inspiration and power to secure the right funding
- Inspire new customers to buy from you at price points that are reasonable but maybe higher than your competition
- Make more money and build your business for future success
In their book “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, they state that organizations driven by purpose and values outperformed the general market 15:1 and outperformed comparison companies 6:1.
Let’s look at a few examples from an established company and then we’ll look at how we are helping an existing client change their entire online and offline influence by answering this one basic question.
Let’s look at a few examples of how purpose has driven companies at their inception:
Wal Mart – Sam Walton knew people were tired of traveling great distances in rural communities to pay for overpriced average goods. They needed a retailer where they could get low prices on every day quality goods.
Southwest Airlines – Herb Kelleher knew that a very large portion of the population had never flown for travel but wanted to, yet prices were too high and kept new travelers out of the marketplace. They wanted “freedom to fly.”
Nike – “If you have a body you’re an athlete”
When we know what business we are “really” in and it’s at the heart of a company, it will drive the business and ensure that something remarkable is happening with the product or service.
Why Your Online and Offline Presence Doesn’t Matter
Everything you do is driven by your purpose. But how many websites don’t say anything, mean anything, or help anyone? How many networking events put you to sleep and you’re only there out of obligation to your company telling yourself you only need one sale?
How is that making a difference for either your business or the people who present buy not inspired or captivated to care one bit?
Online marketing has turned into nothing more than the old offline mass marketing efforts that promote a boring, uninspiring product or service that is very disconnected from the intended audience (check out my previous article titled “The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context Age“).
It throws our businesses both online and offline into a bad situation where the only thing we have to talk about is ourselves.
99% of the time I see a website or listen to a networking “commercial” I’m left asking myself “so what?” No one really cares about you if you are all that you have to offer.
Meet Crossroads Community Center
When I met the founders of a non-profit start-up called Crossroads Freedom Center just outside of Frederick, Maryland I asked them the same question we all get asked the first time we meet someone:
“What Do You Do?”
If you’re like 99% of the people out there, you will come up with a list of things you do in order to answer that question:
- We have an addiction recovery center
- We help people who just got out of jail
- We help people with eating disorders
Ok… I stopped them right there. So how do they talk to me without losing me? What if I do have a problem and have never thought about it but if they give me a list of 10 things they do and the one I need is #9 and you’re on five and I’ve tuned out or we’re out of time?
Folks, we do this online all of the time as well on our website home pages, landing pages, sales squeeze pages and in blog articles. We talk about ourselves all of the time on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media pages.
And we wonder why traffic is not high or bounce rates are high or why no one is filling out my forms or calling me; let alone buying from me.
The real reason is: I don’t know why you exist!!!!
Here is what we came up with after several hours of discussion: “We work with people who have little hope and introduce them to hope”
You can build a message around that of why and how you do it.
Simply stated, it changes everything!
We can identify the problems we solve when we start asking why people feel they have no hope? Why do they want hope? Who is feeling this way? How do we help them?
From there the messaging opportunities are powerful.
Every presentation, fundraising opportunity, volunteer need, etc… is built around bringing hope to those who want to recover from something but don’t know how to find the hope to do it.
How To Find Your Passion and Purpose
One client I’m currently working with at this moment is experiencing a complete renewal of their business. They are a large established business and it’s fascinating to watch the changes happen in the life and passion of a business owner when they really connect their heart with their mind.
They are a keyless lock company who technically understands their business but they have been struggling to think through their messaging and how it relates to their prospects and customers from a marketing angle.
Right now, their website is nothing more than an online catalog and it’s not getting the results they had hoped for.
We have been spending a lot of time talking about what problems they are passionate about. At first all they could come up with was security. But in a short time we discovered they are passionate about solving the problems of:
- Perception of reality vs what is not real
- Peace of mind
- Audit trails for law enforcement
- Audit trails for companies with high security areas
- Financial loss prevention
- Inventory loss prevention
- Employee safety
- Home safety
- Remote access for various reasons
- Secure convenience
- Cyber security
In a short time, we came up together with this list of problems they are passionate about and we can now focus on defining what business they are “really” in.
Answering that question means we have to take the focus off of us and talk with our prospects and customers where they are at and it’s always based on what they need.
It sounds so simple, but for the majority of companies it’s the hardest thing in the world to do.
Looking at a list like the one above, you can see how we can create their purpose from their passion and answer the other key questions that will play a role in their development:
- What problems do you solve?
- Who do you “specifically” solve them for?
- How are your products and services a part of a solution
I’m a member of a fantastic networking group in the Washington D.C. area called CORE Networking. A few months ago I did this short video with Susan Bierly and I hope you will take a moment to watch how she shares powerfully and concisely:
When we get our heads around this we begin to understand from the prospects point of view “why?” they should buy us over our competition, even if our prices are slightly higher.
Yesterday in my CORE Networking group I heard an amazing story from a member of the group sharing about another member in the group who is an accountant.
Can you imagine a competing business is in the same room with you and you’re outnumbered 6 to 1? Both of you are pitching why the organization ought to go with you over your competitor that is in front of you.
Well, she took complete command of the floor and shared with passion and purpose. While I don’t know what she specifically shared, the organization chose her at a much higher price point because they felt more comfortable with her and believed that she both understood their need and is more competent to handle their accounting needs than the competition that was in the room.
It doesn’t matter if you own a pizza shop, retail store, restaurant, a manufacturing company or you’re in a service industry; it doesn’t matter if you’re a one person business or one of the largest businesses in the world… your purpose and the ability to articulate it well is the secret behind every thriving organization.
If you’re the leader of the organization your primary function is to build, nurture and fulfill the purpose of the organization. It’s your job to create articulation of the purpose in order to get:
- Buy-in from your leadership team and employees
- A steady and growing stream of new customers
- A dynamic company that will flourish in virtually any economy
If you don’t know what business you’re “really” in then you are trapped into telling people what you do and you’re stuck in the advertising world spending lots of money for a small return. (See my previous article titled “Businesses Succeed and Fail Based on Their Marketing – You Can SUCCEED!)
Think about it for a moment…
A Search Engine Optimization company can help you drive traffic to your site, but they can’t influence people to buy from you. Odds are that your forms aren’t being filled out as often as they could be, the phone isn’t ringing as often as it should be, and people aren’t buying as often as they could be.
A Copywriter can help you create nice sentences and offer great grammar but they can’t message for you what you don’t know.
A Social Media company cannot present you properly online and are left with much fewer options to help you connect with your followers in a meaningful manner.
A magazine ad is left asking people to buy “something” instead of passionately tapping into their need for a solution.
If people don’t know how to connect you to them then they are stuck buying the best possible option at the lowest possible price instead of buying the best possible solution at a reasonable but maybe higher price.
You may be spending a lot of money and/or time marketing and it may be going to waste. The most successful businesses in the world are deeply in tune with themselves and their customers.
Companies with a purpose who can answer the question “what business am I really in?” are motivated by the idea of making a difference and it excites them to think of the possibilities.
When was the last time you really felt passionate about your business and your prospects and customers felt it?
Take stock of your unique strengths and your genuine passions, and listen to what the world is calling you to do.
I am offering you a free one hour consultation. There is no obligation or commitment and I guarantee you that you will walk away with at least idea that will help your business immediately.
“I highly recommend following Don Purdum. He has provided me with business coaching on the fly several times over the past couple of years, and his guidance is always spot on. This guy knows how to do it right!” ~ Leslie Thompson
If you want to see some testimonials, please click here.