I suppose there’s never been an easy time to be in business.
It’s tempting to look at the current economic situation and cite all the things working against business owners right now. And Google helps with that… My internet search this morning lent me the following statistics:
- Inflation is the top concern for 32% of business owners.
- 41% of small business owners are struggling with job vacancies.
- Supply chain issues are still affecting 85% of business owners in 2023.
You can relate to at least one of these stats, no doubt.
In fact, if you’re experiencing major financial hurdles right now, I’m more than happy to sit down to talk with you about some possible paths forward: helmscpa.com/book-an-appointment/
But has it ever been smooth sailing? When you think back to your first year in business, or your fifth year, or your tenth … there were still struggles then, too. The business ownership circle is truly made up of a family of survivors through hard times.
So there’s got to be a constant, driving force to keep you in the game, no matter what. Early on in your entrepreneurship journey, you probably spent time uncovering your business “why”. That process turned into your overarching mission for your Indianapolis business that probably held you steady through the ups and downs.
Is your “why” still driving you forward in business today? I’d posit that your “why” today is more important than ever. Here’s why I think it’s worthwhile to uncover your business “why” all over again…
J.R. Helms & Associates, P.C.’s 4 Straightforward Questions to Uncover Your Business Why
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
In every season of business ownership, remembering the reason you’re in business is often the push you need to keep. going. But knowing your “why” isn’t a one-time thing — you’ve likely discovered this by now. It’s an ongoing journey.
Research shows that businesses that take the time to uncover their business why — and have a strong sense of purpose as a result — tend to do better even when the economy is down. A 2019 study by Harvard Business Review found that companies with a clear purpose grew three times faster than their competitors over a 10-year period.
That’s a good incentive, but I’m talking to you as a human being here as well. At the end of the day, your Marion County business is not just about making money. There’s so much more to be had than dollars and cents.
So let’s talk about how to uncover your business why and bring your business’s purpose back to the forefront of your daily decision-making. A purpose that stays the same in the face of ever-changing circumstances, giving you stability and inspiration that lines up with what you really believe in.
Here are four straightforward questions to get you going…
1) Why did you start(up)?
Take a moment and remember why you started your business. What got you excited about it? Was it a problem you wanted to solve, something you loved doing, or a change you wanted to make?
2) What kind of impact do you want to make?
Business has the potential to make a real difference. What kind of impact do you want your business to have on your community, your city … the world? Think purpose beyond profits here.
3) What are you good at?
Think about what you’re really good at and how it fits with what your business is trying to achieve. Using your strengths to work toward your “why” doesn’t just make your business better – it provides a framework and boundaries around your purpose.
4) How can you say it simply?
Now put all of these answers into words. Create a simple statement that tells your team, customers, and everyone else why your business exists.
This exercise might seem overly simplistic, but I actually think there is value in that. The point here of uncovering your business why is to get down to the most foundational roots of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Filtering through your years of business history to find that foundation is work enough … so keeping the process simple should be freeing.
And freedom is really what we’re after here. The freedom that comes from knowing what you’re about, keeps you steady in the rolling tide of economy and culture.
Now that’s worth the effort, for you and your Indianapolis business.
Here’s to the future, and the past that will get you there,
John R. “Rusty” Helms, C.P.A., CGMA