Today, anyone with a tiny bit of sense and an idea can start a business. Like never before, men and women from all walks of life can brainstorm winning ideas, create value, build brands and attract customers.
The cost of entry is far less than it once was.
But sadly, many jump into business without any concept of purpose or goals. What’s the point of going into business? What should my focus as a business owner be?
No matter what your niche happens to be and no matter who your clients are, these three goals should be at the heart of your business. If they aren’t, there’s a problem.
Business Goal 1: Help Others
Ultimately, at the end of the day, a successful business – a winning brand – is one that truly desires to help people.
Help them how?
Help them make money, reach their goals, be better versions of themselves, and improve the lives of others around them.
This is one reason I love helping fellow entrepreneurs – and why I’m passionate about helping others start, brand and grow their businesses. Helping others ought to be in our DNA as business owners.
If it’s not, there’s a problem.
Making money is nice. Having freedom is awesome. But what do those things really matter if we wind up like Ebeneezer Scrooge, only interested in helping ourselves?
A healthy business is one that looks outward for others to lift up.
In my product creation course, I encourage people to look around them for value to create. What can you do – or make – that will help someone else? Consider the needs and wants of those in your niche – those who are interested in the type of products and services you provide – and create something to address that need.
For example, I find that many entrepreneurs know little to nothing about marketing. That’s where I come in. My marketing company steps in alongside them and will even teach them how to do various marketing tasks so that – if they choose – they can handle their own promotions in the future. Many of them will opt to stick with my company because they don’t have time to do anything other than what they love. But providing them that opportunity is one way to give back and help them.
As a business owner, you are in a unique position to add value to the lives of those around you. You would be foolish to take advantage of it.
Business Goal 2: Keep Clients Happy
Clients pay our bills. Literally. A business without clients is just a hobby, after all. Every interaction with your clients needs to be one of absolute professionalism.
Remember, your brand. Are you portraying an image that draws clients in or pushes them away?
When clients think of you and the service you provide, do they get a happy feeling or do they question their life choices?
Look, I’m not saying you need to bend over backwards and give away the shirt you’re wearing to keep clients happy. Some clients just won’t be happy no matter what you do. Be reasonable. But be aware.
Don’t let your success go to your head at the expense of your clients.
Ask for their feedback. Check in with them. Communicate consistently and clearly. And, if there’s a problem, fix it.
Business Goal 3: Make Money
If I were to ask 10 people what they think the goal of business is, this is probably what they would say. The goal of business is to make money.
Indeed, without income, it’s hard to run a business that truly helps others or keeps clients happy.
But, this can be taken to two equally unsound extremes.
On one hand, you become Ebeneezer Scrooge, a man who cared nothing for others and only for his bottom line. Anything and anyone that does not serve the bottom line is worthless and to be disposed of.
On the other hand, you neglect the importance of a positive cash flow in your business, playing everything by ear and playing it loose, so to speak.
Scrooge helped no one. He was a cold, calloused man who couldn’t see past his own ledger. His love of money gave way to cruel mistreatment toward Cratchit and his fellow man.
But, neither does it help anyone if you cannot keep your ship afloat financially.
As the Bible tells us, the “love of money is the root of all evil.” We are not to love money but to use it wisely.
As a businessperson, one of your goals is to acquire and use money in a way that honors God and helps your fellow man. If you cannot or will not do that, then you should perhaps step away from the business world until you get your priorities straight.
Create and stick to a budget. Keep track of how much you earn and how much you lose. Allow for certain expenses and cut back where needed – and be able to give to others what you can.
See, there’s a safe middle ground between Scrooge and fast and loose.
On one hand, Scrooge had it right: watch out for the interests of the business. If you’re hemorrhaging money, there’s a problem that needs to be corrected.
On the other, a more generous but perhaps less organized person is correct in a way. Giving is at the heart of a healthy business.
So, all that to say, find a healthy middle ground. Yes, watch your bottom line and ensure that your business is able to stay above water financially. But don’t watch the bottom line so closely that you become a modern Scrooge, neglecting your duty to serve God, society and your fellow man.
Making money just to have money is a serious error that stems from a bitter root of selfishness. Money is merely a tool – both for good and for harm. Use the tool wisely for the sake of your business and those around you.
Keep Sight of Your Business Goals
When we lose sight of our goals, we lose sight of where we’re headed. Focusing too heavily on any of the above three business goals is just as unhealthy as ignoring any of the three. They must be taken together or not at all.
If you neglect helping others, taking care of your clients, or making money, you take your eyes off the road and risk steering your business right into the ditch.
If you don’t help others, you become self-centered and introspective. Your business then lives to eat and not to serve. This is a dangerously wrong outlook.
When your clients aren’t happy, you lose them. If you lose them, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby. Do all you can – within reason – to ensure your clients are satisfied with your service and are comfortable choosing to do business with you.
While we aren’t to love money, it is nevertheless an important tool to be used wisely. Keep track of your business finances and adjust accordingly. As you are able, and where appropriate, give back. Make donations and get involved in a worthy cause.
Don’t treat any of these three business goals as a nonessential “I’ll get to it someday” sort of thing.
Save yourself a lot of trial and error and headache by incorporating each of these business goals into your short term and long term business efforts.