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Jun 25

What is the Purpose of your Business?

Posted by: Steve Marr

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When I consult with a business for the first time, one of my first questions often is: “What is the purpose of your business or organization?” I usually get one of three responses. One response is a clear and concise purpose for why the organization exists.  This is good. A second response is when the person stumbles and doesn't really answer the question. The third response is an answer that is somewhat off target from what the business is actually doing.


I've asked this question to several dentists. “George” told me, “I want to save teeth." I followed up by asking what steps he took to help customers keep their teeth. He explained  he fixed cavities, did crowns, root canals and other treatments. The bottom line was that he was more about fixing teeth than helping customers save their teeth. 

Another dentist, “Amy,” answered differently. She provided her patients with details about the best electronic brushes, the right flossing techniques, the most effective toothpaste and products to protect your mouth from dryness.  While all of these steps would not bring income to the dentist, they certainly would help a customer keep their teeth.

A number of times I've been asked to assist struggling ministers.  I always start with two important questions: what is your organization trying to accomplish and what is the unique service proposition of your organization?” Generally, when an organization struggles, they're not able to give me a clear response.

Going back to the dentist example, a dentist may think a potential customer is anyone with teeth. This is not totally accurate because some individuals choose to have their teeth pulled rather than repaired. Some dentists focus on specialties. Take the dentist who specializes in snoring and sleep apnea devices as an example.

Whatever business you are in, be ready to answer the question, what is the purpose of your business? If you're not clear and concise, keep revising it until you are. Validate your answer using the activities you are accomplishing.  

The book of acts gives us an example, “The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” (Acts 19:32, NIV) In every business or nonprofit organization everyone must clearly understand what the purpose for their existence is and what key product or service they deliver to the public. Clarity on these points will focus your team correctly. Lack of clarity will create confusion, disarray and poor productivity.

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