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Leading With Purpose

In a basic business plan there are some key elements to consider. They include your mission or purpose, sales and marketing, customer base and competition. The plan always starts with the mission – what’s the purpose of the business?

In other words, what service or product will be offered and why? What pain point or need does the service or product meet?

I was struck recently during the kickoff of the third cohort of our GoodBiz Program on how many entrepreneurs either had started or wanted to start a non-profit organization.

Let me pause to offer a little background before I continue with this story. Three years ago, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, received a generous grant from Microsoft. The purpose of the grant was to support black-led organizations making a local impact.

During this time, I had been reading about the struggles of small business owners trying to stay afloat during the pandemic. I realized that while these businesses would benefit financially from increased sales, they could thrive long-term if there was an investment in their leadership capacity. I created GoodBiz for black and brown entrepreneurs and partnered with the Global Good Fund to provide the leadership assessment, analysis and coaching necessary for the growth of our local business owners.

So, during our introductory kick-off session, several of our entrepreneurs spoke of their passion to serve and help others. Now that’s leading with purpose! They have the skills to start and run a business, but they also had a desire to make their work meaningful in more ways that just monetarily.

I was impressed with the mindset of service, not above profits, but in tandem with profits. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. You can make money and have a mindset to serve. In fact, it’s difficult to serve without financial resources.

Many business leaders understand their roles as a Founder, Owner, Chief Executive Officer, Vice President, etc., but they may not have yet tapped into their “purpose.”

Ask yourself, “what difference am I making in the world?” Making money is important. That’s a fact! The company must realize a profit to survive in any market. However, facts and the truth are bit different. The facts are laid out before us in black and white. Getting to the truth requires a little digging beneath the surface of what we can see. It also entails what we feel and the long-term effects of all of the parts of the whole – just like a business plan.

If you only concentrate on the mission and ignore the sales and marketing, the business will undoubtedly fail. All of the elements must be included, worked and monitored.

If your business is not fulfilling a purpose that’s greater than the money being earned, then an investment needs to be made in building the capacity of its leaders to uncover the truth of why the service or product is needed in the world.

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