Business Purpose Definition, Examples and 12-Step Guide

This tool helps you define your Business Purpose, the critical strategic objectives that will orient your entire innovation project. Nailing your business purpose is critical – else, you will be missing that guiding North Star.

Business Purpose - Business Intentions
46 min read

The ability to adapt, innovate, and strategize effectively has become the cornerstone of success. From dynamic local startups to expansive global enterprises, the imperative remains the same: to cultivate the mission and vision required to thrive amidst constant change. As the business environment continues its metamorphosis, one undeniable truth takes centre stage – the journey of digital innovation and transformation is not a mere event but an ongoing expedition that demands insightful strategic planning.

A business purpose serves as the North Star, guiding organizations through the complexities of the modern landscape. It encapsulates the fundamental “why” behind an organization’s existence and defines its role in society. A well-crafted purpose aligns the Business goals with societal needs, fostering a sense of direction and significance. It becomes the driving force that propels innovation, shapes strategies, and rallies employees and stakeholders around a shared mission.

In this article, we embark on an exploration that delves into the vital significance of crafting a purpose statement that resonates harmoniously with your business objectives. This statement becomes more than just a guiding principle; it evolves into a strategic linchpin that reinforces your overarching planning endeavours. In our journey through these insights, we aim to illuminate how this purpose statement interweaves seamlessly with elements like business strategy, innovation, the concept of “jobs to be done,” and valuable tools like the Business Model Canvas. Together, these components create a holistic framework that navigates the complex waters of contemporary business dynamics, propelling your enterprise toward a future of not just resilience, but enduring prosperity.

At Digital Leadership, we hold a profound awareness of the utmost significance of strategic business model planning. Our core offerings encompass Business Model Strategy Services that empower your organization to revitalize and adjust its business models. Leveraging the Business Model Canvas framework, we facilitate the harmonization of marketing initiatives with the broader business strategy, ensuring a cohesive and agile approach in today’s dynamic landscape.

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What is Business Purpose?

The business purpose also known as organizational purpose or company purpose, is the core rationale behind the establishment of your company, condensed into a concise statement, often just a sentence or two. This statement can be tailored to a specific industry or broad enough to encompass supplementary and prospective business endeavours. It’s essential to discern the business purpose from your company’s vision or mission to fully comprehend its significance.

Human motivation is intricately woven into the collective aspirations of the groups we associate with. The key query lies in the alignment between these shared objectives and each individual’s personal sense of purpose.

In the context of innovative teams, the essential factor is intrinsic motivation, driven by the desire to effect tangible positive changes in the world. Such teams flourish within organizations that share a business purpose. Hence, the optimal functioning of an innovation endeavour and the cultivation of a team culture that is personally gratifying and globally impactful necessitate the synchronization of individual and collective aims.

The term “purpose” encapsulates an organization’s highest-level goal. For innovation teams, this might range from a straightforward objective like “Discover an optimal solution for our customer’s needs” to an audacious aspiration like Google’s “Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)”, of making information universally accessible and valuable.

The purpose essentially forms the nucleus of an organization’s existence. The purpose of an organization ideally reflects the sum of the individual meanings of its members. Each individual within the organization should discern their personal significance reflected in this overarching purpose. The organization’s efficacy is inherently compromised if its members lack a personal connection to its purpose.

Beyond the internal scope, the concept of meaning profoundly impacts how your organization is perceived externally. In today’s market, customers increasingly inquire about the driving purpose behind a company and whether it resonates with the right mindset. This customer curiosity stems from their search for alignment between the company’s purpose and their own sense of significance. Both employees and customers are becoming progressively discerning of organizations that claim noble purposes while adhering to self-serving approaches.

People are now asking what implications your organization and product have for society or even the world as a whole. Being attentive to what really matters to employees and customers will lead to an organization that is continually asking itself, “Am I still relevant?” This is a question that is absolutely necessary in times of exponential change.

Business purpose encompasses several key aspects:

  1. Mission: The company’s mission statement articulates its purpose succinctly. It outlines the core activities, values, and goals that drive the organization’s operations.
  2. Values: These are the guiding principles and ethical beliefs that shape the company’s behaviour and culture. Values help establish the moral compass for decision-making and interactions within the organization.
  3. Long-Term Vision: A well-defined purpose includes a long-term vision that describes the desired future state the company aims to achieve. This vision provides direction and inspiration for employees and stakeholders.
  4. Social Impact: Business purpose considers the positive impact the company strives to make on society, whether through its products, services, sustainability efforts, community involvement, or other initiatives.
  5. Stakeholder Consideration: A purpose-driven organization recognizes the importance of addressing the needs and interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and the broader community.
  6. Differentiation: Business purpose can set a company apart from its competitors by offering a unique value proposition that resonates with customers and stakeholders.
  7. Employee Engagement: Clearly defined purpose can foster employee engagement and motivation by providing a sense of meaning and alignment with their personal values.
  8. Adaptability: A strong purpose can guide the organization through changes and challenges, helping it adapt while staying true to its core identity.

1- Crafting a Mission Statement in Business Purpose

Crafting a mission statement within a business purpose requires careful consideration and clarity. A mission statement succinctly communicates your organization’s core activities, values, and goals. Here are steps to guide you through the process:

  • Reflect on Core Activities: Begin by reflecting on what your organization does. Identify the primary products, services, or solutions you offer. Consider how these offerings provide value to customers or address specific needs.
  • Define Your Values: Your mission statement should align with your organization’s core values. Identify the guiding principles and ethical beliefs that shape your company’s behavior and decisions.
  • Articulate Goals: Outline the specific goals your organization aims to achieve. These could be related to growth, innovation, customer satisfaction, or any other key objectives.
  • Be Concise: Keep your mission statement concise and to the point. Aim for a few sentences that capture the essence of your organization’s purpose.
  • Address “Why” and “How”: While your business purpose answers the “Why” of your existence, your mission statement can touch on the “How.” Explain how your organization plans to achieve its purpose through its core activities.
  • Consider Stakeholders: Think about how your mission statement resonates with various stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors. It should convey a clear and compelling message to all.
  • Inspire and Motivate: Craft a mission statement that inspires both internal and external audiences. It should motivate your team and communicate the value you bring to customers.
  • Avoid Generic Language: While your mission statement should be concise, avoid using generic or clichéd language. Make sure it uniquely reflects your organization’s identity.
  • Review and Revise: Once you draft your mission statement, review it carefully. Ensure it accurately represents your organization’s purpose, values, and goals. Revise as needed for clarity and impact.
  • Share for Feedback: Share your mission statement with colleagues, stakeholders, and external parties. Gather feedback to ensure that it resonates and effectively communicates your organization’s essence.
  • Align with Business Strategy: Your mission statement should align with your overall business strategy. It should guide your decision-making and strategic direction.
  • Capture Essence: Like your business purpose, your mission statement should capture the core essence of your organization’s reason for being. It should be a guiding light for your actions and endeavours.

Distinguishing between a mission statement and a vision statement reveals subtle distinctions. Our perspective is that a vision statement tends to cast a more outward gaze. It signifies the potential societal impact that a company’s endeavours can generate.

On the other hand, a mission statement outlines those actions, at least broadly. A company’s mission should seamlessly align with its values, purpose, and vision, all while pledging to undertake specific measures. Gaining insight from various vision statement examples can prove beneficial.

The most famous recognized mission statement is Google’s: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” The correlation between Google’s products, services, and its mission is palpable. The organization behind TED Talks embodies a succinct mission statement, yet it resonates seamlessly with their output: “Spread ideas.”

The American Red Cross’s mission statement beautifully encapsulates hope and altruism: “To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” Examining company websites serves as a facile means to explore how they articulate their mission. Such insights shed light on industry and consumer priorities.

Purpose statements, visions, missions: these foundational documents epitomize the roadmap a company treads upon. They galvanize and harness a company’s resources, guiding them cohesively toward a shared objective.

2- Values

Values are built upon the foundation of an organization’s purpose and assume a pivotal role in steering behaviours. They serve as a navigational tool for actions, even amid uncertain circumstances. Especially within the realm of innovation teams, where autonomy is abundant, values emerge as guiding tenets for conduct. As an illustration, if your team upholds the value of financial responsibility, there’s no necessity for a specific policy against costly first-class flights; team members are naturally inclined toward budget-friendly choices to conserve resources.

It plays a pivotal role in shaping an organization’s identity, culture, and actions. They are the fundamental principles and ethical beliefs that guide how the company operates, interacts with stakeholders, and makes decisions. Here’s more information about the significance and impact of values within an organization:

  • Foundation of Culture: Values define collective beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that shape the work environment and interactions among employees.
  • Behavioural Guidelines: Values act as behavioural guidelines, providing a framework for decision-making and aligning actions with ethical standards.
  • Consistency: Values foster consistency by promoting uniformity in actions and decisions across the organization.
  • Ethical Framework: Values establish an ethical framework that ensures integrity and adherence to ethical standards in all interactions.
  • Decision-Making: Values act as a moral compass, guiding employees’ decisions to align with organizational principles.
  • Employee Engagement: Clear values contribute to employee engagement, creating a stronger connection between employees and the company’s mission.
  • Attraction and Retention: Values attract like-minded individuals and play a role in retaining employees who align with the company’s principles.
  • Reputation: Values influence an organization’s reputation, enhancing trust and standing through ethical behaviour.
  • Differentiation: Values differentiate the company by showcasing its unique approach and priorities, resonating with customers seeking alignment.
  • Long-Term Sustainability: Values contribute to sustainability by building lasting relationships with stakeholders and fostering trust.
  • Cultural Alignment: Values promote alignment among diverse teams, creating a sense of unity and shared purpose.
  • Continuous Improvement: Values drive commitment to continuous improvement, fostering adaptation and growth in changing environments.

Values extend a more explicit framework for actions compared to purpose. They translate our all-encompassing worldview into actionable principles that navigate behaviour. This hierarchy extends to vision—the team’s long-term aspiration, encompassing achievements envisioned for the next five to ten years. Goals, positioned at a more tactical level, function as the means to realize the vision and span from weeks to years. Additionally, our vision and goals dictate the strategic assets and capabilities a company invests in.

3- Crafting a Vision Statement

Crafting a vision statement is a forward-looking endeavour that paints a picture of your organization’s desired future. A well-crafted vision statement encapsulates your aspirations and guides your strategic direction. Here’s how to create an impactful vision statement:

  • Envision Success: Imagine what your organization looks like in the future, typically five to ten years ahead. Visualize the achievements, impact, and growth you aim to realize.
  • Be Inspirational: A vision statement should inspire and motivate. Use language that evokes enthusiasm and excitement among your team and stakeholders.
  • Relate to Purpose: Align your vision statement with your business purpose. Ensure it reflects how your organization plans to fulfill its purpose and make a positive impact.
  • Stay Realistic: While aspirational, your vision statement should also be realistic and achievable. It should stretch your organization’s capabilities without becoming unattainable.
  • Focus on Outcomes: Highlight the outcomes and changes your organization seeks to create. Describe the improvements you want to bring to your industry, community, or the world.
  • Embrace Innovation: If innovation is a core value, express it in your vision statement. Emphasize how you plan to innovate and lead in your field.
  • Consider Stakeholders: Craft a vision statement that resonates with stakeholders, from employees to customers to investors. It should reflect their interests and aspirations.
  • Be Timeless: Aim for a vision statement that remains relevant over time. While specific goals and strategies may evolve, the overarching vision should endure.
  • Link to Strategy: Ensure your vision aligns with your business strategy. It should provide guidance for decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Make it Memorable: Craft a statement that’s easy to remember and repeat. A memorable vision statement becomes ingrained in your team’s mindset.
  • Test for Alignment: Share your vision statement with various stakeholders and gather feedback. Ensure it resonates with their expectations and aligns with your organization’s identity.
  • Revise and Refine: Crafting a vision statement might involve several iterations. Revise and refine until you capture the essence of your organization’s future aspirations.

Business News Daily says that a company’s vision statement should explain the “Why” of a business purpose. In other words, what is the company’s plan for remaking the world?

Every business purpose ought to be crafted in collaboration with its corresponding vision statement. The strength of business purposes is inherently linked to the moral core that supports them. We hold that a company’s presence should be validated by the positive impact generated by the products and services it offers. Effectively, values operate as a social compact within a team, fostering collective engagement in shaping core values. There are no inherently incorrect values; instead, values are tailored to harmonize with the specific requirements of distinct cultural environments.

4- Social Impact in Business Purpose

Business purpose that incorporates a focus on social impact goes beyond financial success to contribute positively to society. This approach acknowledges the role of businesses in addressing social and environmental challenges. Here’s how social impact intersects with business purpose:

  • Purposeful Direction: A business with a social impact purpose is driven by a commitment to create meaningful and positive changes in the world. This purpose guides the company’s strategies, decisions, and actions.
  • Aligned Initiatives: Socially responsible businesses align their initiatives, products, and services with societal needs. They seek to provide solutions that improve lives, address issues, and contribute to the greater good.
  • Sustainable Practices: Businesses with a social impact purpose often adopt sustainable practices to minimize their environmental footprint. They consider the long-term consequences of their operations on the planet.
  • Community Engagement: Socially conscious companies actively engage with local communities through initiatives, partnerships, and support. They strive to make a positive impact on the areas where they operate.
  • Ethical Standards: Social impact businesses uphold high ethical standards in their interactions with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. They prioritize fairness, transparency, and responsible practices.
  • Employee Fulfillment: A purpose that emphasizes social impact can enhance employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees are motivated by contributing to a larger cause beyond profit.
  • Stakeholder Alignment: Businesses focused on social impact resonate with stakeholders who share similar values. Customers, investors, and partners are drawn to organizations that prioritize social responsibility.
  • Innovative Solutions: A social impact purpose encourages innovation to address societal challenges. Companies develop products and services that tackle pressing issues in creative and effective ways.
  • Reporting and Transparency: Social impact businesses often report on their efforts and progress, demonstrating accountability to stakeholders and showing the tangible results of their initiatives.
  • Long-Term Vision: A commitment to social impact involves a long-term perspective. Businesses aim for sustainable growth that benefits society over time, contributing to a better future.
  • Reputation and Trust: Organizations with a strong social impact purpose build a positive reputation and earn the trust of stakeholders. This trust translates into brand loyalty and enduring relationships.
  • Global Contribution: Socially conscious businesses recognize that their impact extends beyond borders. They may engage in global initiatives to address widespread issues and contribute to international causes.

5- Stakeholder Consideration in Business Purpose

A purpose-driven business recognizes the importance of its stakeholders and their diverse interests. Stakeholder consideration involves understanding and addressing the needs, expectations, and impacts of various groups that are influenced by the company’s actions. Here’s how stakeholder consideration is integral to a meaningful business purpose:

  • Holistic Approach: A purpose-driven business takes a holistic view of its stakeholders, considering not only shareholders but also employees, customers, suppliers, local communities, regulators, and more.
  • Needs and Expectations: Understanding stakeholder needs and expectations is crucial. A purposeful business aligns its actions with what matters most to its stakeholders.
  • Responsiveness: Businesses with stakeholder consideration are responsive to feedback and concerns. They engage in open communication and adapt their strategies based on stakeholder input.
  • Ethical Accountability: Purpose-driven companies uphold ethical standards in their interactions with stakeholders. They prioritize transparency, honesty, and fairness in all engagements.
  • Win-Win Mindset: A business purpose that takes stakeholders into account and aims for outcomes that benefit both the company and its stakeholders. This fosters positive relationships and long-term sustainability.
  • Social Responsibility: Purposeful businesses recognize their social responsibility to the communities they operate in. They engage in activities that contribute positively to local well-being and development.
  • Employee Well-Being: Employees are significant stakeholders. A business purpose that considers employees’ well-being fosters a positive work environment, job satisfaction, and talent retention.
  • Customer Focus: Understanding customer needs and preferences is essential. A purpose-driven business delivers products and services that align with customer expectations, building trust and loyalty.
  • Environmental Impact: Stakeholder consideration extends to environmental impact. Purposeful businesses adopt eco-friendly practices to reduce negative effects on the environment.
  • Innovation Collaboration: Businesses that consider stakeholders collaborate with them on innovative solutions. Stakeholders often provide valuable insights that drive the creation of products and services that meet their needs.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Purpose-driven companies ensure compliance with regulations and standards that impact their stakeholders. This builds trust and demonstrates a commitment to responsible practices.
  • Long-Term Relationships: Businesses that prioritize stakeholder consideration build strong and lasting relationships. These relationships contribute to the company’s reputation and success over time.

6- Differentiation in business purpose

A strong business purpose is key to differentiation. It helps create a unique position in the market that resonates with customers and stakeholders. Guided by this purpose, companies develop offerings that stand out, going beyond price-focused competition.

Porter’s generic strategies highlight Differentiation, as a strong purpose enhances differentiation strategy. For instance, a purpose centered on sustainability can be integrated through eco-friendly offerings that attract environmentally-conscious customers.

By embedding differentiation into its purpose, a company strives to stand out in the market and build a distinct brand image. This purpose-driven differentiation involves:

  • Distinct Identity: A differentiated business purpose gives a company a clear identity that separates it from competitors. It showcases the company’s unique values, goals, and aspirations, creating a strong impression.
  • Customer Connection: A purpose that resonates with customers on a personal level fosters a deeper connection. It goes beyond products or services, addressing customer needs and desires at a fundamental level.
  • Innovation: A purpose that emphasizes innovation sets the stage for novel solutions. It encourages the company to constantly evolve and create products or services that address challenges in creative ways.
  • Long-Term Sustainability: Purpose-driven differentiation contributes to long-term sustainability. When customers align with a company’s purpose, they are more likely to remain loyal, even in the face of short-term market shifts.
  • Employee Engagement: Differentiation in purpose creates an engaging environment for employees. They become part of a meaningful journey, working towards a unique mission that sets their company apart.
  • Brand Loyalty: A distinct business purpose cultivates brand loyalty. Customers who connect with the purpose are more likely to remain loyal and become advocates for the brand.
  • Market Resilience: Purpose-driven differentiation helps a company weather market changes. Customers who identify with the purpose are less likely to switch to competitors, providing stability even in turbulent times.
  • Strategic Direction: A differentiated purpose serves as a North Star for decision-making. It guides strategic choices that align with the company’s unique identity and resonates with stakeholders.

7- Employee Engagement in business strategy

Employee engagement within a business purpose signifies creating a work environment where employees feel deeply connected to the company’s mission, values, and goals. It goes beyond job satisfaction and involves fostering a sense of purpose, ownership, and commitment among employees. When employee engagement is aligned with the business purpose, several key benefits emerge:

  • Aligned Efforts: Engaged employees understand and embrace the business purpose. They align their efforts with the company’s overarching goals, working together towards a common mission.
  • Shared Identity: A strong business purpose creates a sense of identity and belonging among employees. Engaged employees see themselves as integral parts of a meaningful journey, leading to a more cohesive and united team.
  • Intrinsic Motivation: Engaged employees are intrinsically motivated. They find meaning and satisfaction in contributing to a purpose they believe in, which leads to higher job enthusiasm and motivation.
  • Higher Performance: Engaged employees consistently perform at their best. Their dedication and sense of ownership drive them to excel in their roles, positively impacting overall company performance.
  • Innovation: When employees feel engaged with the business purpose, they are more likely to think creatively and contribute innovative ideas that align with the company’s mission.
  • Improved Collaboration: Engaged employees are more likely to collaborate effectively. They share knowledge, ideas, and support, fostering a collaborative work environment.
  • Higher Retention: Employees who feel engaged are more likely to stay with the company. They are invested in the purpose and values, leading to lower turnover rates.
  • Enhanced Adaptability: Engaged employees are more adaptable to change. They are willing to embrace new strategies and directions that align with the business purpose.
  • Positive Culture: A business purpose that resonates with employees contributes to a positive company culture. Engaged employees embody the purpose, of influencing others and promoting a sense of positivity.
  • Employee Advocacy: Engaged employees become advocates for the company. They speak positively about the organization, both internally and externally, contributing to a strong employer brand.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Engaged employees provide better customer service. Their commitment to the business purpose translates into delivering superior experiences to customers.
  • Long-Term Growth: Engaged employees are more likely to invest in their professional growth within the company. They see a future aligned with the purpose and are more committed to their career development.

8- Adaptability for business purposes

Adaptability within a business purpose involves crafting a purpose that enables the organization to respond effectively to changes, challenges, and evolving market dynamics. An adaptable business purpose recognizes that the world is constantly changing and seeks to remain relevant and impactful despite uncertainties. Here’s how adaptability is integrated into a business purpose:

  • Change Readiness: An adaptable business purpose acknowledges that change is inevitable. It emphasizes the need to be prepared and proactive in responding to shifts in the industry, technology, and customer preferences.
  • Future-Focused: An adaptable purpose is forward-thinking, anticipating trends and developments that might impact the business. It ensures the company is poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate potential risks.
  • Continuous Improvement: An adaptable purpose values ongoing improvement. It encourages a culture of learning, experimentation, and innovation to refine products, services, and processes over time.
  • Resilience: An adaptable purpose builds resilience in the face of setbacks. It fosters the mindset that challenges are opportunities for growth and learning, rather than insurmountable obstacles.
  • Customer-Centricity: An adaptable purpose centers around customer needs and preferences. It encourages the organization to evolve and tailor offerings to stay aligned with changing customer expectations.
  • Flexibility: An adaptable purpose allows for flexibility in strategies and approaches. It acknowledges that the path to achieving the purpose might require adjustments and pivots based on new information.
  • Agility: An adaptable purpose promotes organizational agility. It encourages the ability to quickly respond to changes, make decisions, and reallocate resources as needed.
  • Inclusive Decision-Making: An adaptable purpose involves diverse stakeholders in decision-making. It recognizes that different perspectives enhance the ability to navigate uncertainty effectively.
  • Scenario Planning: An adaptable purpose incorporates scenario planning to anticipate various future scenarios. This helps the organization be better prepared to handle different outcomes.
  • Employee Empowerment: An adaptable purpose empowers employees to contribute to change initiatives. It fosters a culture where employees feel comfortable suggesting improvements and driving innovation.
  • Open Communication: An adaptable purpose emphasizes transparent and open communication. This facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, helping the organization navigate change more effectively.
  • Long-Term Vision: An adaptable purpose maintains a long-term vision while being flexible in short-term strategies. It provides a sense of direction while allowing adjustments to achieve that vision.

Benefits of Creating Business Purpose

Creating a business purpose offers a range of benefits that can positively impact your organization, its stakeholders, and the broader community. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Clear Direction: A well-defined purpose provides a clear sense of direction for your organization. It helps align everyone’s efforts toward a common goal, reducing ambiguity and enhancing focus.
  2. Inspiration and Motivation: A compelling purpose inspires employees, customers, and stakeholders. It fosters a sense of motivation and passion, driving increased engagement and commitment.
  3. Differentiation: A distinct purpose sets you apart from competitors. It helps you stand out by offering a unique value proposition that resonates with customers and stakeholders.
  4. Employee Engagement: A meaningful purpose gives employees a sense of meaning and fulfillment in their work. It enhances job satisfaction, morale, and overall well-being.
  5. Strategic Decision-Making: A clear purpose guides strategic decisions. It ensures that every choice, from product development to partnerships, is aligned with your core identity and values.
  6. Cohesive Culture: A purpose-driven organization often develops a strong and cohesive company culture. It creates a shared sense of identity and values among employees.
  7. Customer Loyalty: When customers resonate with your purpose, they’re more likely to become loyal advocates. They feel a deeper connection to your brand beyond just products or services.
  8. Innovation: A purpose can fuel innovation by inspiring creative solutions to address challenges that align with your purpose. It encourages thinking outside the box.
  9. Community Impact: A purpose that focuses on social responsibility and positive impact contributes to the well-being of local communities and the broader society.
  10. Attracting Talent: A purpose-driven organization attracts like-minded individuals who align with your values. It helps you recruit and retain employees who share your vision.
  11. Long-Term Sustainability: Organizations with a clear purpose tend to have a longer-term perspective. They prioritize sustainability and responsible practices.
  12. Positive Reputation: A purpose that aligns with positive societal impact enhances your reputation. It builds trust and goodwill among customers, partners, and stakeholders.
  13. Adaptability: A strong purpose can guide your organization through changes and challenges. It helps you adapt while staying true to your core identity.
  14. Measurable Goals: Your purpose can guide the setting of measurable goals that reflect your desired impact. It provides a framework for tracking progress.
  15. Overall Alignment: A well-crafted purpose aligns your organization’s various elements, from mission and values to strategy and operations, creating a harmonious whole.

And a profound impact of thoroughly comprehending your business purpose is the ability to articulate your intentions clearly. Purpose statements play a pivotal role in charting the company’s trajectory by highlighting priorities and forging a guided path ahead. Furthermore, purpose statements steer managerial decisions in alignment with the business’s aspirations.

“We intend to have success,” of course every manager says. But what steps will be taken to further that success? Answering the following questions as you develop clear goals for your business:

  • What constitutes your ultimate Business Intention? What pinnacle achievement do you ultimately seek?
  • What fuels your motivation? (elaborating on the legacy you aim to leave behind)
  • What is your Vision? (illustrating the destination you aspire to reach)
  • What encompass your key objectives? (outlining tangible targets you aspire to accomplish)
  • How are your actions synchronized with your business purpose? Does your company’s purpose statement resonate with how the business generates revenue?

In the world of digital transformation, businesses usually define their intentions in a few specific ways. Consider these examples:

  • Leveraging new technology
  • Preparing to unleash innovations
  • Recreating your value proposition
  • Developing new products

Business Purpose Examples

  1. Google:
    Google’s purpose emphasizes the democratization of information. Their aim is to organize the vast amount of information available online and make it universally accessible and useful. This purpose underlies their search engine, but it also guides their development of various tools, technologies, and services that empower people with knowledge.
  2. Tesla:
    Tesla’s purpose is centred around sustainability and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. By accelerating the transition to sustainable energy, they’re not only creating electric vehicles but also pushing for advancements in energy storage and solar power, contributing to a cleaner future.
  3. Patagonia:
    Patagonia’s purpose goes beyond profitability. They aim to produce high-quality products while minimizing environmental harm. Their commitment to environmental activism and encouraging responsible consumption is a testament to their purpose.
  4. Warby Parker:
    Warby Parker’s purpose combines affordability with social consciousness. By offering affordable eyewear and following a “buy a pair, give a pair” model, they’re addressing both the accessibility of eyewear and making a positive impact in underserved communities.
  5. Airbnb:
    Airbnb’s purpose focuses on fostering connections and a sense of belonging. Their platform allows people to experience local culture while providing hosts an opportunity to earn income. This sense of community aligns with their purpose of enabling people to belong anywhere.

Integration of Business Model Canvas and Business Purpose

The Business Model Canvas is a powerful tool that complements and interacts with a company’s business purpose. It provides a visual framework for understanding how various components of a business work together to create and deliver value to customers, while the business purpose defines the fundamental reason for the company’s existence. These two elements are intricately connected, with each informing and influencing the other.

Business Model Canvas Template
The UNITE Business Model Canvas
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Building on the work of Alexander Osterwalder

A clear business purpose serves as the North Star that guides decisions made across the Business Model Canvas. It shapes the key building blocks of the canvas, including customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, and more. For instance, a purpose-driven company aiming to provide eco-friendly products will reflect this commitment in its customer segments and value propositions, tailoring its canvas to cater to environmentally conscious consumers.

And, Business Strategy outlines how a company plans to achieve its goals, and these goals should be directly linked to the overarching purpose. A purpose-driven organization’s strategy might involve sustainable sourcing, ethical production, and responsible marketing practices. These strategies then influence components of the Business Model Canvas, such as key partnerships, resources, and revenue streams.

Furthermore, the business goals set within the business strategy act as milestones that reflect the realization of the business purpose. These goals, whether they involve market share growth, societal impact, or financial success, guide the operational choices captured in the Business Model Canvas. The canvas, in turn, provides a tangible way to visualize how these goals translate into actionable components, enabling the alignment of resources, processes, and activities toward achieving the desired outcomes.

Adding to this framework, the “Jobs to be Done” concept addresses the fundamental needs that products or services fulfill. Integrating this approach enhances the alignment between canvas components and purpose. This integration not only enhances customer-centricity but also strengthens the alignment between canvas components and the overarching business purpose.

In essence, the Business Model Canvas provides the operational blueprint for bringing a business purpose to life, while the business strategy and business goals ensure that the canvas aligns with the broader purpose. Uncover profound insights in our book, “How to Create Innovation” – the ultimate guide to business strategy. Within its pages, you’ll find a diverse array of groundbreaking tools and models as Business Model Canvas that will enrich your understanding and empower you to refine your approach, guaranteeing unmatched success in the competitive business landscape.

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Finding Your Business Purpose

Finding your business purpose is a transformative process that involves deep introspection and strategic exploration. It’s about discovering the fundamental reason for your organization’s existence and the positive impact it aspires to make.

What problem do you want to solve? Do you want to spread brilliant ideas all over the globe, like TED?, Make transportation as reliable as running water, like Uber? Or help humankind reach its potential, like the non-profit organization AIESEC? Or do you just want to build a more fuel-efficient car? If you said the latter, your team has a purpose. If you’re more drawn to the former, you have a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP).

The UNITE Business Intentions

The UNITE Business Intentions model underscores the vital significance of aligning a company’s business purpose with broader societal and environmental considerations. This approach places a strong emphasis on integrating ethical and responsible practices into the core of a business’s purpose. It serves as your compass for defining your Business Intention – the pivotal strategic goals that will guide your entire innovation project. Precisely articulating your business intentions is of utmost importance; otherwise, you risk losing that essential guiding North Star. You can download it now.

Business Purpose - Business Intentions
The UNITE Business Intentions
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG

A Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) triggers a fundamental shift in perspective by addressing a global issue, aiming to contribute to its resolution and create a distinct, potentially improved future. Echoing the words of Peter Diamandis, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.” An MTP holds the potential to foster exponential growth by instilling an entirely new mindset and facilitating customers in aligning their personal significance with your purpose. Indeed, in their book “Exponential Organizations,” Salim Ismail, Michael Malone, and Yuri van Geest contend, “An exponential organization simply doesn’t work if not driven by a Massive Transformative Purpose.”

Every decision-making process is subjected to daily scrutiny to ensure it authentically represents the organization’s essence. However, even the purpose itself requires periodic examination. Thus, even an MTP is subject to constructive evaluation from time to time, to gauge its continued relevance. As serial entrepreneur Marc Degen, a contributor to this book aptly phrases it:

“Change is standard, so you better accept what’s happening, adapt, and enjoy the ride!”

Marc Degen

Your company should possess a single, well-defined purpose statement that serves as a guiding force, influencing collective decisions. This statement elucidates the underlying reason for the company’s existence.

It’s pivotal to distinguish the business purpose, and this differentiation from your company’s vision or mission holds significance. While the latter terms are indispensable for your business’s triumph, they carry distinct legal implications from the business purpose.

Steps of Creating a Business Purpose

Developing a meaningful business purpose is a deliberate and strategic undertaking that extends beyond the creation of a simple declaration. It demands a profound grasp of your organization’s values, ambitions, and its position within the larger scope. An intricately crafted purpose acts as a navigational guide, steering your strategic choices, igniting inventive thinking, and nurturing a collective identity among stakeholders. The following table of steps outlines a systematic approach to crafting a purpose that genuinely connects with your organization and those it serves:

Step NumberStep NameDescription
1Understand Your Core Values1- Reflect on Your Organization’s Values, Ethics, and Principles:
– Consider the values that have been ingrained in your organization since its inception.
– Reflect on the ethical principles that guide how your organization conducts its operations.
– Think about the fundamental beliefs that shape the way your company interacts with employees, customers, suppliers, and the broader community.
2- Identify the Beliefs that Guide Decision-Making and Culture:
– Identify the core beliefs that influence the choices your organization makes.
– Think about how these beliefs impact the way decisions are approached, especially when faced with ethical dilemmas.
– Assess how these beliefs contribute to the overall culture within the organization.
3- Consider the Values that Resonate with Stakeholders:
– Take into account the values that are important to your various stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and communities.
– Understand which values resonate most with these groups and align with their expectations from your organization.
– By considering stakeholder values, you can create a purpose that appeals to a broader audience and fosters positive relationships.
2Define Your Mission1- Craft a Concise Mission Statement:
– Distill the core essence of your organization into a brief statement that communicates its reason for being.
– Avoid excessive jargon or complex language. Instead, aim for simplicity and clarity.
– Keep your mission statement concise while conveying the most important elements of your organization’s purpose.
2- Focus on Core Activities, Goals, and Values:
– Highlight the primary activities and operations that your organization is engaged in.
– Incorporate the key goals and objectives that your company is striving to achieve.
– Integrate your core values into the mission statement to underscore the ethical and cultural principles that guide your organization.
3- Ensure Clarity, Actionability, and Impact:
– Make sure your mission statement is easily understood by both internal and external audiences.
– Use language that conveys action and intention. Frame your statement to reflect the proactive steps your organization takes.
– Aim for impact by choosing words that evoke emotion and significance. Capture the attention and interest of those who read it.
3Consider Stakeholder Needs1- Conduct Thorough Stakeholder Analysis:
– Identify and categorize your stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, suppliers, local communities, and regulatory bodies.
– Analyze their expectations, concerns, and interests related to your organization.
– Consider both direct and indirect stakeholders who might be impacted by your activities.
2- Identify Ways to Address Their Needs and Concerns:
– Based on your analysis, pinpoint specific areas where your organization can contribute positively to the well-being of stakeholders.
– Determine how your products, services, operations, or initiatives can address their needs, solve problems, or enhance their experiences.
3- Ensure Alignment with Stakeholder Interests:
– Ensure that your business purpose aligns with the interests, values, and aspirations of your stakeholders.
– Consider how your purpose can benefit each stakeholder group and contribute to their overall satisfaction.
– Tailor your purpose to show that you are committed to serving their interests and making a positive impact on their lives.
4Align with Passion and Expertise1-Evaluate Your Organization’s Strengths, Expertise, and Passions:
– Identify the core strengths and competencies that set your organization apart.
– Consider the areas where your organization has demonstrated expertise and achieved success.
– Reflect on the passions, interests, and areas of enthusiasm that drive your team members and leadership.
2- Align with What Your Company Does Best and Is Passionate About:
– Craft a purpose that leverages your organization’s strengths and expertise.
– Ensure that your purpose aligns with the areas where your team is most passionate and motivated to excel.
– This alignment creates a natural synergy between your purpose and what your organization is uniquely positioned to accomplish.
3- Enhance Authenticity and Likelihood of Success:
– When your purpose aligns with your organization’s strengths, it enhances authenticity and credibility.
– An organization that genuinely excels in its chosen areas is more likely to make a significant positive impact.
– This alignment also boosts employee morale and engagement, as team members are more likely to be passionate about work that resonates with their expertise and interests.
5Envision the Future1- Develop a Compelling Long-Term Vision:
– Craft a vision statement that outlines the desired future state your organization aims to achieve.
– Make the vision inspiring and aspirational, reflecting the transformative change your organization envisions.
– Ensure that the vision statement captures the essence of the impact your organization seeks to make.
2- Make the Vision Inspiring and Ambitious:
– Infuse the vision with a sense of purpose and possibility that resonates with everyone involved.
– Highlight the ambitious nature of your goals to rally employees and stakeholders around a shared objective.
– Encourage people to dream big and imagine the profound positive changes that can be realized.
3- Describe How the World Will Be Improved:
– Clearly articulate how the efforts of your organization will lead to a better world.
– Address the problems, challenges, or opportunities your organization is uniquely positioned to address.
– Show how your purpose-driven initiatives will contribute to solving these challenges and making a meaningful impact.
6Incorporate Social Impact1- Identify Opportunities for Social Responsibility and Positive Contributions:
– Assess areas where your organization can make a meaningful difference beyond profit generation.
– Consider societal challenges or needs that align with your purpose and expertise.
– Identify opportunities to address these challenges and contribute positively to the well-being of communities and the environment.
2- Explore Ways to Align with Sustainable Practices, Community Engagement, and Ethical Behavior:
– Integrate sustainability into your operations, products, and services to minimize environmental impact.
– Engage with local communities through initiatives that support their needs and aspirations.
– Commit to ethical behavior, transparency, and responsible business practices in all your operations.
3- Consider How Your Products, Services, and Operations Can Make a Difference:
– Evaluate how your core offerings can create positive social change or solve pressing issues.
– Think about how your organization’s day-to-day operations can contribute to sustainability, diversity, and inclusivity.
– Explore ways to leverage your resources, expertise, and reach to foster positive change.
7Craft the Purpose Statement1- Use Insights from Previous Steps:
– Review the outcomes of your previous steps, from understanding core values to envisioning the future.
– Extract key insights, values, and aspirations that stand out as essential components of your organization’s identity.
2- Make the Statement Succinct and Emotionally Resonant:
– Keep your purpose statement concise, usually just a sentence or two.
– Choose words that evoke emotions, resonate deeply, and make an immediate impact.
– Ensure that the language you use captures the passion and energy behind your organization’s purpose.
3- Align with Mission and Vision:
– Ensure your purpose statement seamlessly aligns with your mission and long-term vision.
– Create a thread of continuity that connects your organization’s daily activities, overarching mission, and aspirational vision.
4- Focus on Communicating Core Essence:
– Distill the essence of your organization’s reason for existence into a clear, powerful message.
– Highlight the positive change you aim to create and the values you hold dear.
– Express your commitment to making a meaningful impact on society or the world.
8Test for Clarity and Resonance1- Share with Employees, Stakeholders, and External Parties:
– Distribute the purpose statement to your employees, stakeholders (such as investors, customers, suppliers, and community members), and even individuals from outside your organization.
– Cast a wide net to gather feedback from diverse viewpoints that represent the range of people your purpose will impact.
2- Gather Feedback to Ensure Clarity and Resonance:
– Encourage your recipients to share their thoughts, impressions, and feelings about the purpose statement.
– Ask specific questions to understand how well the purpose statement is understood and whether it resonates emotionally.
– Seek feedback on whether the purpose statement aligns with the organization’s activities and intentions.
3- Refine the Statement Based on Feedback Received:
– Carefully review the feedback you’ve collected and look for common themes, insights, and suggestions.
– Use this feedback to refine the purpose statement, clarify any ambiguous language, and address concerns.
– Ensure that the final version of the purpose statement is a true representation of your organization’s identity and aspirations.
9Integrate Across the Organization1- Embed the Purpose into Culture and Operations:
– Ensure that the purpose statement is not just a statement but a lived reality.
– Align your organizational culture, values, and behaviors with the purpose, making it an integral part of daily operations.
– Incorporate the purpose into performance evaluations, strategic planning, and organizational initiatives.
2- Communicate Purpose to Employees through Various Channels:
– Use multiple communication channels to effectively convey the purpose to all employees.
– Hold meetings, workshops, and town halls to discuss the purpose and its significance.
– Utilize internal newsletters, intranet platforms, and social media to reinforce the purpose.
3- Align Branding, Messaging, and Activities with the Purpose:
– Ensure that your brand’s visual identity, messaging, and communication materials reflect the purpose.
– Align marketing campaigns, product development, and corporate social responsibility efforts with the purpose.
– Consistently communicate how your organization’s activities contribute to fulfilling the purpose.
10Set Measurable Goals1- Develop Specific Goals Reflecting Purpose Aspirations:
– Identify specific areas where your organization can make a tangible impact based on your purpose.
– Define goals that align with the broader purpose and contribute to its realization.
– Ensure that each goal is closely tied to a core element of your purpose.
2- Make Goals Measurable and Time-Bound:
– Set metrics and benchmarks to measure progress and success for each goal.
– Define clear targets and deadlines that provide a sense of urgency and accountability.
– Break down long-term goals into smaller milestones to track progress more effectively.
3- Demonstrate How You’re Working Towards Fulfilling Your Purpose:
– Clearly articulate how each goal relates to the organization’s purpose.
– Explain how achieving these goals will contribute to the positive impact envisioned by your purpose statement.
– Ensure that each goal represents a meaningful step forward in fulfilling the purpose.
11Live the Purpose1- Encourage Employees to Embrace the Purpose:
– Cultivate a sense of ownership and pride in the purpose among employees.
– Create opportunities for employees to share how they connect personally with the purpose.
– Foster an environment where employees feel inspired and empowered to contribute to the purpose’s realization.
2- Make Purpose-Driven Decisions:
– Encourage decision-making that aligns with the organization’s purpose, core values, and long-term vision.
– Provide employees with the autonomy to make decisions that reflect the purpose’s principles.
– Use the purpose as a guiding criterion when evaluating different options.
3- Celebrate Purpose-Driven Successes:
– Recognize and celebrate achievements that directly contribute to fulfilling the purpose.
– Showcase the positive impact of purpose-driven initiatives to inspire others.
– Reward and acknowledge individuals and teams whose efforts align with the purpose.
12Review and Adapt1- Regularly Assess Relevance in Changing Contexts:
– Keep a finger on the pulse of shifts in your industry, market trends, and societal changes.
– Monitor how the landscape is evolving and how it might impact your organization’s purpose.
– Stay open to new insights that could enhance your understanding of your purpose’s impact.
2- Adapt Purpose If Needed to Stay Aligned:
– If changes in the environment or organizational direction occur, consider adapting your purpose.
– Ensure that your purpose remains authentic and resonant with your identity while accommodating necessary adjustments.
– Engage stakeholders and employees in discussions about potential adaptations.
3- Continuously Refine Initiatives and Goals:
– Regularly review your goals and initiatives to ensure they are still aligned with the purpose.
– Make adjustments to your strategies and actions based on changing circumstances.
– Consider whether new opportunities have arisen that better align with your purpose.
Steps of Creating a Business Purpose

Thinking Through a Business Purpose Statement

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, the question of whether to prioritize stability or adaptability becomes crucial. Is your organization more inclined towards being a stable entity or does it lean towards embracing change and innovation? Does your structure foster a culture of continuous learning or does it value permanence and security above all? Moreover, how does your organization perceive change – as a necessary part of growth or as a potential threat to the established order?

Regardless of where your organization currently stands, the imperative for all is to reassess operational approaches, organizational structures, and the business environment that cultivates change. It’s vital to create a business ecosystem where change isn’t seen as disruptive but as a catalyst for progress. A successful company’s purpose transcends profit-seeking and shareholder interests; it encompasses a broader vision that speaks to societal needs and positive impact.

Deliberating upon a business purpose statement involves a thoughtful contemplation aimed at distilling the essence of your organization’s reason for existence. This process goes beyond mere words and delves into the core values, aspirations, and impact your business seeks to make. A well-crafted purpose statement serves as a beacon, guiding your actions, shaping your identity, and resonating with stakeholders. Below are the key considerations to navigate this introspective journey:

  • Reflect on Values: Begin by reflecting on the core values that underpin your organization. Identify the principles that guide your decisions, define your culture, and differentiate you from others.
  • Clarify Aspirations: Consider the long-term aspirations of your business. Envision the positive changes you aim to bring to your industry, community, or the world at large.
  • Align with Impact: Think about the impact you wish to create through your products, services, or initiatives. How do you intend to improve lives, solve problems, or contribute positively to society?
  • Engage Stakeholders: Involve your stakeholders in the process. Understand their expectations, concerns, and what they value most about your organization.
  • Embrace Uniqueness: Embrace what sets your organization apart. How does your uniqueness contribute to the greater good? How can you leverage it for a meaningful purpose?
  • Unify Passion and Expertise: Explore the intersection of your team’s passion and expertise. How can these strengths be harnessed to fulfill a purpose that aligns with your values?
  • Visualize Impact: Envision the world or industry as it would be if your purpose were fully realized. What positive changes would you witness?
  • Craft Concisely: Condense your insights into a concise statement that captures the essence of your purpose. Make it emotionally resonant, impactful, and reflective of your values and aspirations.
  • Test for Resonance: Share the statement with diverse stakeholders and gather their feedback. Does it resonate with them? Does it capture the essence of your organization’s identity?
  • Ensure Alignment: Ensure that the purpose statement aligns with your organization’s goals, actions, and intended impact. It should serve as a touchstone for decisions and initiatives.
  • Foster Commitment: Communicate the purpose statement widely within your organization. Cultivate a sense of commitment and ownership among employees, encouraging them to embody the purpose.
  • Evolve and Adapt: Recognize that your purpose statement can evolve as your organization grows and circumstances change. Regularly review it to ensure alignment with your trajectory and values.

A common pitfall to avoid is viewing innovation and digital transformation as destinations themselves. These terms have been echoing since the early days of the dot-com era (and crash!), It’s imperative to steer clear of the common mistake many businesses make: understanding that innovation and transformation are means to an end, not ends in themselves. The same principle holds true for technology. All of these are tools employed to achieve a comprehensive Business Intention.

To change requires a belief in one’s own ability to be able to carry out that very change. Large corporations often feel that they lag behind start-ups on aspects related to innovation, for example, speed, agility, costs, etc. But the more we have worked with clients and compared large organizations to start-ups, the more we are convinced that scale if properly exploited, can actually be an advantage, not a liability for innovation.

Sizeable enterprises possess a multitude of assets and capabilities in their core and distinct domains, empowering them to stand out in the market and scale innovations beyond the scope of any startup. It’s our collective responsibility to help them uncover and leverage these strengths. While large organizations may appear rigid today, it’s important to recognize that this rigidity isn’t inherent but rather a product of design. If an organization seeks different outcomes, it must alter its design. This transformation is entirely achievable

Final Thoughts

That’s a lot. But then again, writing a company’s governing documents is a task not to be taken lightly.

If you’d like help in understanding how your business purpose is or isn’t setting you up for success, we’d love to talk to you. We’ll help connect people who understand business purposes at work to you so your vision and intentions are clear.

You’ll find contact information elsewhere on our website.

The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Innovation Success

Business Model framework
THE UNITE Business Model Framework
Designed By: Digital Leadership AG