Today there is so much talk about purpose that it has become synonymous with success when we talk about business.
However, in order to develop a successful business you have to define what success means to YOU. Too many people equate success to running a global business with unlimited material trappings and a media profile worthy of a Kardashian. Think James Caan, Oprah, Jay Z and Alan Sugar.
However, how can you measure success against purpose when comparing someone who organises the much needed food bank or sets up a refuge home for battered women to the owner of a chain of estate agents or wonder bras?
Success is not in what you have, but who you are. Bo Bennett
For some people success is enough that they are able to run a lifestyle business which pays the bills, enables them to save for a rainy day and have a couple of holidays a year For others, like the great Anita Ruddock or Melinda Gates, they may have a social conscious and want to save the environment, lions or campaign to raise issues of the plight of women in war torn countries. For some, they want the power and material trappings that come with running a high net worth business like Peter Green, former owner of Top Shop. All are worthy personal motivators and beneficial businesses in their own right and will be defined as a success story to the onlooker.
I am sure in the past many businesses were motivated purely by the financial returns because of the huge start up capital required and operation costs. Today thanks to the internet, lower start up costs and ease of access to global markets; it makes sense for someone to run a business to supplement their salary, especially if you have a talent that you are not using in the day job.
Across the world you are seeing a thirst for entrepreneurship now that you know there is no job for life and the economic uncertainty across the EU and USA means it makes perfect sense to develop a business model that meets your core values and beliefs.
“As automation continues apace the skills gap and job insecurity fears are real.” Ginni Rometty, CEO IBM
However, don’t get seduced by only passion because it has its downside.
It can make you blind to trends and innovation because you become stuck in your processes and outlook rather than responding to the needs of the customer and market. Passion means that you might take shortcuts in the planning process, the cash projections and more importantly, you may become reluctant to listen and respond to constructive criticism because people are not validating your ideas or agreeing to your strategic vision for the business. Remember there is a difference between running a successful business or expensive hobby.
I believe self employment for the solo and micropreneur allows you to manifest a passion and dream that is aligned to your ethics and philosophies rather than the priorities of a corporate culture.
However, don’t let passion stop you from doing the strategic thinking necessary and ‘graft’ that will help you start, grow and sustain a successful business based on purpose.