More than 1,400 new businesses start every day, according to the SBA, but almost that same amount close every day. Why do so many businesses struggle to stay open?
While there are many reasons leading to their demise, success starts with two key issues: purpose and brand. In other words, over time (and sometimes from the start) businesses lose their sense of purpose (why they started from the beginning) and brand.
What do I mean by PURPOSE?
From the most basic business view, the purpose is based on the problem you are solving: the car solved a transportation need, air conditioning keeps us from sweating to death during the summer, etc.
Most entrepreneurs develop a product idea based on the need that it addresses. Hence that need becomes the purpose. But as Christians, we should go a step further and ask the Lord what His purpose and vision is for your business (Jer. 29:11).
You see, the Lord doesn’t give you a business idea just to make money and provide for your family. Although that is part of the reason, the Lord has a greater purpose than that.
A PURPOSE-LED PLAN
Let’s take Henry Ford for example. He did not invent the automobile, but he did create a manufacturing system that would allow him to build cars of high quality at a lower cost than his competition. This practice would let him price his cars low enough so that the average person (including those working on his assembly line) could afford it. Up to that point, only the elite could afford to buy a car.
Not only was he able to produce a car for the middle class, but he was also able to pay his employees a higher wage—more than double the previous rate.
Ford motor company was a transformative business. Yes, it solved a problem by building cars that were typically out of reach by most consumers. But Ford also improved the standard of living for his employees with his vision and business strategy.
a BUSINESS LEaDs TO TRANSFORMATION
In summary, Ford increased productivity, reduced costs, lowered prices, improved wages, reduced turnover and transformed the industry. (Other car manufacturers started to follow his lead a là Deuteronomy 8:18.) This business was not just about the car—it was a transformation tool.
Did Henry Ford hear from God when he came up with his business strategy? I don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that everyone reading this can hear from God.
It is now time for you to seek His face and hear how He wants your business to be a part of transforming culture!
Yes, you have a product and service to sell. But like Henry Ford, how will your business tangibly impact the lives of your employees, vendors, customers and community around you?
Once you get that answer, now you can start (or restart) to build your business (Proverbs 16:9).
Coming up next
In the next article, I will talk about the second key to business success: branding.
If you want to experience this process first-hand to build a purpose-led business, sign up for the next Business With Impact, a one-day experience on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Click here to learn more and register.
Robert Fukui serves as a deacon for HRock Church and a marketing industry professional. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and has spent the last 20 years in sales and marketing for corporations such as Coca-Cola, Novartis Pharmaceutical and Bristol-Myers Squibb. He is the founder of High Point Marketing, the director of Wagner Leadership Institute-Marketplace and the current president of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce.