Does your business have a purpose? If you’re the entrepreneur, it can be hard to tell.
When we entrepreneurs are looking for the core identity or purpose of our businesses, it’s just as hard to separate the symptom of our purpose—like great design—from the core purpose—like emotional intelligence.
Being great at programming or pastry or supply chain reverse logistics can look like a purpose when it’s really just a symptom of the purpose that motivated it.
Simon Sinek in book Finding Your Why makes it seem simple—like all brilliant thinkers. He suggests that what your company does is the outer circle. He calls that the “what.” Then, inside of that, is how you do it—like the processes and systems that make it happen. He calls that level the “how.” And finally, the innermost circle of all, is why you do it.
What do Microsoft and Apple have in common? A lot–when you look at the what’s and the how’s.
But the why’s are very different. Whereas Steve Jobs sought to free people to be their creative themselves, you might say Bill Gates wanted to make it easier to access reliable information. With his foundation, he is still pursuing at an impressive level giving the world access to the information it needs to be healthy.
And Apple? Pursing giving people the tools to free their creative spirit, from music to laptops. It would not be an extreme leap for us if Apple came out with an electronic art canvas tool. But for Microsoft, that would be “weird.” Yet it would not be “odd” for Microsoft to come out with a type of Wikipedia. It’s all in the “why.”
If you had infinite products or services to give to the world, what would the first 10 look like? Try it to write down 10 things you’d like to do as a new enterprise–products, services, anything. Look at that list. Shining through 100% of those ideas is the bright, beating sun of your purpose.