To Thrive in a Pandemic, Define Your Purpose

If you’re a business owner, chances are you already know that 90% of startups fail in the first two years. COVID-19 has only made it more difficult for businesses to survive: Yelp reported in September that at least 60 percent of closed businesses will never reopen, and many small companies seeking federal loans were left out in the cold.

Weathering the economy means not only reevaluating your financial framework, but why you started your business in the first place. Defining your purpose is key to coming out strong on the other side of the pandemic. 

Showing Your Purpose Engages Customers

2020 has been a rough year for businesses and the economy will need time to recover. But if you’re intent on becoming an entrepreneur or determined to keep your business afloat, improve your likelihood of survival by finding unique ways to convey your purpose. 

The pandemic has motivated many customers to look for small businesses that share their lived experiences and desire for change. What made you finally decide to part ways with an unfulfilling career? What difference do you have to offer in your niche? What impact do you hope to create? The average customer is more likely to return if you offer proof that your business is motivated by more than profit. 

Eloquently explaining your why also fits one crucial piece of the brand strategy puzzle: your company’s origin story. Your website should offer information about what inspired you to start your business. A compelling origin story separates you from competitors in your niche and builds a bridge between you and your target audience. 

It goes without saying that the pandemic has tightened everyone’s wallets. All it takes is explaining why you care to remind consumers that they should turn to you for trustworthy products and services. Without communicating what motivates you to serve your community, you risk getting lost in the crowd.

Using Purpose to Bolster Your Mission Statement  

Being an entrepreneur requires more than sharp communication skills and an understanding of B2B and B2C marketing tactics. To retain customers and rally your employees in tough times, you need a clear vision. A sense of purpose will carry you and your team through the pandemic and another potential lockdown. 

Your company also needs strategies that put your purpose in motion. Whether you’re in the initial phases of creating your business or a cornerstone of your community, now is the perfect moment to revisit your mission statement. 

Your mission statement should answer three key questions:  

  • What are the philosophies and values that underpin your business? 
  • Who is your target audience and what do they have to gain by working with you? 
  • What steps will you take to ensure that you meet the demands of your target audience? 

Leading a strong business means marrying your “why” with your mission statement. Your purpose tells the world why you are in business; your mission statement explains how you will achieve your goals and who you work for. 

A well-written statement that combines your company’s purpose and mission should be on the first page of your employee handbook. To effectively represent your brand, your employees must first understand who they are pitching and why. Furthermore, developing a mission statement with purpose helps retain customers. Millennials and members of Generation Z are especially likely to approach businesses that exhibit a strong understanding of their customer base and offer compelling reasons why they operate. 

Business growth depends on purpose. The more clearly you communicate what distinguishes your brand from competitors, the wider your customer reach. Your purpose might be as complex as protecting the environment or as direct as honoring the memory of a late loved one. But no matter the “why” that underlies what you do, infuse your inspiration into every angle of your business to help keep your doors open. 

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