Many entrepreneurs start out their business having decided, "What product?" and "What way do we promote it?" Unfortunately, this is in part why so many small businesses fail, because there is a third and more crucial question: "Why does the business serve its customers?"
Clients do not buy into what product the business sells or the way it does it. Their interest is more in why the business is servicing them and whether it meets their needs.
When the "why" is established, the founder can create a business that externally promotes and develops employees, peers, suppliers, customers and even family members that are in alignment with the business itself.
Clarity in 'who' the business is means you know where the business needs to head, and will attract the right people who want to head in the same direction.
Some important questions:
Why do you do what you do?
Why is it important to those you serve?
Why does the existence of your organisation matter?
These are simple and yet difficult questions that will lead to a simple vision statement. This is a sentence describing the business' desired end-state, the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organization or program's work.
By long-term, business experts say it should be so aspirational that it would be impossible for the vision to be completely fulfilled. It can between three and 30 words long, and the average is 15. A two to six word summary "tagline" will help everyone remember it. Take a look at these examples:
Walmart USA has 11,000 stores in 28 countries and employs over a million people in the USA alone. Their purpose is help people "to save money so they can live better", and summarised as "Save money, live better".
Luxury car maker BMW AG states their purpose is "to enable people to experience the joy of driving", and summarised as "Sheer driving pleasure".
Electronics manufacturer LG says their vision is to "make our customers' lives better, easier and happier through increased functionality and fun." Their tagline is "Life's Good".
A vision or purpose that is plain to those impacted by the business are far more likely to either want to work for the business or support it because it delivers what they need.