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Purpose and Plans

Picture of a porpoise with the words “Do you have a purpose”. Rawmarrow.

The quote “It is good to have a plan, but it’s more important to have a purpose” is from Sadhguru. Look I told you I used to own a yoga studio and I get my inspiration from everywhere!  It is a wise quote for both life and for small business owners. 

A business plan is important for setting goals, identifying strategies, and tracking progress. But without a clear purpose, a business plan is just a piece of paper. To read more about business with purpose check out this article at Forbes.

mission written in scrabble tiles. FOR RAWMARROW PURPOSE BLOG

Understanding the Significance of Purpose.

Your business plan outlines the ‘how,’ but your purpose defines the ‘why.’ Purpose is the driving force that motivates you (and if you have one- your team), resonates with your audience, and sets your small business apart. It’s the heartbeat of your brand, guiding every decision and action.

Defining Your Purpose

Passion and Values

Start identifying what you’re truly passionate about. What values do you hold dear? Your purpose should align with your passions and values.

Solving a Problem

Successful businesses address a problem or fulfill a need. Your purpose can be rooted in providing solutions and making a positive impact on your customers’ lives.

  • Differentiation: How does your business stand out? Your purpose should be the foundation of your unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Long-Term Vision: Consider the long-term impact you want to make. Your purpose should be forward-thinking, driving your business beyond immediate profits.

The Role of Purpose in Your Strategy

Employee Engagement

A well-defined purpose fosters a sense of belonging among your team. When everyone understands and believes in the ‘why,’ they’re more motivated and engaged.

Brand Storytelling

Purpose provides a compelling narrative for your brand. Use it in your marketing and communications to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Customer Loyalty

Purpose-driven businesses often enjoy strong customer loyalty. When your customers share your values, they’re more likely to remain faithful to your brand.


In a rapidly changing business landscape, having a clear purpose can guide you through tough decisions and changing circumstances.

tom’s shoes wear good- for rawmarrow blog post on purpose.

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Examples of Famous Purpose-Driven Brands

  • Patagonia-Their purpose is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” This purpose drives their eco-friendly approach and resonates with environmentally conscious consumers. They are known for their commitment to environmental sustainability, from using recycled materials in their products to donating a percentage of their sales to environmental causes.
  • TOMS-Their mission is to “improve lives.” For every product sold, they help someone in need. This purpose has not only shaped their business but also garnered a devoted customer base.
  • Apple’s stated purpose is to “make the best products on earth, and leave the world better than we found it.” This purpose is evident in Apple’s focus on innovation, design, and quality. Apple is also committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
  • Nike’s stated purpose is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” This purpose is evident in Nike’s focus on developing innovative products and services, empowering athletes, and promoting diversity and inclusion.

They all have a clear purpose that is beyond making money. They are all passionate about making a difference in the world. Some purpose driven brands may be committed to making their products and services in a sustainable and ethical way.

Purpose-driven brands are not just good for the world, they are also good for business. Consumers are increasingly looking to support companies that have a strong purpose and that are committed to making a positive impact. In fact, a recent study Nielsen found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies that are committed to social and environmental responsibility.

A purpose is what drives a business forward. It’s the reason why the business exists and what it strives to achieve. A strong purpose can help small business owners stay focused and motivated, even when things get tough.

A purpose for the sake of it.

There is a growing trend among businesses to have a purpose statement. This is likely due to the fact that consumers are increasingly looking to support companies that have a strong purpose and are committed to making a positive impact on the world. However, some businesses are writing purpose statements afterwards because they think it would be trendy to have one, rather than because they have a genuine purpose. While it’s never too late for a business to incorporate a purpose, doing so solely for trendiness or because you feel you ”should” have one can be problematic.

  1. Inauthenticity-Crafting a purpose as an afterthought, simply because it’s trendy, is just inauthenticitic and honestly what’s the point? When the purpose isn’t deeply embedded in the core values and operations of the business, it becomes a shallow marketing gimmick, and customers can see right through it.
  2. Lack of Commitment- A true purpose is a commitment to a cause or mission that goes beyond profit. When businesses adopt a purpose as a trend, they may lack the genuine commitment to drive meaningful change. Consumers today are more discerning than ever. When they sense insincerity, it can lead to backlash and damage a brand’s reputation. The public expects authenticity and consistency in a brand’s actions and messaging.
  3. Missed Opportunities- Purpose-driven businesses often create lasting relationships with their customers and some customers choose them because of that purpose over their competitors. When a purpose is added as an afterthought, a business might miss out on the chance to connect with customers who value their purpose.

The Value of Genuine Purpose

The most successful purpose-driven brands are those that have a genuine, deeply rooted commitment to their cause. Their purpose isn’t a marketing strategy; it’s a guiding principle that influences every aspect of their business. These companies understand that having a purpose goes beyond being trendy; it’s about creating a positive legacy, making a real impact, and connecting with like-minded consumers on a deeper level.

A good example of this is the Wilderness Society

Its objective is in “protecting, promoting and restoring wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.”

The Wilderness Society started selling products to generate revenue to support its mission. The organisation’s first product was a calendar, which was released in 1978. The calendar was a success, and the Wilderness Society began to sell other products, such as books, maps, and clothing.

The profits from the Wilderness Society’s product sales are used to support the organisation’s mission. The Wilderness Society uses its funds to support a variety of programmes, including:

  • Education and outreach programmes
  • Advocacy and lobbying
  • Scientific research
  • Legal challenges to development projects that threaten wilderness

The Wilderness Society’s product sales are an important source of revenue for the organisation. The Wilderness Society is committed to selling products that are sustainable and that reflect its values. For example, the Wilderness Society only sells organic cotton clothing and recycled paper products.

The Wilderness Society is a good example of a purpose-driven organisation. The organisation is not primarily motivated profit. Instead, the Wilderness Society is motivated its mission to protect wilderness and inspire people to care for the wild places that make life worth living.

Why is having a purpose more important for small business owners?

There are a few reasons why having a purpose is more important than having a plan for small business owners:

  • A purpose gives your business direction. A clear purpose helps you make decisions about where to allocate your resources and what products or services to offer. Without a purpose, you’re more likely to be swayed the latest trends or fads, which can lead you off track.
  • A purpose motivates you (and your team if you have one). When you’re working towards a purpose that you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to be motivated and engaged. Your team is also more likely to be motivated when they know that they’re working towards something bigger than themselves.
  • A purpose helps you attract and retain customers. Customers are more likely to do business with companies that have a strong purpose. A purpose gives customers a reason to care about your business and to support you.

How to develop a clear purpose for your business.

Here are a few tips on how to develop a clear purpose for your business:

  • Start thinking about what you’re passionate about. What problems do you want to solve? What impact do you want to make on the world?
  • Consider your values. What’s important to you? What do you believe in?
  • Think about your customers. What are their needs and wants? How can you help them solve their problems or achieve their goals?

Once you have a good understanding of what you’re passionate about, your values, and your customers, you can start to develop a purpose statement. Your purpose statement should be a brief, clear statement that describes the reason for your business’ existence and what it strives to achieve.

Here are a few examples of purpose statements from small businesses:

  • To provide high-quality, affordable products to our customers.
  • To help our customers live healthier and happier lives.
  • To make the world a more sustainable place.
  • To create jobs and support the local economy.
  • To create awareness about sun cancer.

Once you have a purpose statement, you can start to develop a business plan that aligns with your purpose. Your business plan should outline the steps you’ll take to achieve your purpose. But remember, your business plan is just a roadmap. It’s okay to adjust your plan as needed as your business grows and evolves.

Your business plan is a roadmap for how you will achieve your purpose. But it’s important to remember that your plan is just a roadmap, not a set of rules in stone. As your business grows and evolves, you’ll need to adjust your plan accordingly.

For example, when you first start your business, your plan may focus on building brand awareness and generating leads. But as you start to attract more customers, you’ll need to adjust your plan to focus on scaling your operations and providing excellent customer service.

The key is to make sure that your plan is always aligned with your purpose.

If you lose sight of your purpose, it will be difficult to stay motivated and focused.

Here are a few tips for keeping your plan aligned with your purpose:

  • Review your purpose statement regularly. This will help you stay focused on what’s important and make sure that your plan is moving you in the right direction.
  • Get feedback from your team and customers. Ask them what they think of your purpose statement and how you can better achieve your purpose.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. The business world is constantly changing, so be prepared to adjust your plan as needed.

Even if your plans change, your purpose can remain constant. Your purpose is the reason why your business exists and what it strives to achieve. It’s something that should be deeply meaningful to you and your team.

So, if you’re a small business owner, and have a clear purpose for your business, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans as needed to achieve your purpose.