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Management, Business












If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. | Source: Shutterstock
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. | Source: Shutterstock

Purpose: What does your business stand for?

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. MALCOLM SCRYMGEOUR asks an important question – what is your purpose?

In 1860, the Royal Society of Victoria organised an expedition to find a route from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Almost surprisingly, at the time, Melbourne was the second-largest city in the British Empire. Establishing a telegraph cable would give the city great economic benefits.

With the single-minded purpose of establishing a telegraph cable to the rest of the world, the Society selected Robert Burke and William Wills to lead the expedition. They didn’t do exceptionally well!

The expedition of 19 men set off in mid-winter, and their wagons broke down at Essendon, on the outskirts of Melbourne, on the first day. Their equipment included essential items such as a cedar-topped camp table, a stationary table with matching chairs, a Chinese gong, and 270 litres of rum to be fed to their camels to prevent scurvy.

"Profit is an outcome of purpose. The better you are at your purpose, the better the financial result tends to be."

After two months, they had progressed 750 kilometres, a journey the mail coach completed in a week.

The hapless Burke and Wills fascinated the local Indigenous people, who often came to watch their ineptitude. Burke and Wills came to an unfortunate end and didn’t survive the expedition. While their purpose was clear, their execution of the plan was disastrous.

When confronted with the question about their purpose, most jewellery store owners don’t have an answer other than to make money. Making money isn’t a purpose. As a suggestion for a draft purpose, perhaps consider ‘we create life memories.’

Whenever you consider purpose - look at each word:

  • ‘We’ means the entire business, not just the owner or the jeweller. Each employee.
  • ‘Create’ refers not just to the product but the experience in the store.
  • ‘Life’ means important events in consumers' lives, such as weddings, anniversaries, celebrations, and other recognitions of love.
  • ‘Memories’ is the experience of collecting the jewellery and the cherished moment when it is gifted to the recipient.

It doesn’t mean ‘we create life memories’ should be your purpose, but instead of anything else, it is a starting point to improve upon! The essence of purpose is best defined by English author Simon Sinek, who said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”.

A group of jewellers I was with recently answered this question by saying ‘we exist to make money’. Profit is an outcome of purpose. The better you are at your purpose, the better the financial result tends to be.

Passionate and focused jewellers who are clear on their purpose and supported with quality business advice are typically the most successful. Those who muddy the waters and focus on chasing the money are not as profitable.

A clear purpose has the potential to set the shape for decision-making. Once the purpose is decided, it follows a strategic plan that behoves the owner and the staff to work towards implementation and execution.

"Success results from sticking to the plan with a staff where everyone is clear on the purpose, the strategies, the importance of their role and why they will be better off."

A common problem with purpose is that many owners and businesses cannot implement the agreed strategies, meaning the purpose statement is just a meaningless ‘waffle.’

As Burke and Wills discovered, a good idea needs the support of a great plan. The most common reason a plan fails is the difficulty of seriously committing to implement the strategies.

Often, they conflict with the old set-in-stone habits and beliefs, years and sometimes decades in the making. These cultures, roles and behaviours, and collective mindsets reinforce the ‘for-profit’ purpose of many jewellery stores.

Businesses — principally individual and independent groups — with a genuine sense of purpose drive far better results. Success results from sticking to the plan with a staff where everyone is clear on the purpose, the strategies, the importance of their role and why they will be better off.

Otherwise, making the right decisions to achieve the desired purpose is impossible.

If you adopt a clear purpose, then everything you do needs to support it. Your store layout, your product range, your team culture and training, and your store presentation –should all follow the same plan.

As Burke and Wills instead painfully discovered, a great plan must be supported by an outstanding plan to execute that vision.

With that said, your business should have a purpose and a plan. That plan should then be executed, which is done by taking the right advice to help you achieve those goals.

From there, you can enjoy the superior results that a well-executed purpose delivers.

More reading:
Three golden rules for investing in relationships with customers
Great customer experience: steps to woo your audience
How do you treat your customers after they leave?
Looking for – and finding – a business’ ‘lost customers’
Quality customer service always beats out pricing

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Malcolm Scrymgeour

Malcolm Scrymgeour is a business advisor with Retail Edge Consultants, working hand-in-hand with retailers in pursuit of efficent practices and improved sales. Visit: retailedgeconsultants.com.au

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