How to Build the Business Case for Purpose: A Strategic Guide

The business world is constantly evolving. Technological advancements, demand for corporate social responsibility, and loftier customer expectations are changing organizations’ priorities. Profit once drove businesses. Now they are driven by purpose. When a company aspires to benefit local and global society, it can generate sales growth and boost innovation. Follow this strategic guide to building a business case for purpose and stand apart from your competition.

Key Takeaways

  • Purpose is becoming a driving factor due to consumers’ lack of trust, concern about social responsibility, and ability to broadcast information through social media.
  • Purpose shapes decisions, and successful purpose-driven organizations use an outside-in approach that seeks opportunities to help them achieve their mission.
  • Identify your company type, understand the benefits of purpose, recognize areas of your business to shape, and define your purpose.

Why Purpose is Becoming More Important

Purpose has always been a factor in business strategy. After all, a carefully constructed mission statement drives nearly every business’s decisions. However, several occurrences have brought a business case for purpose to the forefront of corporate strategy in recent years. Here are three reasons why purpose is a driving factor in today’s business world. 

1. LACK OF TRUST

The trust level of today’s consumers is declining, and it’s because they worry about the future and the role they play in it. With more technological advancement comes more concern for data security. Disproportionate pay gaps between executives and their employees reveal that many business leaders are not ethically responsible. Social media’s spread of inaccurate information makes people question the truth. These factors contribute to less than half of overall consumers trusting organizations to do what is right.

Trust in societal leaders like CEOs declines

2. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Society’s increasing awareness of sustainability and climate change is challenging businesses to re-evaluate their environmental impact. Consumers want to know how products are sourced, produced, packaged and transported. They want to see a company’s carbon footprint and the impact they are having on the planet. Shoppers realize that their purchase decisions impact the world around them, so they expect the brands they support to be socially responsible.

3. LESS CONTROL 

Businesses today have less control over their brand. Through social media, sharing information with the masses has never been easier. People can influence an entire population with reviews, opinions, and customer experiences. A business’s slightest mistake can be broadcast to thousands before they have a chance to address the issue. It’s never been more critical for a company to make a good first impression. 

Building a Business Case for Purpose

Businesses driven by a strong sense of purpose are more successful than those that don’t include purpose in their strategy. 53% of businesses driven by purpose are more innovative, achieve best lead generation, and deliver consistent revenue. Companies must embed their purpose in every part of the organization and achieve buy-in from their leadership, workers, and operations to maximize this opportunity. Follow these steps to build your own business case for purpose.

1. IDENTIFY YOUR COMPANY TYPE

Generally, three categories divide companies:

  • Prioritizers: already understand and incorporate purpose.
  • Developers: working toward understanding purpose.
  • Laggards: purpose isn’t on their radar.

The most significant difference between the three is the way purpose shapes decisions. Laggards use an outside-in strategy, looking for opportunities for profit as a way to decide where they should be strategically. On the other hand, prioritizers use an inside-out approach, identifying where they want to be and then seeking opportunities that help them reach those goals.

Bar graph shows success rates of prioritizers, developers, and laggards.

2. RECOGNIZE THE BENEFITS OF PURPOSE

Purpose can be a powerful tool in business as it gives employees clear direction on achieving success. Unfortunately, many companies are hindered by barriers such as shareholder responsibilities and systems not aligned with a purpose-driven mission. Today’s companies are challenged with the responsibility of contributing to the well-being of society. This focus doesn’t negate the business’s commitments and processes but serves as a guide to streamline them. 

Using purpose as a business strategy can help:

  • Create customer value.
  • Positively impact society.
  • Inspire innovation.
  • Give employees a sense of fulfillment.
  • Generate revenue for shareholders.
  • Save money while saving the environment.

The following video explains further why businesses should focus on purpose rather than profit.https://www.youtube.com/embed/E6xtFbbBr1M?feature=oembed

3. RECOGNIZE AREAS TO SHAPE WITH PURPOSE

A business case for purpose isn’t something a company can simply adopt overnight. It has to be implemented and exhibited from the top down. Leadership needs to lead by example and set the standard for purpose to be adopted throughout the rest of the company. Performance metrics, incentives, and operations must consistently align with the organization’s purpose. Leverage your company’s purpose in the following areas:

  • Strategy development: ensure the steps you plan to follow help you fulfill your purpose.
  • Business model: everything you do should be driven by why.
  • Operating model: purpose must lead the actions performed by your team.
  • Branding: your branding tells people who you are, but should be driven by why you do what you do.
  • Product/service development: everything you create must advance the goals you set to fulfill your purpose.
  • New business development: seek future business that helps you achieve your purpose-driven goals.
  • Leadership development: training is key to instilling purpose as a driving force for your employees.

When you incorporate purpose into everything you do as a company, you increase demand generation and improve customer lifecycle marketing. 

4. FIND YOUR PURPOSE

If you haven’t already, re-evaluate your company’s mission. Rediscover who you are and determine why you exist. What’s your mission? What are you trying to achieve? Only then can you understand what needs to be done within your systems and operations to reach those goals. By defining your business case for purpose, you can create a company constantly making progress.

Overcome Your Challenges

Televerde’s global resources combined with sales and marketing solutions help deliver more engagement, pipeline, and revenue to your business. We work with you as an international sales and marketing services company to create effective strategies that deliver qualified leads and closed sales. Let us help you meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Need more resources? The Televerde Resources Hub supplies webinars and tools to help maximize a purpose-driven approach. 

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