Four questions that will define your organization’s purpose

When somebody asks you,
“What do you do,”
how do you respond?

Do you get nervous?
Are you unsure of what to say?
Do you give a longwinded answer
that’s a misrepresentation of how
awesome you are?

If yes to the above,
you need a purpose statement.

A purpose statement is a way 
to talk about your business that is 
quick, simple, and inspiring.

It’s a mission statement, vision statement,
positioning statement, and possibly a 
fashion statement, all thrown into a beaker, 
dangled above a bunsen burner, and distilled 
to it’s simplest, most inspiring, 
and informative essence.

It tells people everything they need to know.

When it comes to your business,
there are only four things people
want to know.

What do you believe?
What do you do?
Who do you serve?
How do you serve them?

Let’s break down each of these.

1. What do you believe?

This is your brand.
Everything else — your products, services, marketing,
and more are all expressions of what you believe.

It’s the reason you started your company,
and no, it’s not just to make money.
If you wanted to do that, and that alone,
you would have just sold porn on the internet.
But you didn’t.

You imagined something that didn’t exist before,
and committed yourself to making it real.
Why?

For example, Nike believes if you have a body,
you’re an athlete.

LEGO believes that everyone is a builder.

Warby Parker believes that everyone has 
the right to see.

Articulating what you believe is crucial
to cultivating other believers — customers,
employees, investors, partners, and ambassadors.

2. What do you do?

This is your offering.
It could be a mobile app, an online marketplace,
a clothing store, a dog-walking service, whatever.

Nike creates products, services, and experiences
for today’s athlete.

LEGO makes toys that are fun to build for
people of all ages.

Warby Parker makes beautiful and 
affordable eyewear.

What you do will probably evolve over time.

But the more specific you can be, the better.

3. Who do you serve?

This is your market.
These are the people whose lives you change.
It’s normal to want to keep this really broad as
to avoid missing opportunities.
But as the old adage goes,
“If you try to be everything to everyone,
you’ll be something to no one.”
You need to speak to a specific person’s
wants and needs.

Nike focuses on today’s athlete.

LEGO is for kids.

Warby Parker is for people who want stylish eyewear
and don’t want to spend a fortune.

4. How do you serve them?

This is your process — 
the steps you take to fulfill your brand’s promise.
It’s an opportunity to give people
a look under the hood at how you
make the magic happen.

Nike products are created by world-class
designers and sold around the world.

All LEGO sets come with easy-to-follow
instructions that empower a child to 
create something that blows their mind.

Warby Parker designs and manufactures it’s own frames,
and then sells them directly to consumers — cutting out 
the middlemen and markups — passing those savings on 
to customers.

Your purpose statement will open doors you
never intended to open.

Not everyone is your customer, but everyone may be able
to contribute to what you’re building in some way.

It could be someone at a conference,
a new friend you meet at a party,
or just a stranger you meet while waiting 
in line somewhere.

Whether it’s an investor, an employee, 
a customer, or an ambassador,
every person who contributes must start as a believer.
And you never know who that person is going to be.

I can help.

I believe that everyone has an inspiring story.

I empower businesses and brands to express 
who they are and what they stand for 
in simple, inspiring purpose
statements.

We start with a team-wide survey around
values and perspectives, and as the main ideas emerge,
we’ll craft the short sentences you need to inspire people 
to care about what your company does.

To learn more, email me at jmw@overture.me.

Check me out here.

Here. We. Go.

Jmw.

**This document is a work in progress. If you have any feedback or questions, I would love to discuss. Please email me.**