“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asks Alice. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.
A business without a mission is like a ship without navigation. It doesn’t really matter where it goes because it doesn’t have a destination, and without a destination, there is no way to measure its progress and success.
I asked ten entrepreneurs about how they came up with their business’ missions, and how we can do the same.
1. Combine your mission with the right systems and processes
“Our mission has always been in solving real business problems,” says Saravana Kumar, CEO and founder of Kovai.co. “As we started to get traction organically we knew for our teams to prosper they needed the right systems and tools.
“That led us to ensure that our leaders lead by example and are passionate, inclusive, and pragmatic. We want our employees to enjoy coming to work and feel empowered to grow, make the right decisions and sometimes fail along the way. When you combine both your mission along with the right systems and processes you create an environment ready to fully scale your business. Two words I use a lot when speaking about our mission are passion and persistence.”
2. People don’t get inspired by what you do, they get inspired by why you do it
“The popular saying goes that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ And while there’s certainly truth to that, the reason behind those actions is often what speaks the loudest of all,” says Bryce Cleveland, CEO and founder of Scalpa.
“People are inspired by why you do something, not just what you do. It’s the passion, the drive, the determination that really gets people fired up and wanting to join in or support your cause. We see this all the time with some of the most successful people and movements in history. They were all propelled forward by a strong sense of purpose and mission, not just by what they were doing on a day-to-day basis.
“So if you want to inspire others, start by figuring out why you’re doing what you’re doing. Let that be your guiding light, and the rest will fall into place. That is why we set out for our mission to help others who desired an independent life from the broken education system that let them down.”
3. Align yourself with your purpose, and create a community that sees your same vision
“Deep within each of us is a purpose that is waiting to be expressed,” says Taylor Ping, founder of Hierarchy Media. “For some, it remains hidden their entire lives. Others catch a glimpse of it early on but allow themselves to be pulled in different directions and never fully commit to it. And then some are lucky enough to find their purpose and align themselves with it completely. When this happens, something amazing occurs. They begin to build a thriving business that brings them fulfillment every day.
“Of course, it’s not always easy to find and stay aligned with your purpose. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way. But when you’re driven by a sense of mission, those challenges become opportunities for growth and expansion. And as you bring more people into your mission, you create a community of like-minded individuals who see the same vision and are committed to making it a reality. This is how you build a thriving business that brings you fulfillment every day. So if you’re searching for your purpose, don’t give up. It’s out there waiting for you. And when you find it, embrace it completely and let it guide you on your journey to success.”
4. Profit from your passions
“I believe that your mission will come to you if you simply lean into a business that you are extremely passionate about,” says Pete Fournier, owner of All Things Insurance Group. “My passion is providing generational wealth and ending poverty, hence I’m in the financial services space.
“I strongly believe that if more people were to focus on their passions, they would be able to make a greater impact in their businesses and careers. When you focus on your passion, it allows you to attract the right people and opportunities into your life. It also gives you the drive and motivation to continue moving forward, even when things get tough. So if you’re wondering what your mission is, or how to find it, my advice would be to start by finding something that you’re passionate about and lean into it. Everything else will fall into place from there.”
5. Your passion can become your impact
“Before you figure out your mission, find a business model that is a passion of yours and something you are good at,” says Michael Lush, founder of Replace Your University. “Think about something you would do for free. For example, is there a sport you excel at? Why are you good? Because you love doing it.
“The same principles apply in business. It is not just about something you love but picking something you are good at and monetizing it. Find where you can make an impact and where there is a demand for what you want to do. Remember, business is not just about money, you need a purpose of impacting lives. For me, I am very passionate about helping people improve their lives so it is in everything we do. Now the business and money become bigger than yourself.”
6. Everyone can be an overnight success if you were to wake up a little smarter, a little wiser, and a little stronger than the day before
“True inspiration has to come from the heart, be genuine, and must be believed and supported within the project or company’s culture,” says Brian J. Esposito, CEO of Esposito Intellectual Enterprises and founding partner of BAPESCLAN. “If this is not properly achieved, nor the messaging properly received by the market, then it will not be heard or accepted.
“When it clicks, it’s one of the most energizing, exciting, positive, and inspirational things a company or project and its audience will ever experience. It’s a flowing circle of great energy from company management, employees, and/or representatives engaging with and inspiring its intended audience, but also that audience engaging back and re-inspiring the company’s workforce.”
7. Responsibility is the price of greatness, but freedom is the greatest of all
“‘The price of greatness is responsibility,’ said Winston Churchill. But freedom has a higher cost; it comes at the expense of others who help you make your dreams come true and bring them into reality,” says Maya Bernaia, founder of IamFuture. “That is why you must find something that comes from deep down in your soul and will inspire your entire team to take action. You need to gain input from the team on what should be done next or how best to go about doing something. You want the team to be a part of the success story, not just the mission.
“It is important to create a sense of harmony between team members so that no individual loses sight of the goal. If someone does then everything falls apart. The road to success requires consistency and thoroughness. You walk it with people who trust you know the way, and your team expects the best example and the highest standard of honesty from you. Only freedom of mind unlocks the power of creativity, and doing right with the right people on board makes you free and unbeatable.”
8. Don’t be afraid to dream big and set your goals high
“We had a big vision when we started MachineFi Lab, which was to build tomorrow’s internet today with a cutting-edge web3 technology that rewarded users for contributing data and resources from billions of smart devices as they carried out their everyday activities,” says Dr. Raullen Chai, co-founder and CEO of IoTeX.
“As much as that makes sense today, it did not always seem so to others. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks your mission is impossible as long as you have the plan to make it happen. Many industries are ripe for disruption and technology is growing exponentially. What seems impossible today becomes an opportunity for early adopters. Educate yourself on what is to come and see how you can fit that into your organization. Then when others tell you can’t do it, show them how and this will inspire many.”
9. When you think about your best future look for the clues that made you happy in the past
“For me, digging into what motivates me starts with looking back at my childhood and what inspired me then. I find that many of the things that inspired me then still inspire me now as an adult,” says Lee Richter, chief visionary officer of Richter Design Group. “When I tap into those feelings, it takes me back to a time when I felt like anything was possible, and I was inspired by what I could do and who I could become. Even though I’m an adult now, those feelings still remain within me.
“Whenever I’m feeling down or lost, going back to those childhood inspirations helps me get back on track. It reminds me of who I am, what I’m capable of achieving, and helps me to stay motivated and focused on what’s important to me. If you utilize this you can create a winning mission that will inspire your existing and future clients.”
10. Identify a problem you can solve and solve it
“One of the most important skills in business is the ability to identify and solve problems,” says Igor Vainshtein, CEO of 24/7 Golf. “After all, businesses exist to serve the needs of their customers.
“The first step in solving a problem is to clearly identify what the problem is. For example, before we started our business we identified the need for high-quality but affordable home, garage, and office golf simulator solutions. Once the problem has been identified, it is important to gather as much information as possible about the problem and its potential causes. With a clear understanding of the problem, it becomes much easier to develop an effective solution. The key is to be creative and to think outside the box.
“By taking the time to identify and solve problems, businesses can not only improve the lives of their customers, but they can also create a competitive advantage for themselves. Once you have this figured out it will help you create your mission and make it the most impactful it can be.”