What Is The Purpose Of Your Business?

Man running to achieve the purpose of the business

"Your business should be the means to help you achieve the lifestyle you desire and deserve."


Often when I ask a business owner "What's the purpose of your business?" they tell me what the business does. Something like, "Oh, we make the best custom-designed furniture in Perth." After a bit of discussion, they finally get it. The reason they got into business was to make money and have the lifestyle they want. Sadly, it doesn't always work out that way though.

What happens sometimes is that a business owner will strive to make their business bigger in the belief that bigger is better. That's not always the case. When an owner begins with the end in mind and has their exit strategy mapped out, the best exits can often come without getting too big. It comes down to planning and knowing what you want from your business.

Here is a great little story that illustrates this and hopefully will get you thinking about "What is the purpose of my business? What will it look like when it's perfect? Do I have a plan for my exit?" I would love to give accreditation to the author of this but I can't pin down who wrote it first. Anyway, here it is and it's called the Mexican villager...

The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish.

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" Mexican villager playing guitar

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing and distribution.  You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then?"

The American laughed and said "That's the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions. Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you can sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you can sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

So, what IS the purpose of your business? How and when will you get out of it?

I believe you work to live and don't live to work. What is it all for? What is your end game? Do you have an exit strategy? This is why I'm so big on getting business owners to have a plan and a strategy for their business - it can be a one-page plan format. It doesn't have to be War And Peace.

Just as importantly, do you have a plan for your life? A business plan and a life plan should go hand in hand.

If you are a business owner and want to know more about turning your business into a valuable, saleable asset to give you the lifestyle you want, click the link below and let's talk!

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John Denton

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