A young man I’ll call Tony walked into my office the first week of class in the chiropractic college where I was teaching. He said, “I want to start planning for my business starting NOW. Everyone says you’re the best person to help me do that. How do I get started?”
Wow! I have counseled many people over the years, including a lot of chiropractic students, but I’ve never met someone so determined. Tony had already figured out what it takes most students years to learn – if they ever do.
We talked more, and I asked Tony how he had come to this place of understanding He said had always known that he wanted to go into business for himself, and that he wanted a health-and-wellness centered business. He had done a lot of research and talked to many people and he decided to become a chiropractor. After some more research, he had what I call the light-bulb moment. It’s that “AHA!” thing:
OMG! This means I have to start a business!
This is the part many people don’t get. They want to be a chiropractor or an artist or a writer or sell an app they have developed or they want to be a chef. They figure they can just do their thing, whatever that is. They forget that “doing your thing” isn’t enough. If you want to keep doing that thing, if you want to make money and not just have a hobby, you must attract people and get them to buy. You must also create a business structure to support your “thing.”
But even if you create that business, there’s still something missing, something that will keep you from being successful. It’s what the Tony had from the beginning: A sense of purpose.
What is a Sense of Purpose?
Having a sense of Purpose is the necessary and essential to your success. What does it mean to have a Purpose (I capitalize it for emphasis)?
Purpose is two things:
It’s a reason, a “why” you’re doing something. It’s an intention. In other words, you’re being intentional about starting a business and you’re also intentional about making that business successful.
Purpose also encompasses another concept – that of plan or design. It’s not enough to intend to do something; you must have a plan for getting it done. And you must work that plan.
Every day. In everything you do.
The Earlier You Find Your Purpose, the Better
Tony had his Purpose set out right at the beginning. He was working with the end in mind. This is what Stephen Covey said:
“Begin with the End in Mind.”
The most important Secret to having a Frugal Business is to commit yourself to it, from now on. Do you have a sense of Purpose as you create your business?
I’m talking now about Purpose with a definite CAPITAL P, including all of the elements that make up a business – and a life. Purpose should be more than making money or being important. It’s about making a life, helping others. If you aren’t sure what your purpose is, take some time to think about it.
But before you make the commitment to owning a business, be sure that having a business is right for you. In order to do that you must be able to (as Socrates said)
“Know yourself. The unexamined life is not worth living.“
Are You Ready to Own a Business?
I counseled another young chiropractic graduate a few years back. She went from opportunity to opportunity over a period of several years. At one point, she tried to start a small practice in a small town. Later, she decided to work for someone else and buy the practice. Neither of these options worked out for her.
After several years, we met one day for coffee, and she confessed, “I really don’t think I want to own a business. I am terrified of making bad decisions, I don’t have the money, and I don’t know how to get patients. I’m going to go to work for someone else.” That about sums it up. She finally realized that she could still be a chiropractor and do what she loved, without the hassle and expense of owning a business.
Be really sure you are ready to be a business owner. If you are already a business owner, you may still have some self-doubts. Now is the time to deal with those doubts and make some tough decisions.
If you are really committed to being a business owner, the next step to your business success is to create a Frugal Business.
Why Purpose is Essential: Two Examples
Tony started working right away on his business. He went to chiropractic seminars, but he also read business books (at my suggestion), listened to tapes, and went to business seminars. He started shadowing with a successful local chiropractor. He took LOTS of notes and we had some good discussions. He was working on his business plan in his first year of school and he had a business location and a blueprint for his business in his second year.
Talk about purpose!
In another example, I received some excellent advice when I started on my PhD. My advisor said, “Make everything you do relate to your dissertation. Find your general topic as quickly as you can, and purposefully add to it with your research and writing, so you don’t waste time.”
His advice was like gold; following it saved me time – and money. By the time I got to my dissertation, I had my bibliography and much of the introduction and background. I had even started to create a dissertation topic within the first six months.
How Do You Create a Purpose Statement?
No one can give you a purpose. You must develop it yourself. One way to do that is to spend some time creating a Purpose Statement. A purpose statement is not a mission or a vision. The terms get muddy, but consider this Harvard Business Review article, which says, a purpose statement helps you
…find a way to express the organization’s impact on the lives of customers, clients, students, patients — whomever you’re trying to serve.
Some other Business Purpose statements:
Google Inc. was founded to make it easier to find high-quality information on the web. (1998, archive.org copy of google.com)
Kellogg foods: Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.
Creating Your Own Business Purpose Statement
Would you like to create a purpose statement for your business? You can download a Guide I’ve created to help you work through the process. It’s not difficult; it’s just a matter of understanding the guidelines and putting it down in writing. I also have some sample templates to get you started.
Yes, Please Send me: “Create Your Own Business Purpose Statement”
When you request this file, you will be asked for your email address. You will also receive a copy of “7 Secrets to Growing Your New Frugal Business,” with lots of tips for saving money, simplifying, and working smarter.
Here’s to the Success of Your Frugal Business!