We often like to prioritize our needs as a way to know what to really focus on in our daily business practice. Then following question comes to mind: What is the single most useful asset when doing business?

Those who have skipped ahead and read the title of this post already know what my answer is of course. But lets consider the most common answers:

  • A good Product or Idea.
  • A good Business Plan.
  • Solid Financing.

People may hesitate as to the order but there you have it.

These are great tools. They will get you working. They will get you earning money. And with luck, they might make you a star millionaire entrepreneur.

But will it give you a truly sustainable business? How often do we see an old generation product driven out of the market by a new generation? But whatever happens, the market need is always fulfilled.

Guy Kawasaki said that no ice making company survived the coming of the refrigerator. The same can be said for mail order catalogues versus on-line shopping.

But YES, there ARE leaders who anticipate trends, who jump curbs and constantly innovate. The name of Steve Jobs of course comes mind. Along with numerous other CEOs heading companies, big or small, in various markets and industries

But when you dig down inside these great leaders, you find and unshakable clarity of purpose. Whether explicit or implicit. It is there.

Simon Sinek became famous in our industry by saying three simple words: “start with why”. Why we do what we do is at the very heart of continued success. This single concept – Why – is the concept that can ensure that business stay on track, on top of things and profitable even when the market disappears.

When you are clear about why you exist, and consistent in your organization throughout, you can ensure that your company will not respond dogmatically to any market move or trend.

As such, the 19th Century company cited by Kawasaki would no longer see itself as an ice manufacturer and dealer, but as a provider of food management solutions. It would know when to stop investing in big ice machines (or saws) and delivery logistics, to start investing in refrigerator and kitchen appliance plants and partnerships with wholesalers and dealers.

That doesn’t take a visionary mind. That takes clarity of sustainable purpose. 

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