In a for-profit company rarely are mission and motivation the same.
Documenting the motivation for starting our companies is just as important as creating a mission statement. Just as we need to be honest with our customers about what we’re pledging to do as a business, we need to be honest with ourselves and our employees about why we are choosing to adopt this mission.
So why are we motivated to start and run businesses? For notoriety? For money? For the flexibility of self-employment? To continue a family legacy?
Most likely one or all of the above.
Maybe we want to do something that’s never been done before. Most likely not. If that’s the case with your business, you’re in the exclusive “start-up” club. Otherwise, you’re running a small business in which you use or improve on an existing business model. It means you already know there is profit to be had.
Which brings us back to starting a business for the money.
Many a business coach and article will try to dissuade us from starting a business for the profit. After all, there are a lot of ways to make money and most are easier than starting and running our own business. We don’t care. We choose the difficult route because we want to make money in a specific way. We want our money to be earned from home, in the family business, as we travel the globe, while we sleep, or in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves. Regardless of how we want it - profit is the goal.
And that’s okay.
This is why we have the distinction between for profit and nonprofit businesses. And despite the fact that every for-profit company has a mission statement which states our goal for changing the world - our ultimate purpose is, of course, to make a profit while doing whatever it is we do.
Before we make up our mission and our mission statements, let’s challenge ourselves to start with a motivation statement. Let’s explain to ourselves why we feel compelled to start this business. Let’s explain it to future employees so they have a reason to get behind our company (because mission isn’t enough - they, like us, want a job for many other reasons but mostly to make money). This motivation is essentially the start of a company culture.
At choose basic we are motivated by the idea of creating employment opportunities for others by growing a team that can work from anywhere as well as making money that we feel good about by helping others with their professional goals.
Once we set forth our motivation, we can shift gears and find a mission that pairs with our motivation. It will help us decide the type of offerings we create and even the structure of the business itself. We want something we can be passionate about. It will be the driving force for all our business decisions, but it will always be considered in the context of our motivation.
At choose basic our mission is to simplify growth for small businesses.
It sounds great for the customers - people want to simplify their businesses right? It gives us the direction we need and it pairs well with the motivation that drives us and our employees.
Having a motivation that is different from our mission doesn’t make us inauthentic or selfish - it makes us a business run by humans. It gives our team a reason to get out of bed each day and work to help other businesses. If we didn’t get paid or feel good about the work we do - why would we be doing it?