What is Your Startup Purpose? Know Where You Are Going

Defining your startup's purpose

Do you need to define a startup purpose? The answer is Yes! — Fullstack breaks down how to define the purpose of your startup.

A clearly articulated startup purpose will enable you to survive & standout in an extremely competitive startup ecosystem. In order to succeed, new startups need to capture the attention of the consumers they target — but consumers are not swayed by products alone. Companies need to provide consumers with a brand and service they believe in, defined by a core purpose.

Defining what your business is going to do is the very first step in launching a startup. A well-composed startup purpose delivers the impression of consistency to investors and consumers alike. Defining this purpose, however, isn’t simple — a startup should define its purpose according to the core values it operates with.

A well-written purpose should weather the test of time, and shouldn’t change much as a startup scales. We’ll proceed to break down the most important questions a new startup should ask when defining its purpose.

1. What Problem Does Your Startup Solve?

When developing a purpose for your startup, consider the core problem that your startup aims to solve. How does your solution improve the lives of potential customers or improve existing businesses processes or products?

Does your startup focus on saving time and promoting efficiency, or are you focused on increasing transparency and providing consumers with more trustworthy, reliable choices? Defining the core problem your startup solves establishes a foundation upon which your startup purpose can be built.

Microsoft’s often stated mission of placing “A computer on every desk and in every home” helped aligned the efforts of its thousands of staff and stakeholders alike towards the ambitious goal.

2. What Are You Passionate About?

A startup founder should be truly passionate about the why they started their enterprise. An effective method of defining a new company is beginning with the element of your business that you are passionate about, and working backwards from there.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defined the purpose of Facebook as a medium designed to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. While the scope and scale of Facebook as a platform has grown dramatically since launch in 2004, its purpose hasn’t strayed from Zuckerberg’s initial passion-driven purpose.

Startup founders should possess intimate experience with the problem they aim to solve, and be truly passionate about sharing their solution with the world. As a startup founder, you’re likely the best placed, most passionate person in the world to solve the problem your enterprise aims to solve — your core purpose should reflect this.

3. Think Long-Term

Define your core purpose according to where you want to be in the long term — not where you are right now. Any statement that defines the purpose of your startup should remain accurate regardless of how large your business grows.

To determine whether your core statement is future proof, ask yourself; does the purpose of your startup align with your long-term roadmap? Does your it align with the interests of potential corporate acquirers? Does your purpose hold the potential to attract retail investors should you list your company in the long-term?

By defining a long-term purpose for a startup, founders establish a sustainable foundation for the core principles of their business that will shape its growth in future. Future employees, business partners, and early-stage customers alike will all identify your startup with the core purpose it operates with.

4. Test-Drive Your Purpose

Developing a clearly-defined startup purpose is a process of gradual refinement. A startup founder should ensure that the purpose they’ve established is relevant and is able to capture the attention of key stakeholders.

It’s important to explore the problems your startups solves and the core elements of your business that you are passionate about with executive team members, potential investors, and customers in the earliest stages of your startup launch. Testing your purpose in the early stages of your startup provides new startups with the confirmation that their company purpose resonates with others.

Ultimately, a statement of purpose is a succinct representation of the reasons why your startup cares about what it does. A purpose motivates and inspires the people in the startup as they navigate the competitive ecosystem, and communicates a clear message about why a startup is great at what it does.

Defining the purpose of your startup is critical — but there are many other factors to consider when launching a new business. If you’re launching a new startup, reach out to Fullstack today for detailed guidance.

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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech & online companies.

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