Business ‘purpose’ is a much bandied around word, especially when it comes to marketing. But isn’t it time we all ask ourselves why? Why do we do what we do?
Speaking to business leaders I find that asking what their real purpose is sometimes raises a blank. They typically find it easier to talk about their profit targets or acquisition strategy than get to the heart of why they are doing it all in the first place.
But it is being able to communicate the ‘why’ you are in business that wins the hearts and minds of your team and those who do business with you, not the ‘what’ you do.
Turning 15 and paying it forward…
As we get ready to enter our 15th year in business it seems like as good a time as any to reflect on our journey, and what I feel our purpose is as a growing business.
I have been incredibly lucky to have been brought up anchored by the ‘no-questions-asked’, positive environment of a family that thinks I can achieve anything I want – if I work hard enough.
So that led me to choose the career I wanted, the jobs I’d enjoy and ultimately, led me to the day I decided to start a business of my own.
But it was the years that followed that shaped our true purpose. As we have grown the business, we have employed dozens of people that I have enjoyed mentoring and learning as much from them as I hope they have from me. I gained a huge amount of support from many business owners in the North East that had nothing to gain from helping me out. It was that supportive ecosystem that has helped us to grow and become successful.
So, as we enter our 15th year I want to pay it forward to the next generation. In February I became the first North East woman to sign up as an ambassador of the Prince’s Trust ‘Women Supporting Women’ project.
I want to clarify this doesn’t mean I don’t support men, or think we need to be treated any differently in business as women, but the statistics can’t be ignored.
The Office of National Statics reports that 92,700 young women are now excluded from secondary schools every year in the UK. This is an increase from 70,000 last year, and recent data shows that there are currently 388,000 young women not in education, employment or training.
The Prince’s Trust’s belief is that “youth can do it” and their purpose is to help them gain confidence, get a job or start a business.
But year-on-year The Prince’s Trust sees less women coming through their programmes than men, and here in the North East, currently only 41% of Prince’s Trust beneficiaries are young women.
However, three in four of all the young people they support locally go on to employment, education or training within six months and have very successful and happy lives.
If young women are not achieving their full potential then we need to change that, to make our entire region better by creating a more vibrant and diverse community of confident young people.
So that’s our purpose – we create a culture of opportunity, where great people do great work, which in turn helps our clients to be successful so that they can complete the circle by creating even more great jobs.
But we always remember that we are the lucky ones, so as part of our business strategy we choose to pay it forward to help lift up the next generation. It will be them leading the charge in 15 years’ time, and I can’t wait.
We’ll be hosting a number of events, fundraising and working together to do as much as we can to help the future female leaders of the North East to achieve great things.
To support Women Supporting Women find out more about it here.