Where will organic growth come from?

We all know innovation is important but it can feel remote from the core business. A customer-centred purpose, what you’re for not what you do, helps identify how you can make things better for customers, and what they’ll value. Minor tweaks can be just as valued as radical reengineering of the business.

How can we grow faster, when we are all flat out already?

No one needs more initiatives. Clarity of purpose provides a filter that helps align and streamline initatives and projects, making priorities clearer and showing where you get the greatest return for your efforts – by making clear what customers value and will pay for.

How can we explain what we do so prospective customers come to us?

This is a classic for tech-based businesses, but of course the answer is, don’t. Instead, make sure you know exactly what problem you solve for customers – they already know their painpoints so it’s a much better place to start a conversation.

How can we simplify our strategy so people in the business all understand their role?

We all know the probably apocryphal story of the cleaner in NASA who, asked what he was doing, said he was “putting a man on the moon”. Not every purpose can be that inspiring, but if people know what it’s all for, ultimately, then they can make sense of what they’re doing, and feel good about it.

Who are our future competitors? How can we protect our business against non-traditional competition?

It’s fashionable to talk about discontinuous innovation, from disruptive players from outside your sector. That’s more likely to happen if people inside the sector are not willing to disrupt their own established practices in order to meet market needs better. So your best protection is to keep thinking about what you’re for, and reviewing how you can do it better.