SEVERAL LEADERS I’VE WORKED WITH on business planning exercises recently have had a recurring theme pops up:  Where do we start?

Many experts would start first with customers and their needs.  If you have a wonderful idea, great, but quickly get to why anybody in the world would want to pay you for it.

And that’s a powerful starting point, but there’s an assumption hidden within it.

The assumption is that your goal is to make as much money as possible.  Which actually isn’t a bad thing; you business need lots of money to survive.

But the danger might be that you haven’t connected with the REAL reason you’re in business.  That sense of mission.

Here’s a simple example:  Let’s suppose that you’ve decided to leave your day job and buy into a franchise hamburger shop.  I can almost immediately tell you that your goal probably wasn’t to become insanely rich, because that’s actually not a great way to meet your goal.

More likely, the deeper reasons are:

  • You wanted to do something different with the rest of your career
  • You want to develop your leadership skills
  • You’d rather “be your own boss” than “work for the man”
  • You’ve been enamored with the restaurant business and want to spend more time there
  • You’d like to create something you can sell to your kids or another buyer
  • You want to be a more integral part of the community

Here’s what’s interesting about these deeper goals: They’re going to massively affect what kind of business build, what customers you go after, and what products you offer.  Once you’re clear on that deeper foundation you might discover that a hamburger chain isn’t the best way to achieve it.

That’s why I always spend time with clients working on the personal and business goals.  Which is where you find that sense of mission.

Wanting to make a difference in the world.