Traditional wisdom says that you need to “pivot” to serve your customers. It used to be “inflection point.” Before that, “paradigm shift.” And before that, it was the question, “What should we do now?” But they all point to selling what the customer wants; otherwise, you won’t have anything to sell. Now, this seems logical, but it is missing a huge factor, the most crucial factor to make a business successful–you.
My name is Jacob Curtis. I am a CPA and Profit First Professional dedicated to helping quilt shops piece together financial freedom. I started Curtis Accounting Solutions to help quilt shops and small businesses with bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes and to provide practical business advice.
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Dreading work is no way to experience life. And it’s not an efficient way to scale your business either. Now, you must determine what you want to do in your business. Now, this doesn’t mean that every day will be all rainbows and butterflies, but it does mean that you should enjoy your work because it will be work.
Last week, we talked about clarifying who your customers are. And a way to get to know them is to speak with them. I even gave you an assignment to evaluate and determine your top customers. But don’t pivot everything to your Top Customer’s desires unless their desire aligns with yours. You want them happy, and they need you happy. Don’t pivot; align. How do you do that?
It all starts with your purpose. Precisely, your “why.” Why did you go into the business you are in? This is so important that many books have been written about the importance of discovering and knowing your why. Simon Sinek even wrote a book titled Start with Why. Mike Michaolowizc calls it your Big BANG or your Big Beautiful Audacious Noble Goal. Others call it your vision. And still, others call it your calling in life.
Here are a few examples of why a business exists. First, Mike Michalowicz’s purpose is to Eradicate Entrepreneurial Poverty.
Lise Kuecker, an owner of multiple Anytime Fitness gyms, says her why is to remove obesity from traditionally obese communities.
My purpose is to help small businesses, mostly quilt shops, piece together financial freedom.
Now, your why or your purpose does not have to be world-changing. It can be small. It can be to put food on your table for your family. It may not change the world, but it will change their world. Which in turn changes the world.
Remember, your purpose needs to outweigh your effort. That is what keeps you going when you don’t want to keep going. Your purpose must go beyond the transaction. If money is the only purpose you have, you will fail. Remember, money is just a mechanism or tool we use to fulfill our purpose. Paul reminds us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim. 6:10, CSB). This doesn’t say money is bad. It says that the love of money is bad and seeking more money to get more brings “many griefs.”
When you have a purpose bigger than the transaction, speak about it often and in different ways. Your purpose guides you in forming a mission statement and defining core values for your business. It gives you directions and goals to shoot for. It inspires others to join you, become a part of your team, and purchase from you. Your bigger purpose is the wind in your sails.
Now, you might not be able to put your finger on your purpose yet–the words may be eluding you, which is okay. You don’t have to pause right now and figure it out; you can continue to think about it. But we can’t postpone declaring your Big Promise–the number-one thing your customers value you for, the main thing that you want your quilt shop to be known for among your customers. The Big Promise is what you stake your company’s reputation on.
Aligning every aspect of your quilt shop with that Big Promise provides the clarity and certainty you need to design your business to get your employees (and future employees) on board and scale your quilt shop beyond you.
Your Big Promise must tie to your purpose. Your purpose is your company’s reason for existing, and it is how you build cohesiveness across operations. Your Big Promise is what drives you. It is what you stake your reputation on.
Here are a few examples to clarify the difference between your purpose and your Big Promise. Mike Michalowicz’s purpose is to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty, and his Big Promise, or what his top customers value, is to simplify entrepreneurship.
Google’s purpose is to make information universally accessible and useful. And their Big Promise to their customers is the best daily-use online tools.
Disneyland’s purpose is to inspire imaginative possibilities for the child within us. And their Big Purpose is to be the happiest place on earth.
My purpose is to help quilt shop owners piece together financial freedom and what my clients value–my Big Promise–is that I help them achieve financial freedom with their quilt shop.
You become more efficient when you align your efforts with a single type of customer. When you align your efforts with your Big Promise, things really get in gear.
When you ask your top customer, “What are we doing right?” they won’t tell you what you are doing right. They will tell you how they are measuring your performance. And since this is how they are observing you, what you are doing right is what you need to do better–if it aligns with how you want to serve your customers.
As you get answers from your top customers, you may be shocked or even upset at what they value you for. But your customers do not care about all the things you do. They only care about what they care about. Think about your vendors; why do you pick the vendors you pick? What do you value each of them for?
Declaring your Big Promise is the key to scaling your business. Without this clarity, you will continue to be reactive, putting fires out day after day. And worse, you will continue to stunt growth. Take the time to nail your Big Promise, and a world of possibilities will open for you, your team, and your quilt shop.
The first step is to get an understanding of your purpose. If possible, write it down. Next, declare your Big Promise. What is it that you want to be known for? What do your customers value you for? If you need clarification, ask them.
Declaring your Big Promise aligns your team and customers and gives you direction, opening the doors to scale your quilt shop.
Tell me your Big Promise email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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