The real purpose of your business

W5 Real Purpose of Business

John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

I often challenge my small business owner clients by asking “what is the purpose of your business?”

People come back with a wide range of answers to that question, like:

  • To make a profit
  • To deliver a great service
  • To create jobs
  • To do work they enjoy
  • To make a difference in the world

While all of these (and many more) are true and valid and meaningful to the owner, I believe that there is one single foundational purpose that is sometimes overlooked – to the business owner’s detriment.

The real purpose of your business is to give you, the owner, the life you want.

Which requires you to answer 2 very important questions:

  1. What do you want to get out of your life?
  2. How do you design the business to give you that?

Because most people haven’t really thought about this, they end up serving the business instead of having the business serve them.

A great example of this is a client I worked with a few years ago.

He had a “successful” business, but it took all his time and energy.

Like many business owners, he had a hub-and-spoke management model where all decisions needed to go through him. If he wasn’t personally on the job, things would fall apart.

The more the business grew, the more of his time it took – to the point where he worked every weekend and spent many nights sleeping on the couch in his office.

One day his wife gave him an ultimatum.

She said, “your business is your mistress. Pick one. It’s the business or me!”

Are you serving your business? Or is your business serving you?

In that moment, he realized that he had his priorities backwards.

Up until then he let his business rule his life.

Only when his wife put it on the line did he realize that he needed to make some changes.

So, he hired me to help him reorganize his business so that it served his life – rather than the other way around.

We went to work on the 3 areas that most business owners struggle with: time, team, and money.

Things are very different now.

He leaves work at 4:00 and takes weekends off. He has a great team who can run things on their own without having to involve him in every little decision. He makes great money – so he can buy what he wants – and he has the time to enjoy it.

He’s happy…and so is his wife!

My client is lucky that he “woke up” when he did.

I know more than a few business owners who ended up divorced because they got trapped serving their businesses instead of creating a business that serves them.

If you feel stuck, let me reassure you…

It IS possible to set up your business to give you the time and money freedom you need to live a great life.

Some people reject this as a purpose because it seems self-indulgent.

But it isn’t.

It’s the business version of “putting your own oxygen mask on first” – because if the business doesn’t take care of the owner, the owner can’t take care of the business.

When your business operates smoothly, profitably, and mostly without you – you’re better able to deliver great products and services, create jobs, do the work you enjoy, and make a difference in the world.

Ready to get your priorities straight and do what it takes to build a business of your dreams? I would be happy to support you in making that happen. You can book 15 minutes to talk about coaching here: book time with John

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner

become a better owner

If an owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you with:

  • Mindset. Thinking like an owner and seeing the big picture of your business.
  • Planning. Deciding what you want, setting a goal, and making plans to get after it.
  • Habits. Changing your behaviours to help you get what you want.
  • Learning. Getting new information and developing new skills.
  • Growth. Facing your fears, stepping outside your comfort zone, and doing what it necessary to create the business of your dreams.