Many people define a successful business as one that sells high volumes, generates a lot of revenue, and is sustainable in the long-term. There are a million ways to set your business up for success: offering a product or service that is valuable and unique, a stellar marketing program, sustainable financial management, fine-tuned operational management, etc. However, one of the factors that people overlook when considering how to drive success at their business is this: Purpose.
On the small island of Okinawa in Japan, the average age of inhabitants is around 100 years old, with rates of disease and cancer incredibly low. But they aren’t just living longer in Japan—they are also living happier, a term they call “ikigai.” Ikigai means to “realize what one lives for,” or as we might say: the meaning of life. The Japanese believed that having a purpose to wake up for in the morning and living a purposeful life is the reason for their longer-than-average lifespans.
We can apply the concept of ikigai to entrepreneurship. In fact, studies show if someone feels their life has meaning, they are more likely to become an entrepreneur. Those who start a business tend to be energized, goal-orientated, and believe they can lead meaningful lives that promote positive change in the world. This is what fuels the entrepreneur to wake up every day and continue running their business!
As entrepreneurs, we ask ourselves:
• How do we make sure our businesses will live a long life?
• What is our business’s purpose?
Here are three additional “meaning of life” questions to help you develop the lifeline of your business:
1) What brings my life meaning?
2) How does my business benefit for my close relationships with family and friends?
3) How can my business be an impact in my community? In the world?
Studies show that helping other people makes you happier in the long run. Not only that, helping others is good for business as well, because the service you provide benefits others or solves a problem, which in turn, makes people use your service or product more.
However, it’s important to find a good balance between self-interest and altruism in the pursuit of meaning, as you need both in order to succeed. Too many self-interest based indulgences won’t lead to growth, and focusing only on helping others—without considering yourself—won’t help your business either.
Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute Talk with Teri
If you have a good handle on what your purpose is, but are struggling to apply that to your own business, schedule a FREE 30-Minute Talk with Teri and let’s brainstorm next steps and get you set up with tools you can use right away!