Building a Purpose-Filled Business with Vision, Values, & Voice

09/19/2016 02:35 pm ET Updated Oct 27, 2016

If you’re struggling to run your small business, take a fresh look at your vision, values, and voice to ensure that your direction, connection, and message are clear.

When building a business, it is tempting to take shortcuts in creating your marketing plan and strategy. Your entrepreneurial spirit often sets you ablaze with the enthusiasm that fuels you to excitedly start building websites, creating Facebook pages, and setting networking meetings with anyone and everyone just to “get the word out.” We want to feel productive, and being busy makes us feel that way. This activity may actually even work for a while, and we will acquire new customers and achieve a certain level of success just from our sheer momentum.

However, these results are often short lived, and one day you may realize that you have built a business that looks nothing like what you intended. You may feel uninspired, burnt out, frustrated, and frazzled from working with the wrong type of clients, taking on projects just to pay the bills, and feeling like you are not living your true purpose as an entrepreneur.

I know this is true from experience; I made the same mistake in 2013. My business partners Kenny Harper and Manny Torres and I set out with great intentions when we started our agency over three years ago. We were each well respected in our industry, and we knew we had the skills and knowledge that other small business owners need to be successful. So we opened up shop together, and our business initially skyrocketed. At times it felt like we were riding a wild horse, holding on for dear life, trying to tame the beast that had become our company. We had over 40 clients and rapidly growing revenue, and from the outside, it looked like we had achieved “success.”

But something was missing. The three of us were getting burnt out, we were feeling uninspired by the work we were doing, and many of our clients were mismatched to us. We felt like we had missed our calling as entrepreneurs.

In order to rectify the situation and get back on track, we pulled back instead of pushing forward. We regrouped and asked ourselves some tough questions about our vision, values, and voice. In one year, revenue grew by 30%, and we are on track to being a million-dollar-earning company next year. We even published our first book, and most importantly we found a renewed sense of purpose that is reigniting the entrepreneurial flame we had when we started.

By answering the following three questions, you too can find more purpose in your business and reach new heights of success.

1. What is your BOLD vision? The key to creating a successful business is a BOLD vision. Your vision builds the foundation on which everything else will be built upon, but having a BOLD vision provides a picture of the future AND pushes you to reach new levels of success. Really stretch yourself when setting a BOLD vision.

When you define the vision of what you are trying to create and why it matters to you, people resonate with your vision and will want to help bring your vision into existence. This includes potential customers as well as team members.

2. What are your values? Here’s an eye-opening exercise to try when determining your company values:

a. Make a list with the following categories: Your Family, Your Friends, Your Clients, Your Partners, and Your Employees.

b. Write down 3-4 of the values that you most appreciate from the best people in each of those categories.

c. Group the values together into similar categories, combining like values.

d. Next, look at your lists of values and choose the top 5-6 common values that resonate with you.

e. Finalize the list to identify your top 3 company values.

This exercise is important, because when you make decisions based on your values, you stay true to who you are, make better decisions, attract like-minded clients and employees, and ultimately find more purpose in your work.

3. What is your voice?

When you know WHY your company is in business, WHAT you stand for, and WHERE you are going, you can easily define your voice and purpose. You can build a strong brand on the foundation of a strong voice and purpose.

To identify your voice, ask, “What is my message?” You should be able to communicate your message simply in 1-2 sentences.

For example, my message is this: “The American Dream is alive and well. Given the right attitude, expertise, and drive, entrepreneurs can achieve success and find purpose in their work and lives.”

To get started, use these templates and fill in the blanks:

1. I believe that {fill in the blank} can {fill in the blank} if they {fill in the blank}.

2. The problem I see is {fill in the blank}, and I will do {fill in the blank} to solve this issue for {fill in the blank}.

3. I stand for {fill in the blank}, am heading {fill in the blank}, and will do {fill in the blank} in order to get there.

If you find yourself struggling in your small business, take a minute to examine your vision, values, and voice to ensure that your direction, connection, and message are clear. By resetting a BOLD vision, defining your values, and finding your voice, you will find renewed purpose in your work.

You can find more insights from Jen DeVore Richter on building a purpose-filled business, entrepreneurial life, and small business marketing at

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Jen DeVore Richter (l), Manny Torres (c), and Kenny Harper (r) of Rock My Image
Photo by Richard Fleming Photography
Jen DeVore Richter (l), Manny Torres (c), and Kenny Harper (r) of Rock My Image
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