Being a social venture startup is teaching me the importance of clarity. I know, it sounds basic and even cliche. But, many entrepreneurs lack clarity without even realizing it.
Clarity is one of the most vital mindsets an entrepreneur can have. Everything relies on it. I know this to be true because I can often pinpoint clarity as the missing factor with many of my past business mistakes.
Clarity for the purpose-driven entrepreneur specifically is important because it allows us to:
- Stay grounded in what matters most to us in life and what keeps us fulfilled
- Understand our company’s main purpose
- Get clear on what metrics we are trying to achieve (aka measurable purpose and profit goals)
- Create processes so we can measure those goals
- Test those processes in an experimental way
- Lean in to what is working and let go of what is not
- Systemize our business and create helpful structures
- Know what to ask for specifically when reaching out for help
- Allow team members to help without micro-management
- Retain balance in our lives
The most important part about practicing clarity is to understand that it requires some soul searching, but then it has to shift into operations in order for it to be effective.
If we are scared to soul search, we will head in the wrong direction. And, if we don’t know how to apply clarity to operations, we will never reach our goals. So, here are a few of the things I am learning right now about how to practice this mindset.
Clarity Starts from Understanding Your Inner Self
I was not able to have clarity until I got really clear on what my company’s purpose was. It sounds stupid simple written out like this, but many entrepreneurs still are not clear on their purpose. So, dig deep and get your answers to these questions down on paper:
What kind of work makes you the most fulfilled?
Is it balance, a creative hobby, working for yourself, growing a scalable company with a team? There is no wrong answer, but honest answers to these questions affect everything.
What is this company providing you and others with? Is it social outreach, profits or a combination? Do they have equal weight? Be honest with yourself.
Remember, if you want to make a sustainable living on your purpose-driven project and fund a social cause than it is first and foremost a business.
How large do you want your social mission and profits to scale?
Do you want to stay a solopreneur project, an outreach that stays local, or an expansion globally? This will change your entire plan of action.
Clarity Has to Move to Operations to Do Any Good At All
Once you have the company’s purpose extremely clear, you will have a solid vision to act on. Then, this must be applied to your operations. So many entrepreneurs, including myself in the early days, get so frustrated because they try all sorts of things and find that they are not getting closer to their goals. But, they didn’t actually have a measurable goal to start with. So, here is how I try to approach it now:
- Take your overall vision and break it down into smaller business goals
- Create a metric (a measurable outcome) for every single goal
- Create a test idea to measure these goals
- Make sure you have a process in place for how you will test and how you will measure
- Go out and do the test
- Analyze the test – did you reach your goal?
- Now, lean in to what is working and let go of what is not
- Now repeat the steps over again.
The last part of this system, “lean in to what is working and let go of what is not” is a powerful part of this system because it helps us to complete the whole cycle again with clarity. With each cycle, we get closer to our goals and overall vision.
The important thing to keep in mind is that clarity is synonymous with business vision (so we know where we want to go), but also with metrics (so know where we are at and how we are doing).
Regularly Check-in With Your Personal Side
While all of this clarity is working to systemize our business efforts, it’s important to check-in on our personal lives, aka “Do I feel balanced and fulfilled?”
Balance is about taking time for rest and reflection, but often times we don’t allow ourselves to do this because we don’t have systems in place to free up our time. So again, it’s important to use structure and process to organize ourselves and others. For example:
- If we are clear on our business needs, we can ask people for help with specific things
- If we are clear about our goals, metrics and processes, we can better train the people who help us, so we don’t have to micro-manage every detail.
By getting clear on the purpose of our companies, we can create actionable goals using metrics and processes, so we reach our vision. And, we can stay balanced by empowering other people to help us in a systemized way.
With this practical way of using clarity, I hope that you will take this mindset and put it into action for the sake of your purposeful business.
Keep good. Keep giving (And keep gaining clarity.)