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How purpose drives business: a case study

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Stacks of colourful shipping containers
Salisbury International specialises in supply chain solutions

"Purpose is our most powerful business driver."

So say the founders of our client Salisbury International.

Salisbury (for short) is a relatively new business specialising in consulting on the development of supply chain solutions for businesses. The founders - Donny Sudijanto and Derry Sani - bring a combined 20+ years' experience to the field.

From the start, they knew there was a reason they'd given up good corporate roles to start their business - they knew that many businesses don't optimise their supply chain and logistics management. They'd identified a need in their market for different solutions but had never consciously thought in terms of "purpose".

Even with the knowledge that there was a reason behind what they were doing and the business they were developing, they - like most others in their situation - spoke to prospects in terms of "what" and "how". It was, they say, hard going.

What changed?

Salisbury's purpose "epiphany" came after reading a GrowthCatalyst Insight. So, for this post, we interviewed Donny and Derry for their perspective on the impact of a clear business purpose.

Salisbury's purpose - "building a bridge to a new tomorrow" - became a real driving force for the business "in the very early stages after going live...within 12 months", Donny Sudijanto told us. But it took deliberate effort to get to where they are now.

Sydney Harbour Bridge from below
Salisbury International: building a bridge to a new tomorrow

After a conversation with us here at GrowthCatalyst, the partners asked us to facilitate a workshop to align them to a single, unifying purpose. "It was pretty intense," said Derry.

Part of the process was to help the partners transfer what they intuitively knew about why Salisbury came into being into a clear and easy-to-articulate purpose statement. "That wasn't easy at all", said Donny.

"Understanding our purpose was one thing, but to articulate it to capture its essence needed careful consideration."

This is where many businesses abandon the pursuit of purpose - especially larger ones trying to gather as much input from across the business as possible. The challenge is to generate and maintain consistent two-way communication between leadership and employees. If you don't involve the broader team and take on board their feedback, you'll never get buy-in to your business purpose.

"Our purpose is at the core of every business activity we perform"

Even for Salisbury, which at the time comprised two partners and a handful of contractors, it was still a challenge. Getting the partners aligned took time, open communication and some degree of compromise. According to the partners, though, "the effort is rewarding, as we now articulate our purpose comfortably."

The message is clear: even though it'll sometimes feel too hard, don't give up!

Persistence will be rewarded. For Salisbury, purpose is "at the top of the list" of important drivers in their business. "It's the core of every business activity we perform", said Derry. Moreover, "purpose provides direction and a sense of safety in our decision-making.

Especially because as leaders, we're on the same page."

Purpose: Your "North Star"

That "sense of safety" is worth considering a little more deeply.

At GrowthCatalyst, our purpose is to help business owners and leaders feel safe. Not in a way that breeds complacency but in a way that facilitates quality, rapid decision-making and measured risk-taking. What this means for our clients (and confirmed by them time and again) is that working within a framework underpinned by purpose validates even the most challenging and impactful decisions your business makes. It strengthens your resolve as a leader by lifting your confidence and that of your team - it becomes the "north star" for the business.

Close up photo of a compass with focus on North
The partners are very clear: purpose is their North Star

Donny puts it this way..." for us, feeling safe is about feeling OK when stepping out of our comfort zone. We now don't avoid risk and feel good about chasing new opportunities that we might previously not have. It's paid off for us, and we think of our purpose as our guardian angel."

Client engagement

Research globally points to clarity of purpose - and one that you demonstrate a real commitment to as a business - being increasingly important in improving and maintaining client engagement.

According to a Cone/Porter Novelli Study, 79% of consumers are more loyal to purpose-driven businesses, and 78% become advocates for them, actively referring other potential clients. These numbers also hold where your clients are other businesses. Why? Because decision-makers in business are also human beings, subject to the same emotional drivers as everyone else. And purpose creates that emotional connection.

Derry agrees, "leading client conversations with purpose is vital. It changes the dynamic because our conversations with prospects and clients differ from what they'd normally hear. It also allows us to draw out and understand their purpose."

Yellow sticky note with why on it
Your purpose focuses you on why you do what you do

During early discussions with prospects, many people tend to focus on what their business can do and how it does those things. The conversation is framed around the offer and its delivery. Salisbury International has found that by changing the perspective and focusing on their why, prospects open up more, sharing their challenges. The partners agree that client discussions then become focused on problem-solving.

"Our purpose is a real differentiator," adds Donny. "The feedback we get from prospects and clients is that nobody in our space uses the same purpose-driven approach to creating out-of-the-square solutions. This is clear proof of value for clients."

Salisbury's purpose has also influenced who it works with. One session in the workshop we facilitated for the partners had them concentrating on creating a profile of their ideal client. While they developed a profile that encompasses several tangible characteristics of their ideal target client, the partners say that as well as that list, they now find themselves "attracting and gravitating to clients and alliance partners with a clear purpose that resonates. It unlocks stronger synergies, resulting in better service, communication and progress towards our mutual objectives."

Powerful stuff...

And the future?

The Salisbury partners are clear on their direction. Clearer than they would have been without the benefit of working together to clarify and articulate their business purpose.

They know what they're good at, why they're doing it and who they should target as clients. When the time comes to expand the team, the partners have a laser-like understanding of who they should employ - they'll recruit candidates who buy into and support their purpose.

Keeping purpose alive in any business is a challenge. The Salisbury partners, having been through the hard work of galvanising themselves around their purpose, aren't about to let it die on the vine. "We'll keep the bridge to a new tomorrow front and centre of internal communication with our prospects and clients. It's not just a slogan. We're completely focused on helping our clients create a better future for their businesses."

A big thank you to Salisbury International

We want to thank the Salisbury partners, Donny and Derry, for agreeing to tell their story.

More than that, we also want to thank them for planting the seeds for the development of our Growth Booster Program.

While working with Salisbury, we looked into the market for business advisory services for start-ups and early-stage businesses. While accounting and legal services, in particular, seem easy to find, help for these businesses in getting clear on their purpose, articulating a clear vision, developing and succinctly documenting strategy and understanding their ideal client/customer profile, we found in short supply.

GrowthCatalyst Growth Booster Program graphic
The Growth Booster Program does what it says on the label for early stage businesses

That's why we created the Growth Booster Program. It's a six-module program designed to provide new and early-stage business owners with some intangible skills to help them realise their growth aspirations. It's a cost-effective and time-efficient program with a mix of Zoom catch-ups, phone conversations and offline exercises.

Readers who'd like to know more can find details of the program here.

If you have questions about your particular situation or would like a copy of the program outline, click here to contact us.

chalk drawing of man climbing stairs toward the words "what's next?"

Is purpose your "business North Star"?

Does purpose inspire your vision and inform your strategy?

How clear are you, your clients and your employees on your business purpose?

The advisers at GrowthCatalyst can help you create and embed purpose and put you on the road to long-term, sustainable and profitable business growth.

Why not contact us to arrange a face-to-face or virtual conversation?

Alternatively, you can book a time for an initial discussion here.

How purpose-driven is your business right now?

If you're keen for immediate feedback on how sustainable your business growth might be over the longer term, please follow the link to our "Strength of Business Purpose Health Check".

It'll take only a few minutes to complete, and you'll get your results instantly.

Why not subscribe?

If you want to ensure you never miss an update from us, please provide your details on our Insights page. We'll add you to our list!

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