How to get to your business’s intention (and why it’s important)

The intention of your business is by far the most important thing to your content strategy.

Hilary Marsh, Enterprise Content Strategist in the USA, agrees with Brutal Pixie that the intention of your businessis what gives your content purpose and teams a mission.

Intention is 910 of the law when it comes to meaningful content. It is also 910 of the law when it comes to engaging teams in your content strategy.

Your business’s intention goes deep into the psyche of your business. And, probably, you as the business owner, Director, partner, or founder. It is a step beyond missioning and visioning, yet it is always left out of your business lessons! Could it be that business trainers don’t know this (not very hard to find) secret?

Whatever the reason, it is vital. But why is it so important?

When you have a clear intention for your business, it creates a condition of absolute clarity. It gives your staff an instant reason for engaging in any activity. It is an instant measure for the condition of being ‘important’ to the business. It gives you, your message, and your staff purpose.

You could argue that a mission and a vision are designed to do the same thing. But as you will see in this article at Forbes, the mission-​creation process is missing something. It’s missing a question. That question is Why?

While you could just drill into the question of Why for a while (you may even follow Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle of why — how — what) you would still only be part-​way there.

The reason is because your intention is much deeper and much more linked to your business. And the best way to get there is via the Hedgehog Concept.

Get your intention step 1: Define your Hedgehog Concept

For those of you who have not yet read Jim Collins’s incredible book Good to Great, the Hedgehog Concept is a deceptively simple Venn diagram. It asks you to define what you are passionate about; what you are/​could be best in the world at; what drives your profit engine.

Here’s how these elements work:

  • Your passion should be pretty easy for you to get to, if you are the business owner anyway
  • What you could be the best in the world at asks you to define your world: Is it a market, a town, a building, an industry?
  • Your profit engine is the best way for your company to maximise its profitability.

Lest you think that how you maximise your profitability is easy, I challenge you to sit down with a whiteboard for half an hour and throw all possibility at the wall. You will be surprised at what you discover.

This is what yours might look like. This is the first Brutal Pixie Hedgehog Concept:

This is an image of Brutal Pixie's actual first hedgehog concept. We can be the best in the world at serving Law. We have a passion for creating publishing projects with great workflow and management. And our economic denominator is profit per customer.
The first Brutal Pixie Hedgehog Concept.

Get to your intention step 2: Figure out what lies at the nexus

What is it that is at the nexus of the Venn diagram? This is your true Hedgehog Concept. And it might be different from what you assumed before you began the exercise! (That’s why it’s so much fun.)

Whatever it is, write it down.

Now, whatever falls outside these circles is something you need to say no to. It’s an immediate evaluation of value of projects, content, and activities. You could paint it on your wall and refer to it every time you have an idea, for example. If an activity fits into a circle, it’s fair game. If it doesn’t, don’t pursue it. It also enables you to prioritise by asking whether it fits more than one circle, or is a perfect nexus match.

Get to your intention step 3: Mash your Hedgehog Concept with your immediate (5 or 10 year) goals

What are you hoping to achieve in five or ten years’ time? What were you thinking were your goals, before you began this exercise? And now that you’ve got this crazy Venn diagram in front of you, how does it change?

Get to your intention step 4: Draft it!

The best intention will hold hands with your mission and vision and give the reader an immediate sense of purpose. It will also include a boundary of time, and an indication of your key audience.

Wow, is your head hurting yet? It’s a lot of thinking! This up-​front thinking will save you heaps of pain later. This kinds of pains it solves are difficult ones: Team engagement, long-​term purpose, meaningful reasons for doing any kind of activity.

Here’s an example:

Mission: To house the world.
Vision: To end homelessness in my city by 2030.
Intention: To build 650 huts for homeless dwellers in my city by 2020.

Do you see how this works? The intention is actionable, heartfelt, purposeful and time-​bound. It also contributes to your vision and makes you one step closer to achieving your mission.

Your intention and your content strategy

Your intention will tell people immediately what your business does and how it does it. It also gives your teams purpose. In terms of content and strategy this plays out in a number of ways. Below are some examples.

Why are we maintaining a blog? Because it’s a key way for us to educate people about what we are doing, and to share our progress.

Why are we sending this newsletter? Because we want to build 650 huts by 2020 but to do it we need money; the target audience will donate.

Why do we have media galleries online? Because it’s the fastest way to demonstrate how we’re achieving our intent.

You see?

The added benefit is that it’s easier for everyone in your business to buy into the vision. It’s practical, they get it, they know instantly how to measure success. Without an intent, a vision is just a fluffy statement that could (and often does) apply to just anybody.

Get your Breakaway Map now and start building something magnificent with your intention.

Summary

  • Your intent is more meaningful than your mission or vision
  • Your intent is practical and measurable
  • Your intent gives your content purpose
  • Your intent supports your content strategy
  • Intent begins with a Hedgehog Concept, which gives it meaning.

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