Why? What Purpose/Cause Drives You?

As a social entrepreneur, you know better than anyone why you are going/went into business: you want to contribute to the planet, society and humanity. This drive holds both strength and energy. If you can make your cause a bit clearer and articulate it more sharply, you can deploy it better. Moreover, according to Simon Sinek, it’s your purpose that attracts your stakeholders – which he calls the WHY. Other names for it are mission and vision. We thought it to be a good starting point for your entrepreneurial passport.

Mission & Vision

In short, the mission is the ‘raison d’être’ of an organization. It reflects the impact a company has on its customers and environment. The vision describes the future the company wants to realize with its mission. If you combine both in one or two sentences, you have your ‘Why’.

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Below, we added some questions which help you define your mission and vision. But first, let’s have a look at this video of Simon Sinek, Author of the book “Start with the why”. Because it gives a good framework and helps you to understand why this exercise is important. You’ll notice he also talks about the How and the What, which will be discussed in the next topics.

Sinek’s golden rule is to ‘communicate from the inside out’. This means starting with the ‘why’, the cause or purpose which drives you, and make sure this ‘why’ is aligned with ‘how’ you do something and ‘what’ you do. We show his model “Golden Circle” below.

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Find your own Why with support of the following questions. Questions that support you to define your mission:

  • What do you make a difference in?
  • What impact do/would you like to have on which stakeholders?
  • What are the desired effects that you want to see in your stakeholders?
Questions that support you to define your vision:
  • To what world would you like to contribute with your activities?
  • Why is your mission important to create this world?
  • What doesn’t let you sleep at night?
You can answer these questions with words, with a story, a drawing, a metaphor, a video,....

Mission and vision are not so difficult, but as they are abstract concepts you need to get used to them. Therefore, we selected some useful video’s. There is some repetition in their content, but we advise to go through some of them as it helps to deeply understand the terms.

  • Here in less than six minutes you’ll understand mission statement and the mission statement formula
  • How to write a mission statement for non-profit (less than 4 minutes)you can see here
If you’re looking for exercises about mission statements, you can find inspiration in the following brochures: