While larger corporations can have obstacles in creating their quest (particularly multi-national, multi-industry companies), they also tend to have the budgets to hire specialists to help them develop it. So we’ll focus on small businesses and nonprofits, which need compelling quests and stories to offset a limited (or nonexistent) advertising and direct outreach budget.
Starting and maintaining a small business is a hugely complex and time-consuming job, so entrepreneurs can be forgiven for generally putting items like a quest on their “want to do” list rather than their “must do” list. Defining your quest, however, greatly helps with your marketing, sales, writing, and branding. And who doesn’t need a little help with that?
Another challenge might be the fact that the early days of many businesses are quite lean: you face economic realities that often trump any idealistic goals you might have for your business. Rather than seeing it as your business failing in its quest—or the failure of the concept of the quest—revisit the original meaning of a quest. If a quest isn’t difficult to achieve and littered with obstacles, setbacks, and detours, it’s not much of a quest, is it?
So whenever possible, take the long-term view. Try to use any unforeseen developments to further your quest, even if it’s in tangential ways. Say you take on an unrelated (or even oppositional) client in order to keep the lights on. How can you fold that into your quest?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Can you use some of your income to support other groups working towards the same quest?
- Are there any opportunities to persuade your clients or others of the value of your quest?
- Aren’t the skills you are practicing, contacts you are making, and material that you are learning potentially helpful to your quest in the future?
Check out our tips and challenges for nonprofits here.