Make Meaning Method How to Determine Meaning for Startup

 In Benefit Venture Blog, Optimizing, Purpose, Tools
make meaning grid

Make the meaning obvious

Make Meaning MethodA way to help founders go beyond establishing business purpose, to make meaning through products and behavior.Meaning is making the world a better place,” says Guy Kawasaki (in The Art of the Start 2.0). Then he adds, “If you make meaning, you’ll probably also make money.” It could be to right a wrong, or save a life.

The Venture Founders site is devoted to help founders who create new ventures with purpose. The addition of a dimension to make meaning will reinforce both the intent, the message and behavior of the business. The meaning of the company and its products or services should be obvious to its people, the customer and the community at large. If the business makes claims about the company’s purpose, everything it does should make the meaning obvious.

But assuming you are struggling with how to define your business in terms of meaning, use this Make Meaning Method as a way to consider your own business and its products. It is not a ‘right or wrong test’, rather a stimulus for personal reflection.

The marketing message will be greatly facilitated by the conceptualization of what your business is all about, rather than being exclusively attached to the practical aspects of it. Though beware that the behavior of the business is likely also to define the meaning of the business, for good or bad.

The well-worn marketing nostrum of stressing benefits rather than features is taken one stage on by working on meaning. The message you want to convey about the business will flow very naturally from the meaning of the business. The Make Meaning Method will help you to establish the meaning of your own startup and create bonds with customers that go beyond product characteristics and price.

Make Meaning Method




Make a smaller travel carbon footprint


Toyota Prius car

Enjoy products with high functional design


Apple computer

Be part of the eco-adventure fellowship


Patagonia clothing

Inspire creative play and learning


Lego bricks

Lessen landfill and save trees


Seventh Generation baby wipes

Produce in-depth quality news reporting


National Public Radio

Support women artisans in strife-hit countries


Prosperity Candles

Encourage teenagers to drive responsibly


Ford MyKey®

Reduce unnecessary animal testing


Aveyda beauty products

Create a sense of connection to other activists


Hempest clothing

Support personal fitness with expert advice


Nautilus equipment

Prevent data theft


Dell laptop fingerprint reader

Promote well-being for people and planet


New Resource Bank

Enable customers to appreciate and show luxury


Rolex watch

Enable appreciation of off-road snowscape


Tubbs Snowshoes

Your Business Has Meaning

There are, of course other kinds of meaning that your business and products may have. The Make Meaning Grid is intended as a model against which you can define your own meaning. Guy Kawasaki says, “Meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about crating a fun place to work.” The meanings of ‘meaning’ implied by the ones in the grid above, are to make the world a better place.

To help you make the meaning of your business explicit, there are some tools on the Venture Founders website, like: Purpose of the VentureStartup Statements of Intent, Vision Statement.

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