Are you struggling to focus on your business? Are you not seeing the growth you thought you would see by now? How about, are you feeling burnt out on the day-to-day grind? If any of these are true, you might have forgotten one of the most important steps to starting a business in the first place. Finding your why.
Knowing your why is one of the most important steps to building a successful business. But for some business owners, this vital step gets pushed aside or is skipped altogether for those other more important things covered in those business how-tos. I don’t want that to be your story. In this article, I will cover the top three reasons you should know your why in business and five easy questions to help you figure out your why.
Reason #1 Your Why Needs to be in the Driver’s Seat
The first reason knowing your why is important is because it should drive everything you do in your business. From the product or services that you offer to your branding message, it should all center around your why.
I am sure you have heard of a mission statement. This is the reason (the why) a business exists. The mission statement of my business is:
My (Kat Simpson) mission is to walk alongside small business owners helping them build an authentic brand that they love in the time their family has to build it.
This is my mission and at the heart of this statement is my why. My why is the mom (or dad) that wants to build a business for their family’s future and wants to do it in a way that does not make it impossible to spend time with that vary family. This is why I offer branding and website audits that provide clear, concise directions on what to fix, why it needs to be fixed, and exactly how to fix it. I know my clients do not have time to learn how to be an SEO master on top of running their businesses. That is why they hire me.
Reason #2 Your Why Pushes You Even When Times Are Hard
The second reason recognizing your why is vital is because it gives you that “thing” that pushes you day in and day out. It gives you a purpose and a drive that when all the chips are down, and you don’t want to work another minute, you look at yourself and say “No, I have to do this for ___”.
The great thing about why’s are you don’t just get one. You can have several things pushing you. I know I do. I have the love for those families I was talking about, but I also have the love for my own family. That is why I am so connected to those parents working to better their families’ future. I’m one of them. When I’m working late or dealing with a not-so-fun task, I just keep thinking, I want to be home with my boys. I want to be in a position where we can take a family movie day and snuggle in our PJs just because we want to. So, I’m not giving up. I am not backing down.
Reason #3 Your Why Allows You to be Authentic
The number three reason you should understand your why is that it is the only way to give you authenticity. If you don’t understand why you are in business or you do not have a core mission that is driving you, you will come off as a used car salesman (for lack of a better visual). Basically, you will come off that you are just selling the thing that was sitting in front of you five minutes earlier.
When you understand your why, you can speak about your product or service or the problem you’re solving with depth, passion, and a real authenticity that builds trust. And the trust factor is necessary for any business to succeed.
The Five Questions to Determine Your Why in Business
1. What keeps me up at night or what am I thinking about when you dig deep?
I remember back to way before I started my business, I dreamed about being a writer. I pretended that I was a playwright or journalist. Of course, this was before I knew the beauty of self-improvement books, but I digress. Even as a teen, I dreamed about starting my own version of Myspace (do you remember that platform?) or starting a website designing company. Today I dream about one day speaking to sold-out conferences. But what do I think about when I’m working late? Those families that I can serve and the two little boys asleep in their room (and the big boy next to me).
2. Who do I want to help?
Your customer base is a big part of your why. But this isn’t only about your customer. This could be the employees you want to hire one day. Maybe you have a heart for the homeless and want to give them a second chance with a job in your company. Or maybe you want to support your church’s youth ministry with a percentage of your profits. Or maybe your dream is to build schools in Haiti. Or a million other possibilities.
3. What hurt am I holding on to?
One of my favorite sayings is “there’s always a mess at the beginning of any great message.” That saying is very true. We can use our pains in life to not only push us but also give us a purpose. Look at CEO, author, and inspirational speaker Mel Robbins. She used her past to motivate her to help others reset their mindsets and build the lives they want.
4. What product or service is at the heart of my business and what problem does it solve?
This is probably the simplest question to answer, but sometimes the simplest answers are the most powerful. My customers find it hard to build an authentic brand with a consistent message while still having quality time for their families. I address that need. What need do you address or problem you solve?
5. What makes me happy or excites me about my business?
If the last one was the simplest, this one is the most fun to answer. Think about what in your business makes you the happiest or excited to do. That is probably at the center of your why. Do you get giddy when you get to coach a group or individual? Do you lose yourself in Facebook groups answering questions for free? If so, your why is serving your clients well and seeing them changed. What about the big brother/big sister program you support monthly with your profits and your time? Do you get the happiest writing that check or speaking to those kids? Maybe that’s your why. Or what about those people that your product helps every day? Is that your why?