By: Marki Zander
Many business owners are able to identify what they do and how they do it. Where the challenge lies comes with the “why” – why you are in this business, and why clients and vendors alike should choose you to work with among your competitors. Identifying this “why” will not only set you apart from others who may not be able to articulate their purpose for doing business, but it will guide your processes, improve your hiring choices, and all around focus you in your business pursuits.
The Importance of your “Why”
When asked why we do what we do, many people turn to their “whats” and their “hows” to explain their reasoning for entrepreneurship. Sure, you may make the best product out there (your “What”), and you may use the most cutting-edge technology to create it (your “How”) but… why do you do it? What drives you to get up and go to work each morning? What is your reason for being in this market, and what should inspire your clients and customers to choose you rather than someone else? As Simon Sinek once said in his “Start With Why” TED Talk, people don’t buy what you do, but rather why you do it. Don’t sell your clients and customers on what you’re capable of, sell them on your belief behind why you are the one that is best suited for the job. Getting to the root of your “why” is what will set you apart from the rest.
Identifying a “Why”
Defining your “why” requires more introspection than saying you are in business purely for the profit. Most all business owners can identify profit as a goal, and your “why” should cut more deeply into you and your principles as a business person. Think back to the moment you decided to go into business, there likely is a deciding factor that led you to that conclusion, and within that decision is likely the starting point for you to discover exactly what your “why” is. Ask yourself what drove you into striking out on your own rather than falling into the ranks of a pre-existing company? What are you striving for that makes you different? What problem in your industry are you setting out to conquer that no one else is up to solving? Upon thinking about these factors, you’ll come closer to the root of your purpose, and hopefully be able to pinpoint exactly why you do what you do, and why anyone else should care.
Implementing your “Why”
Once you determine your cause, you can use this “why” to influence other aspects of your business. Identifying your “why” and working with your team to identify their role within it can help to realign team goals. Being able to articulate your “why” can help you in hiring others who may share a similar vision. Most importantly, it can help you project where your company is going and clear the path to make the next meaningful step in that direction. Perhaps you find out that in pursuit of profit, you’ve lost touch with why you went into business in the first place. Allow the rediscovery of your “why” to guide you back to your purpose and watch the other pieces of your company culture fall into place.
Businesses operate all the time without knowing what their core principles are. Many are successful in doing so! However, taking the time to determine that crucial “why” by reflecting on your values as a business person and examining your reasons for being in business in the first place is what sets apart a good business from a great business. We here at MD Andersen, CPA, PA encourage you to check back in with yourself and ask yourself the hard question: What is your “Why”?