Managing Teams, Managing Yourself, Start Up / New to Business, Strategy

Discover Your Business WHY

Last week we shared the WHY behind Lemonade Beach. The reasons behind why we started our own business and what keeps us going on those hard days (don’t ever fool yourself, EVERY business has hard times no matter what they might say).

Do you know your why? It’s so important to really understand this as it will be the key to how you connect with your clients, staff and suppliers. To have their answer when people ask why they like your product or service be ‘because it feels right’.

In Jim Collin’s book ‘Good To Great’ he spent 6 years studying businesses that had stood the test of time and thrived no matter the circumstances. Businesses such as Disney, 3M, Hewlett-Packard. What he found was that they all had a ‘deeply held core purpose’. This core purpose creates a strong sense of identity and continuity throughout the businesses.

Jim Collins outlines 5 important characteristics to a company’s core purpose:

  1. It has to be inspiring to those inside the company
  2. It has to be something that could be as valid in 100 years from now as it is today
  3. It should help you think expansively about what you could do but aren’t doing
  4. It should help you decide what not to do
  5. It has to be truly authentic to your company.

Simon Sinek has a great video and website all around discovering your personal and business why. He discusses how business usually know their ‘What’ – what their product or service is. They also know well their ‘How’ – how they deliver their product/service – their USP (Unique Selling Point) and processes and systems to ‘stand out’ from others in their industry.  But very few understand their WHY. Why is it they do what they do? What problem did they set out to solve when they started their business?

Your WHY cannot be ‘to make a profit’ or ‘to get rich’. That might work in the short term but you will hit difficult times and ‘money’ will not keep you going to push through. Your customers will also see through this if it is your top motivation is simply to make money from them and not to have their best interests at your core. It’s unlikely your business will last long term.

So what questions can you ask yourself to discover your why? 

  • What was the reason you started your business?
  • Was there a particular problem you were trying to solve? An area in the market you saw an opportunity to fill?
  • On those hard days when you want to quit because everything goes wrong, why do you keep going?
  • Think about your top customers (or ideal customers) – WHY do they use your product/service? What problem do you solve for them?
  • What is it about your company that inspires your staff when they come to work?

If you would like to explore your WHY there is a huge amount of guidance and information available and we would highly recommend exploring this further to really nail down your core purpose/why.  A short version of Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ Ted Talk is below and a great place to start.



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