Just like any good storytelling formula, when you start your business you target the 5 Ws and 1 H - who, what, when, where, why, and how. It’s easy to focus on the “what” and the “how” of your new business, but the most important word to start out with (and keep coming back to) is “why.” Once you know your why, you can find the what and the how.
“He who has a why can endure almost any how.” - Frederick Nietzsche
If you are quick to share the what and how of your product or service but leave out the why behind it, you are missing the driving force that will compel people to work with you. There will always be another product or service that offers what you do; the biggest question is “why should they choose you?” In the words of Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
When you can put your passion down in words, your personal why will give direction and perspective to guide your business forward. The strong foundation of your business will help to communicate and create a personal connection between you and the clients you serve.
As any entrepreneur knows, there will be times when you are overwhelmed, lack motivation, develop imposter syndrome, etc. Remembering your why and passion for creating your company will keep you going on the not-so-fun days and help you stay committed to your vision. You created your business for a purpose. While profits and financial gains are important, they are a result of a process that began with your purpose - your why for doing what you do.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” - Maya Angelou
The task of “finding your why” can seem abstract or daunting. It doesn’t need to be novel or extravagant, but it should be personal, specific, and sustainable - able to ride the waves of the highs and lows that are inevitable as a business owner.
No matter if you are just starting out or have been rocking the entrepreneur life for years, take the time to journal, reflect, and put into words your why. Find your favorite spot and ask yourself the question: “What legacy do you want to leave behind?” When you have your passion written out, put it everywhere. Make it the background on your phone and computer. Don’t forget it - let it drive you. Use it as your mission statement and let it propel you forward in your business.
Once you understand your motivation and use it as the building blocks of your business, let it shine in every aspect of your work. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and let your purpose and mission be known. Communicate your why to your potential clients, and they will know why they should choose you.
Do you have a clear picture of your “why?” Why should people choose you?