Start With Your Why!

Finding Your Why Crystallizes Your Purpose and Establishes the Real Value You Provide for Your Customers.

running a small business

If you are considering starting a small business or you are still new to running a small business, your purpose and passion are key drivers.  These are the early and most challenging days of your business.  A small business owner knows it takes ten units of energy to see one unit of results at this early stage.  Having a crystal clear purpose and passion for what you are doing is extremely important to stay on task each day. Obviously, your business has a purpose.  But, beyond that, what is your personal purpose?

I recently was introduced to Simon Sinek.  I’m a fan.  My wife had referred me to him after he gave a talk at her company.  Sinek is “leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.”  He is the author of two bestselling books: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action and his newest book, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.  He is best known for popularizing the concept of Why and for the talk he gave on the subject that became the second most viewed video on Ted.com.  As Simon Says: “People don’t buy what you are doing they buy why you are doing it!”  

He envisions a day when everyone wakes up inspired to go to work and come home fulfilled.  Your passion, purpose and understanding your why are at the center of this.  I have taken Simon’s online course to refine my own why.  It was a great experience.  I highly recommend it, especially for early entrepreneurs!  Think of your why as your own tagline or slogan.  Through a series of exercises, Simon guides you to identify the things, people and circumstances that inspire you…and those that don’t.  From there, you distill these down to  key passion points—the raw material of your why statement.  Once you arrive at these key points, you write and refine an extremely brief why statement.  For example, I am a big people person.  My why statement distilled down to this…

To make people feel great so they can be at their best

It might sound a bit corny, but I know when I do this I’m at my best.  I strive for this every day.  I’ve received this feedback not only from people I’ve managed and led, but also from my closest friends and family.  Understanding your why is like understanding your own operating system.  It can give you clarity and understanding in difficult situations.  

Overall, the course takes about 8 hours and costs $129.00 for a single license.  You can also get a facilitator’s license as well as an enterprise license.  You can review this all at Start With Why.

This is a great exercise for any small business owner as it really clarifies your passion and raison d’etre.  Even if you think you are fine in the passion department, this exercise helps you define and articulate your why.  Purpose-led businesses clearly establish why they exist.  It is the authentic way to create real value, galvanize customer relationships and grow.

So…what is your why?

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