Why your business journey needs to start with Why
Many of the people I work with are taking their first steps into the world of entrepreneurship.
While this is a very exciting time, I see lots of people plough straight into their new venture without first taking one very important step.
If you want to thrive as a home-business owner, or any kind of entrepreneur for that matter, being crystal clear about your 'Why' is an essential first step.
Why you need a Why
Starting your own business to pay the bills is a very practical idea, but it’s not what will motivate you to jump out of bed every morning, handle negativity and set the world alight!
Money and material things are outer goals - they indicate to the world that we are successful, they are the outcomes of a business that works, but they are rarely what drive us to act. For that, you need to determine your inner goals - your Why.
Working out what your inner goals and motivating factors are needs to be one of the first tasks of any new entrepreneur.
Not only will knowing your ‘Why’ help drive you, it will help you to clearly articulate your vision to others and attract the right people and opportunities into your business.
This is not a simple process, but asking yourself the following questions can help you determine your inner goals, passion and the reason why you want to be in business.
How to define your Why
1. What’s your passion?
Take a moment to think about what makes you come alive. You’ll know when you’re on the right track, as you’ll get that fire in your belly.
We’re not talking about creating a specific product or service here, but thinking more about a cause that we would like to support, or a difference we’d like to see in the world. What would you like people to remember you for?
2. What are your talents?
These are the things you’ve always been good at. This is often something that has always come so naturally to you, that you don’t really understand why others can’t do it.
One way to find your talents is to think about what people come to you for help with. Often the people around us are clearer about our talents than we are - so think about the kind of help requests you get from other people, is there a pattern there?
“Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurmon
3. Where do you add the greatest value?
An old boss once told me that people don’t come to work to do a mediocre job, they come to contribute value. It’s this adding of value that makes a task fulfilling; being able to apply our unique set of skills, knowledge and experience in a way that contributes to something bigger than ourselves gives us a great sense of accomplishment.
Do you know where you can add value to your chosen cause? What unique contribution can you make given your specific strengths and skills?
4. What does success and happiness mean to you?
It’s very important to understand your own personal values. Understanding what you believe, and what specific activities and outcomes make you feel happy on the inside, are to understanding what motivates you. In short, what do you stand for?
Once you are clear about your values, then create a business (and a life) that is in clear alignment with them. This will help you make decisions and actions that feel right and protect your sense of happiness and wellbeing. What matters most to you?
How to create your Why Statement
In his motivating TED talk about how leaders inspire action, Simon Sinek explains the power of knowing your Why and the difference it can make in your success. He encourages everyone to create a ‘Why Statement’ through which you can filter all of your decisions to ensure that each one is focused on bringing your cause to life.
A Why Statement is one sentence that captures everything we’ve already looked at. It outlines your contribution, the actionable part of your Why, and the impact of your contribution on the people you wish to serve.
For example for my business, this could be: To help women establish a successful home business so that they feel empowered to lead happy, balanced lives.
To create your own statement, fill the blanks:
To (add your contribution), so that (add your impact).
Creating this statement will help you to clearly share your vision and motivation, while also inspiring your partners, customers and yourself.
Putting your Why into Action
As I mentioned at the start, being clear about Why you are in business is an essential first step for every new business owner. but every first step needs to be followed by a second, then a third.
After defining your Why and creating your statement to clearly communicate this, all the subsequent steps you take along your entrepreneurial journey must be centred on your Why.
Staying true to your original purpose and keeping your Why alive will keep you and your business focused on having the impact you set out to have.
As your business and your success grows, it will be tempting to stray from your Why - but if you ever feel like your business is no longer having the traction it once had, if you are no longer fired-up for the day, and if those around you are no longer inspired, then it's a sign that you have lost sight of your why and you need to refocus.
Much like a relationship, keeping the fire alive takes consistent work. But the rewards are great: a thriving business, a loyal and inspired following and an unstoppable you!
So, why are you in business?
I'd love to hear your 'Why Statement' - share it in the Comments below.
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