Start with Why
Not long ago I went through some leadership training. A friend and business mentor Danny (he owns Absolute Vinyl Fencing) gave a talk about something he found incredibly impactful and incredibly beneficial to his business. He discovered his “Why”.
The idea is simple, and yet many businesses and professionals are out there without truly utilizing their why. But if you want to truly be influential and to truly have people follow your lead, then you need to discover your why.
You cannot force someone to follow you; they have to choose to follow you.
But why should they?
– Simon Sinek
What, How, and Why?
Every business has three areas in which they deal. They have something that they do. For me and my business Sery Content Development, we help businesses get found online. We enhance their online image, help improve search engine ranks, and manage social media. For J&J Construction, their what is roofing, construction, and remodeling. For iDoctor, they fix computers, phones, and tablets. The what is easy to determine, and tons of other businesses do the exact same thing.
The how varies a little bit more. The how is still easy to describe, and to lay out. For instance, Sery Content Development’s how is that we write content based on what the customer wants to hear. We provide high quality, uniquely written content to be used as content marketing pieces. We manage social media and build ads around that content. It’s something that is desperately needed (especially in Billings), a market that is relatively untapped, and something business owners don’t have time to do themselves. Over at Big Sky Collision Center, they fix cars by going through a list of what needs to be repaired after a wreck.
The what and the how can be replicate by any one of your competitors. The what and the how aren’t unique to your business, and for the most part clients and customers don’t really care.
Your why is what separates you from your competition. Your why is the driving force behind your business, and the reason that you do what you do. This takes a bit more digging to determine, but it’s something that no other company can copy or take away from you.
Discovering Your Why
If someone were to ask you, “Why are you in the business you’re in?” Your response may be, “Well, everyone needs a job.” But having a job is all about earning money. Making money isn’t your why, that’s a result, a side effect. Your why is much deeper than that.
Your why is your driving force. If the only reason you are in business is to make money, then there’s a good chance you are miserable. Every day is a struggle. Because making money isn’t a good driving force.
After hearing Danny talk, and watching Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start with Why, I took out a piece of paper and made 3 columns. I wrote my what, my how, and my why. As described above it’s easy to determine your what and how. The why took a little thought. My why was the joy I saw when someone else ranked well in Google. My why was because I felt accomplished when someone else’s site got a lot of traffic. My why was when clients told me, “You made me sound really smart!”
My why is that I THRIVE when I get to help small businesses succeed.
In the video (embedded below) Simon talks about how to Start with Why. He draws 3 concentric circles (see graphic above), and shows that the why is the most important part, but it’s also the part people don’t push. They try to make sales by telling what and how, but they ignore the why.
I don’t really like the concentric circles image, because it doesn’t fully capture the importance of the why. Instead, think of it as a pyramid. Your what is at the top; anyone can do your what. The how is next; there are many ways to complete the how (some legal, some illegal; some moral, some immoral). The foundation, the driving force behind your business, is at the bottom. The why supports everything else. Without your why, the rest of the business collapses on itself because you lose business to someone that offers a little bit better product, at a little bit better price.
Take the Time to Discover Your Why
Your why is important.
Your why is what will make or break your business.
Your why is what your prospects and clients are buying from you (and the reason they don’t buy from someone else).
Have you discovered your why?