Step back in time to ask yourself some challenging questions to help you refocus, get your purpose back on track and take your business forward.
Asking yourself ‘why does my business exist?’ can be the magic dust that transforms your organisation from where it is now to where you’ve always wanted it to be. Or, where it should be.
Odd question? Not really. Whether you set up one year ago or 20, as you go through your entrepreneurship and ownership journey, it’s probable that you’ve lost sight of why you went into business in the first place.
Work on your business, not in it
That’s understandable – as you entrench yourself in daily operations, it’s very easy to slip into a pattern of working in your business rather than on it. If you’re struggling, then the chances are you’ve lost sight of your origin story. In other words, ‘what’s my why?’.
A business without a ‘why’ is like a leader without a purpose. So, if you can find or rediscover your story, you can find the spark that ignited your initial business concept.
Tackle some questions. Why did I begin a business? What inspired my business idea? What problem did I want to solve, and what’s my business’s purpose? Why am I doing this? What do others think of me?
Rediscover your ‘why’?
Why not grab a pen and a notebook or type down some of the answers you’re looking for. Do your answers differ from when you first began? If so, this may be the reason that your business isn’t going in the direction you want. Maybe somewhere along the way you lost sight of your original intentions.
Ask trusted advisors, mentors and colleagues for help. You may be surprised at the results – and with those results, you have a ready-made framework for improvement.
‘I’ve enjoyed seeing so many businesses stop and reflect about the ‘why’ – reminding themselves why they got into business in the first place, dusting off the original business plans they wrote when they were initially starting out, and reigniting that passion and purpose,’ says Icehouse coach Kim Hill.
Having a reset and a restock can help you come back to your why. ‘That extends to unlocking a solid understanding of what your business stands for, what your competitive advantage and purpose is, and an articulation of where you want to take the business’ explains Deb Shepherd, Icehouse facilitator, advisor, director and owner.
‘This isn’t necessarily in terms of having a clearly-defined exit strategy or succession plan, but more a sense of ‘why are you doing this?’, ‘what does success look like?’ and ‘how you can adapt and change to meet the current challenges’.’
Find your new sense of purpose
Setting your ‘why’ shouldn’t be confused with goal-setting – a company's clearly-defined and specific and quantifiable end-achievements for management and employees to work towards. Generating 5% more leads in Q1 is a goal rather than a why or a purpose.
So finding your why can give you a new sense of purpose – a chance to analyse your overarching strengths and weaknesses, what others perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses, what you do better than the competition, and not so well.
Why did you start a business? Is it to create profits? Be your own boss? Supporting an advocacy? Provide a community with a livelihood? To get the lifestyle you want?
If we understand why we do what we do, we can decide what to do next and when to do it. The current business climate demands it – and, if you are struggling, then you owe it to yourself to rediscover your ‘why’.
For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.
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