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Do you focus on the ‘why’ of your business?

In the political sphere we talk about wanting to know what politicians ‘stand for’, by which we mean why they are in politics and their values and beliefs. While agreeing with their ’10 point plan’ is also important if we identify with their values and beliefs they will be much more likely to get our votes. It is this recognition of others as being like ourselves, with the same goals and aspirations, that inspires us to be associated with and led by them.

It is no different in business.Therefore, while describing features and benefits of your offering (the ‘what’) and how you are organized to deliver your product or service is necessary it should not be your starting point. Start instead by communicating what you stand for and through this positioning define your market segment. This focus on ‘why’ you are in the business will establish common ground and have a natural appeal to those who are similarly inspired. This is your ‘niche’ and source of competitive advantage versus those who have an undifferentiated approach.

The most loyal business relationships will have a ‘shared passion’ at their core, which drives the pursuit of excellence. For example – wine buffs will tend to shop with specialist wine merchants rather than buy similar products cheaper in supermarkets.

Entrepreneurs starting out in business are passionate about their product or service offering. It is this infectious passion that inspires and attracts investors, customers, employees in the early days of the business. However, as a business matures it is all too easy for founders to lose sight of why they started the business in the first place, as practical considerations such as the perceived need to expand, achieve return on investment targets, increase profits etc assume greater importance. These need to be the consequence of doing the ‘right thing’ rather than the driver of activities.

If you are struggling to articulate the ‘why’ of your business or feel it is in need of redefinition, I suggest that you engage the services of a coach to facilitate a conversation that you need to have with yourself or your management team.

By inference if you no longer have a passion for what you do maybe it is time to try something new !

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