That All Important 'WHY?' Question

When we look back on the day when we owners started up our small business ventures, undoubtedly there would have been a number of clear cut reasons as to WHY we decided to switch from our 'ho-hum' comfort zone and make this new and exciting journey. However ambitious, brave and even a little scary that journey may have first appeared, the all important WHY question was probably the driving force. As we continue on the journey, it's always a good idea to reflect on that original WHY and to ask ourselves whether it is still the same today. Chances are it is not because things change…don’t they? So asking this question regularly is a sound commercial discipline.

The French have a great way of illustrating this with the term, 'raison d'etre'. As small business owners, our raison d'etre is all about our purpose and WHY we do what we do. In French, raison d'etre literally means "reason for being," and in English it means about the same. Someone's raison d'etre is the most important thing to them: Michael Jordan's raison d'etre was basketball. We should always reflect on our raison d'etre or WHY, and how that may have changed or may be just about to!

A simple way we small business owners can address this is by making a list on one side of a piece of A4 of all the WHY's (or one if there's only one) that make up our raison d'etre. Next go to this link, courtesy of Success Harbor. From their list of the 50 reasons 'Why businesses fail while others succeed', put alongside your list of 'WHY's' the reasons, positive or negative, that could impact your business.

Turning to a more broader perspective, when we look at the main precursors to the questions we need answered in business, namely, How? Why? Which, When? What? etc., it's probably fair to say that the WHY is the most powerful. The reason is that the answer to the first WHY may not be the final answer. Think of a conversation like this:

A: 'Why are you starting a small business?'
B: Because I can make more money than being an employee in the same trade.

A: Why would that be?
B: Because I can fix my own charges for services and control my costs effectively.

A: Why would you want to do that?
B: So I can compete effectively , win new customers and watch my business and profits grow.

It may seem a bit over-simplistic but, in this drill-down example, just by continually probing the WHY, we go the full circle and end up having answered that first question. Buoyed by this confirmation that we are beginning on the right track, we are now poised for the next steps, namely to build our strategic plan, determine revenue expectations, project costs, create a marketing plan, build in assumptions and risks etc. WHY?

...Because we believe we are going to succeed as a small business owner and make a massive difference!

Ted Beecher
BLA Director