Why do we care about ‘Why’?
It’s actually interesting that many people don’t know what their why, or essentially their purpose, is with their business or even in their lives. Many business owners are great at communicating the where, what and how – such as what their product is or where to buy it but can often leave out the why of their business. The same is true from a personal perspective, you might know what to do in your business and how to do it, but do you know why you’re doing it? Many people can fail to consider this. Why is that? Well your why can be a tricky one to define. But when you are tapped into your why (or similarly your purpose or vision) with your business you not only increase your own motivation and sense of fulfillment, but when you can communicate your why to others you can also significantly increase your customer or client buy in and get them resonating more deeply with your brand.
Knowing your why in business becomes even more important when you begin to hire employees and build your team. How can you expect your employees to follow your lead if they don’t have a clear understanding of why they’re showing up to your office, why they’re investing their time and effort into your business each day, why they should commit themselves to remaining loyal to your brand. It’s one thing to tell an employee ‘we sell accounting packages and they have A B & C features and X Y & Z integrations’ vs ‘we sell accounting packages that provide our clients with software solutions that automate the majority of their accounting needs to that they can spend more time working on growing their business and using that increase time and revenue to better serve their customers/clients’. The why in this case becomes about making life easier for business owners and allowing them to continue their growth and serving the world, so the employee can then resonate with that message that I am turning up to this workplace because I’m helping other business owners to enhance their business and serve their customers/clients more efficiently and effectively.”
Have a think about a job that you may have worked at in the past. Were you clear on the why of the organisation? Was there a sense amongst your colleagues of why you were all showing up and putting in 8 hour days – income aside. If you don’t think there was that sense of why, then you may have felt unfulfilled or dissatisfied with that workplace. Even if you did have an understanding of the why of the business, perhaps it wasn’t a why that resonated with your values or your morals and that is why many people are often called to more fulfilling roles or businesses. When you’re clear on your why and your purpose, it provides a stronger foundation for you to make decisions or take certain actions that are in alignment with your why. It helps you to filter out information, requests, offers, solutions and more based on what best aligns with your why.
So the first step to finding your why is to ask yourself the big question. WHY? Why are you choosing to get up each day and invest your time, energy and money into this business idea, side hustle, business, whatever it is (and you can apply these same principles for things you do in life outside of business as well if you don’t have your own business). What is the underlying purpose that is propelling you forward with your endeavours. I find it easier to do this in two parts. The first part is under the heading ‘External Why’ and the second part is under ‘Internal Why’. I’ve also got a free worksheet that I’ve developed for this episode which you can download and fill in, so I’ll have the link to that in the show notes for you and it will step you through what I’m covering.
So the External Why heading is looking at the why behind what you or your business does external to yourself and your personal life. So the impact that your offering has on people, on the world, on society and so on.
Start out writing a list of whatever comes to mind. All of the reasons that you believe your business is making a difference to the lives of your customers/clients or society or the planet and so on. So an example of an external why for Wellbeing Weekly is that I provide female entrepreneurs with mindset & wellbeing information, tools & strategies so that they can improve their business mindset, work/life balance and generate more growth, revenue & flexibility in their business. So that is a why that propels me forward, knowing that each piece of content that I produce, each social media post, each idea that I have is in line with that why and is continuing to add value to that why statement. I’m not developing content about the ocean levels in America, because that is not in line with my why and my purpose and doesn’t add value to my audience. Try to think of how your business makes a contribution over a variety of areas such as how it may benefit someone financially, emotionally, physically, socially and so on – so that you can really dig deep on as many reasons why your business does what it does.
Next its time to move on to your Internal Why and this is all on the worksheet which you can access by clicking on the links in this post. Your internal why is often overlooked in business advice. There’s a huge focus on your external whys and how your product or service benefits everyone ELSE, but what about how it benefits YOU. If you’re the one getting out of bed every morning and putting your time, energy and money into this idea or business then you need to be able to connect with your own sense of why as well. It’s one thing to align with your external why – so it might bring you great motivation and pride knowing that your offering is making a difference to other people’s lives – however it may not necessarily be having that impact on YOUR life. You might actually be quite stressed or overwhelmed or challenged with what you’re putting out into the world – so it’s important to know why you’re getting out of bed each day from your own personal perspective.
Perhaps, it’s to achieve financial freedom so that you can support your family into the future, or it’s to provide you with an opportunity to work and travel at the same time, or it’s to be able to generate enough income to leave your 9-5 job, or its to generate enough profit to donate to a particular charity or support a family member with their living situation or illness. There are so many potential Internal Why statements that don’t necessarily relate to the impact that you’re having on clients/customers, but it may have a profound impact on you and your life.
So again an example of an internal WHY for Wellbeing Weekly is to create a profitable, sustainable online business so that I can work from home while spending time with my family and providing for them. I’m hoping to start a family in the next few years and I would love to be able to work from home on a business that comes from my heart while also caring for my family and that is a personal motivation for me that combines with my EXTERNAL whys to continue to build this platform.
So write down all of the reasons that your business or idea or whatever it is that you’re focusing on, is fulfilling you personally or other loved ones in your life. Your Internal why is really just for your own personal knowledge, not so much to be used in your business content or marketing material as it’s really not relevant to anyone other than you. I’ve given you the example of mine just for some context, but I would focus on using only my external WHY in any business content or marketing.
Coming up with your Why statement
Next you’re going to come up with your why statement and I recommend coming up with an external why statement and an internal why statement because I believe that they are both important and fuel motivation, passion and fulfillment in different ways.
So when you’re looking at developing a why statement you want it to be clear and in language that resonates with you and makes sense based on your business industry and audience. You also want to include language that is actionable and practical so that you can actually make decisions, steps and actions that are in line with your why and embody it. So take a look at your two lists of reasons or benefits and see if there are any themes showing up. Perhaps you can highlight them with different colours for each main theme – so you might find that you’ve listed a number of financial benefits for your customers/clients under your external WHY and that is the prominent theme. It might then be that your main WHY statement circles around the financial contribution and impact that your offering provides for your audience. Also consider your niche in your WHY statement. If you are specifically targeting your content towards a specific demographic or audience, like I am with female entrepreneurs, then you want to be specific with that rather than just using a world like people. So the structure of your sentence will read something like
To provide ______ so that _______
And the first blank is looking at what you’re actually providing and who you’re providing it to. What is your product or service or offering. So you heard in mine that its to provide female entrepreneurs with mindset & wellbeing information, tools & strategies. You could also include your contribution here if it resonates more for you – so mine could look more like to provide female entrepreneurs with the tools and strategies to transform their mindset and business – so I’m focusing more on the contribution to my audience rather than the specific service or product I provide. You can play around with that a little bit yourself and see what resonates best with you. The next blank is looking at the outcome for your audience or the possible impact that the first section will have. So again using my example it was the part of ‘so that they can improve their business mindset, work/life balance and generate more growth, revenue & flexibility in their business’ I’m outlining the outcomes that I want my audience to have when they consume my content or the impact and transformation that it will have on their lives.
Another example of statements could be for a wedding photographer:
I provide married couples with quality wedding photography so that their love is captured in time and they have an everlasting memory of their special day. So you can see this covers the contribution or provision which is quality wedding photography to married couples and then the outcome or impact – so that they can have an everlasting memory of their love and wedding day.
This sentence structure remains the same for your internal why as well. So you want to look at what your business is providing you or your loved ones PERSONALLY or what it’s contributing to your life in a positive way – such as to provide me with a creative, heart centred outlet – and then what the outcome or impact that your business achieves for you – such as freedom to earn a passive income and provide for my family or opportunity to purchase my dream home.
So then the full why statement looks something like to provide me with a creative, heard centred outlet so that I can have the freedom to earn a passive income and provide for my family
So have a bit of a play with different combinations and see what works for you. You then want to look at how you can use your external WHY statement to highlight your message to your audience. And I said EXTERNAL why statement here – because you only want to be highlighting a why statement that is also going to resonate with your audience and your Internal WHY statement doesn’t serve that purpose and is for your own private use.
So by using your external why statement in your marketing or content, you show your audience the purpose behind your business and why you’re doing what you do FOR them or FOR the environment or whatever it is. So for example if my audience was to read my why statement, they will understand that I am being driven by my passion to provide them with information and tools and courses and so on that will help to improve their mindset, improve their business and then generate outcomes for them like increased business growth, leading to increased revenue and more flexibility to have down time or time with their families or friends.
By explaining the bigger picture of your product or service, beyond just features, creates more of a sense of community or a movement and makes your audience feel like you get them and that your motives and values and in the right place to better serve them and make an impact in their lives. So think about how you can integrate your WHY into your content while also showing your customers or clients why your service or product is something they need – why would it be useful for them, why would they need it to achieve a particular transformation, why would it address a pain point they have, why would they pick your offering over a competitors, why is your offering different. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of stories. If you can find a way to tell your audience the reasons you started your business or how your business is impacting others and then how it can also do the same for them, they will be able to connect with the authenticity of your brand and see the value of your offering for them.
I trust that this will support you in finding your why and developing your why statements. Perhaps you can pin them up in your office or have them handy in your phone notes so that you can turn to them when you need some encouragement or a reminder of why you’re doing the amazing work that you’re doing.