February 12, 2022

Why is it important to know why you are in business? why is it important to know your why

By Veronica Jeans, Shopify Queen & Bestselling Author
Do you know why you are in business - Veronica Jeans Shopify Queen and Bestselling Author

Frequently you will hear entrepreneurs say that they started their business because they wanted more freedom, more money, or more influence.

Most small business owners start their business because they've identified a market opportunity, or because they are passionate about a product or service. However, not many have a clearly defined vision of their business.

An old saying goes "if you don't know where you're going, how do you know when you have arrived?"

The Why - having a purpose, cause, or belief - is the most powerful way to inspire people and move them to action. It's also something that can be hard to define for a lot of business owners.

Knowing why your business is in existence makes every decision easier. And if it's good enough, it'll help your business stand out from the crowd as well.

So, first, let’s have a look at the difference between goals and a vision. 

If you are in business to make a profit, that is your goal.

If you are in business because you want to do something specific with your life, that is your vision or your mission.

Your goals are short-term, they give you something to work towards and they help you measure your progress.

Your vision is different. Your vision is longer-term because it is what drives you. Your vision is what will carry you through the hard times, when sales are down, when clients are not paying on time or even at all, when there is nothing in your bank account, when members of your team leave to go elsewhere - because that does happen!

We all go through hard times. So many people think starting a business is glamorous, but it’s not always like that. There are so many things that go wrong and it can be really tough sometimes. But if you know your why – your purpose, then everything else falls into place.

Know Your WHY!

You have to know your WHY - why are you in business, what is the purpose of your business, why are you doing this?

Before you can decide what your goals are, it is important you understand why you are in business.

You need to know what your purpose is; why you got into the business, what your vision is, where you see yourself and your business in the future.

If you do not define your why, then your goals may be short-term and when times get tough, as they inevitably will, then it will be hard for you to keep moving forward. Your vision will help carry you through the hard times because it is so important for your long-term success.

Most of the points mentioned can be solved by answering the WHY! And it starts with a your vision statement. I will quote Simon Sinek who makes you really think about your why and why you need it.

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it,” Sinek explains in the book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”,

Your vision plays an extremely pivotal part in your strategic planning process -- or at least it should. Without a sense of purpose and direction, it’s nearly impossible to thoughtfully prepare for the future, let alone determine what campaigns you should be running each month.

Veronica Jeans by the sea - Veronica Jeans Shopify Queen & Bestselling Author & SEO Specialist

Your vision statement should be inspirational enough for you and your team to find purpose in, but also direct enough to serve as a filter for making important business decisions. Additionally, your mission statement should encapsulate the product or service you deliver, the audience you deliver it to, and the problem it solves.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…they buy your story.

Starbucks Coffee's corporate vision is “to establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”

IKEA - “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

Patagonia - “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

If they believe in your ‘why’ they will become your best ambassadors - HerTribeAthletics.com owner, Meg Staples is growing her business by wowing her ambassadors and they are growing her business.

The owner of NaughtyGoodBites.com, Lindsay Taylor has this on her website: "Regardless of how we each grew up, or the women we have become today, we are all joined together as dreamers. Women dreaming of creating our most intentional lives, of making an impact, and of setting an example for the little girls to follow. Here, at NaughtyGood, I strive to do just that. I dream of a room full of women who are empowering, celebrating, and honoring each other. I believe that greater things can happen if we continue to stand together, laugh together, cry together… and eat chocolate together!!!.” This is powerful and would you not buy chocolates from her?

This is part of your slogan!

I like this idea I read somewhere - imagine you are pitching to Shark Tank who have no patience for BS.

Summarize and aim for impact - keep it simple.

If you do not define your why, then your goals may be short-term and when times get tough, as they inevitably will, then it will be hard for you to keep moving forward. Your vision will help carry you through the hard times because it is so important for long-term success.

If you know your WHY – great! But sometimes our whys change. They are fluid and move as we do. So allow yourself to check in with yourself every so often. Ask yourself: Is my why still my why?

If you don’t know your WHY, then take some time out of your busy schedule to consider it. Remember, this is about what motivates you at a very deep level.

So don’t be surprised if it takes some time for you to formulate your answer. Once you have done that, write it down and make sure it is visible somewhere in your workspace so that every day when you come into contact with it, it will remind you of what drives you

How to find your WHY!

Write down your WHY, the deep-seated reason that you started your business.

Make sure it has these components:

1) It has to be inspiring;

2) It can't be selfish;

3) It can't be against someone or something;

4) It should be constructive and not self-destructive;

5) It has to be workable in reality;

6) It shouldn't just be an idea but something that will carry you through the difficult times;

7) It should make you feel happy when you think about it.

Next we start working on your mission statement - the WHAT, WHO and HOW!

What is the difference between a vision and mission statement?

The vision statement is what you want for the future of your business.

The mission statement is focuses on today and what your business does.

Your mission statement can serve as a roadmap of strategic planning to work toward the company’s vision statement.

Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.’

IKEA’s mission: “to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them”.

Why do we need a mission statement?

A mission statement explains your company’s values and purpose. A strong mission statement is brief (about two to three sentences) that explains what the company does, how it does it, and, sometimes, why.  And it will also accomplish your vision.

Your mission statement will direct your strategy and focus, and goals. 

Your mission statement will look like this:

What do we do?…your products

Who do we do it?…your customers

How do we serve them?…how are you going to stand out and do it

Here is an example of the ‘How’ do you do what you do:

Naughty Good Bites: “I will deliver each package in less than 12 hours, partner only with local artisans and small business shops, and commit to all recycled materials for packaging.”

People tend to now spend time answering this question, and thinking about the ‘how’ at this stage of your strategy will make it much easier to create content and connect to what your customers need.

Here is an example of the ‘What’ you do for your customers?

“Chocolate boxes that spread love and include locally-sourced, high-quality items made within the community.” 

Your vision is what drives you. Your vision is what will carry you through the hard times, when sales are down, when clients are not paying on time or even at all, when there is nothing in your bank account, when members of your team leave to go elsewhere, your vision will keep you going.

We all go through hard times. So many people think starting a business is glamorous, but it’s not always like that. There are so many things that go wrong and it can be really tough sometimes. But if you know your why – your purpose, then everything else falls into place.

Your mission is your roadmap. Your mission will help you focus on what you need to work on, and how you will deliver maximum value and impact.

 

Steps to get to your WHY!

1. Determining your WHY

2. Why is it important?

3. Define your purpose.

4. Write it down.

5. Make it motivating.

6. Share it with everyone.

7. Create other versions of your why.

8. Make it actionable.

9. Make it inspirational.

Takeaway: If you don't know why you are in business, you won't last long and it won't be fun.