Chapter 2 – Creating a Business You Love
Thinking about your ‘why’.
After defining what success looks like, the next point that should not be missed is your ‘why’.
Consider the reasons why you thought about running your own business in the first place aside from making more money.
It may be that you are fed up with your 9-5 job in a corporate world, struggling to juggle school runs between commuting or simply exhausted from too much work and no play, you are thinking… being your own boss is the answer.
But it is a big mistake to think that wanting to run your own business simply because you want a change from your current situation or because you think you have a brilliant idea to make money is enough to make your business a success.
There are many reasons why an individual decides to start their own business apart from wanting more money. Whether it is about having flexibility, being in control of your destination or following your own passion, it is necessary to consider your vision and purpose at the core of your business as well as the values you will be providing to your customers.
Most business owners have not worked out exactly how to build a business that fits around a lifestyle they want while staying true to their purpose and vision for the business, and this is also true for sole entrepreneurs.
When thinking about what type of business to start, it is tempting to put profitability first regardless of how it affects other aspects of your life or your core values. But if you lose focus on these, you run the risk of creating a life that resembles the life you have wanted to move away from! The values you will be providing to customers must be in line with your ethos.
For example, if you believe that you should be available for your family at weekends and evenings, you will avoid starting a business that will regularly need you to be around at weekends and evenings, such as hospitality trades. Likewise, if you believe there is too much plastic waste in the world, you will not be producing products and packaging that go against your belief.
Your ‘why’ needs to extend beyond your ‘wants’. You need to think beyond making money in order to have a full understanding of your true ‘why’. It could be your mission or purpose in this life. You could call it a calling. There is something you know you have to do to change the lives of people you intend to serve. You also know you do not need to sacrifice your life in order to achieve this. Success and money will follow when your business is in line with your core beliefs and values.
If you think your reason for starting a business is just to make more money or being rich, you are at the risk of being a victim to many offerings in the market that promise you to be rich by following the steps of other successful entrepreneurs, which usually involve buying their expensive mentorship programs.
95% of people who buy such programs do not turn their life around, simply because they focused on the idea of how to make money while their passion or mission was left behind.
By defining why you want to be in business for, you will set your north star which will always remind you of it through ups and downs of entrepreneurship to fulfil your mission and purpose.
You will find your own core values in areas you feel strongly about.
Recently, I watched an international rugby player talk about his plans this year. Instead of talking about winning a match or tournament, he said something like, ‘I would like people to continue to enjoy watching rugby and inspire youth to take up the sport because I believe it is my mission’.
Find your ‘why’ beyond your immediate wins and personal success.
Consider your ‘why’ for running your own business beyond your self-interest. Answer each question by writing them down.
1) Think about the cause or topic you feel passionate about and you want to change or improve in society, business or the world. What are your own mission and purpose?
2) When it is time for you to die, what do you want to be known and remembered for by the people you leave behind? For example; as a person who owned 10 sports cars or a person who built 10 schools in deprived areas.
3) What are the most important elements of your life that you consider as a priority aside from making money?
4) How in practice will you run your business to fit around your priorities rather than the other way around? For example; you want your business to be based at home or you only work certain hours a day.
You are not alone if you have never sat down and thought about our life’s purpose.
There are many people who start their own business without thinking about ‘why’.
Henry Ford believed cars could be affordable for many people. Mark Zuckerberg believed connecting with people and knowing what they are getting up to could be easy. James Dyson believed the suction of a vacuum cleaner could be more efficient. Marie Stopes believed people could decide how many and when to have children and opened the first birth control clinic in the UK.