Discovering Your ‘Why’

In a now famous and often quoted TED Talk, Simon Sinek talks about the fact that people buy from you and use your service not because of what you do, but because of why you do it. The talk is amazing, and has inspired many companies and businesses to rethink their approach to marketing.

Do you understand ‘why’ you wake up and go to work every day? What drives you to succeed? Just because we understand the concept does not mean we fully understand how to get there. If we don’t know why we do what we do, we need to dig in and figure it out. We cannot attract customers to our why unless we know what it is.

The Reason You Started

Most of the time, you did not start a business simply because it was a way to make money. Perhaps you had a passion for a great cup of coffee or improving the environment in people’s homes by making sure they are clean and comfortable. Just because you own a coffee shop or a housecleaning business does not mean your why is any less valid than anyone else’s.

Sinek uses the example of Apple. Their why is changing the status quo and thinking differently. The way they do that is to make beautifully designed, innovative devices that are easy to use. This makes it easy for us to buy nearly anything Apple makes, from the computers they started with to phones, mp3 players, tablets, and even watches.

The reason you started leaves you open to new avenues and incredible growth. For instance, if Starbucks started with the idea of making a great cup of coffee, then that easily translates to making coffee makers for home use so customers can get the same great experience at home. Selling their coffee beans, grinders, and other tools makes customers even more loyal.

What is the reason you started your company in the first place? What is the passion that drove you to do what you do?

The Reason You Keep Going

When you own your own business, you often find that your reason, or your vision if you will, changes over time. Your initial why for getting into something may have changed as you learned more about your industry. Jeff Bezos may have started out with the idea of offering affordable books to people all over the world by selling them on the internet, but that vision has clearly changed to include many other things.

The original why may have been about books, but it has evolved to mean offering people all over the world affordable goods they can order from home and get delivered quickly and hassle free.

Facebook was founded with the idea of connecting people and changing lives. It does just that, and that is the reason we all use it. Of course, the how is that they fund the service through advertising, but we would never use a social media site that told us their why was to sell us something.

Google’s why is to present users with the best and most helpful search results for nearly anything they are looking for. Of course, this service too is funded by ad revenue, but that is the how, and one we often don’t think about.

From these examples, you can see that your reason to keep going and keep doing what you do may have evolved over time. As this why evolves, you can use it to better market what you do.

Your Vision for the Future

Where you have been certainly does not define who you will be. Look again at the examples of Apple and Amazon. Apple started out making computers, and now they make all kinds of amazing devices, things we use every day.

The company has revolutionized music streaming and even had a big role to play in the creation and distribution of eBooks, some of which inspired Amazon’s policies later on.

Amazon grew from a company who sold books to one that has disrupted not only the publishing industry, but retail in general. There is actually a business term named after them called the Amazon Effect. Because of their innovations in many areas, other companies are struggling to catch up or keep up.

A company called Square Ship has the vision to create exposure and discoverability for brands who struggle to get noticed. They do this through creating great video marketing content for businesses in the travel industry. Their vision is not to create video content, that is what they do. The vision is to create something that did not previously exist, and leaves them open to many other things they could do.

Why you do what you do may evolve in the future. The reason Apple’s why works so well is that it is intentionally broad from the beginning. “We like to challenge the status quo, and think differently.” This leaves a tremendous amount of room for development and expansion into almost any area.

Before you can use your why effectively, you have to determine what your why is. This means you have to dive deeply into the reasons you started your company in the first place, the reason you keep going, and your vision for the future.

People buy from you because of why, not what. Get in touch with that, and amazing things will happen.

What pushes you to pursue your dreams? When did you find your ‘why’? Share your story in the comments.

Like what you read? Give Victoria Howes a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.