Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. If you haven’t read his book, you may have seen his TED Talk from 2009. While I could make this post a rave about how much I agree with literally everything Sinek says, I’ll shorten my review to say, #1 if you haven’t read his book, you should, and #2 his message is how you should approach everything you do in your business.
The main premise of Sinek’s book is this: “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” This concept changes how a business communicates with its clients or customers. It alters how a business thinks about marketing and the products or services it sells. It revolutionizes how a business (and the people within) thinks of itself.
A business owner must always keep profits in mind. But “making a profit” is hardly the only reason a business exists. Businesses exist to serve their customers and clients, to solve their problems or fulfill their needs. The way in which a business describes itself, however, can determine how well those customers and clients respond and whether or not they will buy.
How do you describe your business? If you form your answer with Sinek’s Golden Circle concept in mind, you’ll start within and work your way out; you’ll start with WHY before you consider HOW and WHAT.
The WHY of a business, according to Sinek, is “a purpose, cause, or belief that has nothing to do with WHAT [a business does].” For businesses that start with WHY, their reason for doing what they do would exist regardless of HOW they made it happen and WHAT the results of their efforts were.
The WHY behind Little Leaf Copy Editing, for instance, is my simple belief that writing matters, that how well we write gives others a first impression (and sometimes the only impression) of our skill, intellect, and credibility. The services I offer, my WHAT, are merely proof of my WHY, and my HOW appears in the ways I actualize my WHY, in making my services accessible, personalized, and relevant so that you can establish a notable first impression through the written word. If I were to describe what I do first and then get to the why, would my message mean as much? Likely not.
Whether you own a business or work for one, do you know what your business’s WHY is? How do you make your WHY apparent to your clients or customers? Share your thoughts in the comments so we can all discover why you do what you do!