How to Find Your Why in Business
To define your business vision, you must first start with your personal why. This goes beyond “I want to sell something or serve someone” and instead drills down to why you want to do this. What will you gain or what goal will you meet when it succeeds? The answer might surprise you and is wholly unique to you. This article will walk you through the steps in discovering your why and developing your vision.
A Better Way to Figure Out Your Business Vision
Let’s first talk about the importance of creating a vision for your business. We hear all the time from business experts that we must create a vision but they rarely tell you how to do that! So many people just start to think about what their business is going to do: they’re going to sell this particular product or have this particular service; their business is going to help people change their mindset or it's going to serve this particular kind of customer. This usually turns into a logistics exercise of developing your ideal customer, sourcing your product, or getting the tech in place.
The vision quickly morphs into the what and how and it doesn’t take long to get swept away in those details and lose sight of why you’re really doing this. But there is a better way to look at this. In order to have real vision, it has to start not from what you wanted to do and not just with the person you want to serve but it has to do with why you want to do this in the first place.
Business is not always easy. In fact, the one guarantee of being a woman entrepreneur is your business will always have challenges. It can truly feel like a roller coaster ride – within one day you can go up and go down and up again. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re just waiting for the next down! So, when it goes down, you need to have a really strong reason why you're doing this. You need a reminder so you can deal with all the ups and downs. You need to be able to return to your why when the difficult situations arrive.
How to Find Your Why (and Why It’s Unique to You)
Your why is as individual and unique as you are. There is no right or wrong answer, maybe there is more than one why, and it may take you some time and effort to get to it. But once you’ve got it, you’ll know. Start by asking why are you doing this? And be honest with yourself, no one else has to ever see it. In other blogs, I’ve talked about obstacles women face in authenticity in business and in truly discovering their true selves. And those lessons apply here. Is it because you want to buy those kind of shoes and not have anyone ever tell you what kind or how much they have to be? Is it because you really want to create a charity in the world? Is it because you want to feel a sense of empowerment? Is it because you want to feel independent and you don't want anybody to control your life or tell you what you can or can’t do?
How to Turn Your Why into Your Business Vision
Once you’ve defined your why, you will know what’s truly important to you. Once you have your why, you’ll understand deeper issues such as: that freedom is the most important to you; that independence is the most important to you; that having a huge amount of money in the bank is what's most important to you; or that leaving a legacy is your why. Again, there is no right answer! This why becomes your vision which then becomes the fuel that moves you to what you want to do. And from there you can develop your business vision. Your why is what your true vision really is.
Homework: Brainstorm Exercise to Find Your Why
This exercise takes the classic “vision board” and breaks it down so you can identify what’s most important to you.
- 1Brain dump. Write every why down (put each one on a sticky note) – what will business success allow you to achieve? Include everything from financial freedom to philanthropic opportunities to legacy building to buying those shoes!
- 2Organize. Arrange them in order from most important to least important (number them in pencil – you’ll see why later). Some may go together so group them into categories, if appropriate.
- 3Let it simmer. Step away from your board for at least 24 hours. You will think about it a lot while you’re away and your brain will pick a winner before you realize it. If you can, spend some time in nature, moving your body, doing non-business things.
- 4Review and refine. When you come back, follow your instincts, rearrange your sticky notes and renumber them (if needed). What is your immediate reaction? Listen to your inner voice. Is there one you keep coming back to? Are there ones you keep trying to talk yourself out of it? Do you have more to add? Make adjustments, step away again (if you need) or boldly pick the one or two that speaks to you.
Live it. Can you write this into a broader vision or mission statement? Can you refine it even further and put a deadline on it? Find ways to put this why into action. Write it out and post it where you’ll see it every day. Share with a close friend (if you’re comfortable with it). Repeat it to yourself every morning. Incorporate into your business process. This is a living, breathing thing – nurture it, feed it, protect it and soon your vision and why will be embedded in everything you do.
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Who is Leslie Kuster?
I became a 7-figure woman entrepreneur in my 50s -- with my successful Back From Bali clothing brand! It took some getting real with myself to finally say, “Damn it, I want money!” Now I am here to ignite women entrepreneurs -- like you -- to experience the empowerment, independence and joy of creating a business that brings you both money and freedom. Read more about my story here.