The concept of cementing your business’s why is widely popular and a real buzz word at the moment. I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek and I believe, from a business perspective, knowing your why is extremely important as an essential premise in terms of your key messaging and marketing. But what about us small business owners? Do we need to be in business for a purpose? Should we have some underlying, deep, driving factor behind why we got into business?
I was sitting down with a colleague who also runs a small business and chatting about our work lives and why we got into this in the first place. We know many people that got into business with a strong goal of building something quickly, selling, and making a lot of money. Neither of us has ever had that ambition. I often label myself an ‘accidental businessman’. If you had asked me 12 years ago if I would be managing a team of 10+ and an international portfolio of clients, I would have probably laughed (and said something stupid). But here I am. My career in digital marketing and design began out of frustration. The frustration that I was not fulfilling my full potential as a human being and more importantly, not controlling my own destiny. I did not have lofty aspirations of creating ‘human-centred design’ or changing the face of the web. I just wanted to call my own shots.
As each year has gone by, my goal posts have shifted, but honestly, I have not spent much time at all thinking about the deeper why. Each step along the way, as you grow your business, requires different thought processes and different skills. Initially, it was learning how to code websites, it was learning how to use accounting software, it was learning how to deal with clients, learning how to manage a schedule (Emily might argue that I still don’t have that down!). Every year, those new skills and techniques pile up and need expanding. Learning how to onboard staff, learning about digital marketing, learning how to design and develop apps, learning how to build and quickly scale a start-up…
Behind all of this, though, has been an underlying motive of pushing growth and trying new things. Taking risks. But where is the why in that? I’m not trying to save the world, and I did not get into business to sell or get filthy rich. We were pondering the fact that we do like helping people and love fresh challenges, but is that really the driving force?
Do I need to have a why? One of the driving factors is I want to wake up and enjoy what I do every day and feel a sense of ownership over my life.
Is that enough of a why as an entrepreneur to get out of bed, to be your own master? Potentially.