Starting a business: what's your why?

Starting a business: what's your why?

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

Contributors:

Kathleen MacEachern Policy analyst, Halifax Chamber of Commerce

So, you’ve decided you want to become an entrepreneur, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve been told to go through the five W’s. The who, what, when, where and why. While they are all important, having the right “why” will play a major part in your business’ success. Your motive behind your actions might just be the most important part of your entrepreneurial story. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why can endure any how.” A strong foundation can let you take risks, it will get you to work every morning, will help push you through the difficult times and it will establish a clear direction for you and your business. Find what you’re passionate about and make that your “why.” Studies have shown that doing what you love can help you live longer, feel happier, be more productive and be an inspiration to others — who wouldn’t want that title?

How to find your “why”?

So how do you determine your why? It might not be as obvious as you would like, but you can start with a list of questions. Grab a pen and paper or if that’s too old school for you, grab your laptop and ask yourself the following:

What would I do if money wasn’t
an issue?

What made me most excited as
a child?

What would I do for free?

What am I good at?

What do I love to do?

What do I believe in?

What would I do if I knew
I couldn’t fail?

What problem keeps me up at night?

What would keep me getting up
for work every day?

These are just a few of the questions that can help narrow down your passion. If you notice a few common answers start to pop up, maybe that’s a great place to start. If not, talk to family and friends. Ask them what they think is your “why,” and that might spark an idea.

Why the Why?

Opening a business because of the money might not be enough to keep both it and you going. If you don’t love what you do, a paycheque may not get you out of bed every morning. A passion will. The “why” will. If you’re doing something you’re passionate about you may be more inclined to go above and beyond the call of duty, to leap over obstacles and feel more creative about solutions to the obstacles that lay ahead. Others (your employees, hopefully) will see that grit and determination and feel that same level of “why” you do. Clients, customers or stakeholders may be more motivated to buy from you or use your services.

We’re not saying that if you follow your passion business will come easy.
In fact, following your passion may come with problems of its own, but it is a lot easier to do something you love every day than to do something you don’t!

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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