Getting ahead in business is big business.
Not only for the Apples in the world but for the small business community; the graphic designer working from home, the local market seller to the corner cafe. How can we define ourselves in a market that is so competitive for attention and cut-through? How can we get ahead in our small business that operates from a home office, which provides a niche and useful service to others? And most importantly how do we keep motivated?
Finding our Why? could be the answer to transforming our business and our life. Not only finding it, but communicating it to others in a way that resonates with customers, friends and people we meet everyday.
We need to get to our ‘core’ reason we are in business to keep our vision on track. In the tough times, the ‘Why’ can shed light on the reasons we ‘do what we do’ and help us find satisfaction in the every day.
It is easy to define our business by outlining the features of our service and product. This involves pointing out what we can do for our customer; how we can do it; the features; its benefits and what makes our approach better than our competitors. But what is our Why? Inspiration and ideas are the fuel to keep us motivated in business. Being close to and surrounded by people in business or even friends can keep us on track towards our goals. However it is the people that can instill a vision in some-one and make them feel a part of their journey, that leaves the greatest mark. Finding our Why in business can help us become the inspirational leader we need to keep going.
I have been trying to answer the same question for my small business and I have started with 5 steps we can ask ourselves to help find our Why?
- Start by what you WANT customers to feel after they have used your business/product/service. Do they feel important, safe, confident, stylish, connected?
- How do your customers feel at the moment? Consider the feedback you have received and what you would like the feedback to ideally ‘be’. Start by writing an email to yourself from a customer and put down everything you would like them to say about your business/service and how it has transformed their life/business.
- Have you a platform you can communicate more about yourself and your business? Do customers know what your business stands for and are they connecting with it? Using social media channels can be a great way to start this communication. Choose one that you like (facebook, pinterest, twitter, wordpress etc) and start by writing a post about Why you do, what you do? from your core.
- If your business was a car what would it be? If it was a perfume what would its odour be? – it is pretty and floral? Strong and earthy? Are you a Volvo or a mini? (an interesting exercise to identify where you ‘perceive’ your business as a brand)
- Use an analogy to help kick-start your own business ideas – if you had to communicate the business of being in car sales or in fitness instructing. How would you communicate this passion to your customers? Try thinking about how Oprah would communicate it? or another well-known person. Now try your own business.
Amy Miller is the founder of www.socialschool.com.au, a social and business network for parents. For business advice go to http://socialschoolaustralia.wordpress.com/. Amy also lectures in Business Entrepreneurship and Public Relations at Macleay College Sydney