Run to success

Simon Sinek says that those of us in the business of selling something should start with answering the question Why? His TED talk is one of the most frequently watched and most commonly recommended in business circles, not without good reason. You can check out the shortened talk here on You Tube – it will be 5 minutes of your time extremely well spent:

Why the emphasis on Why? And what’s it got to do with being personal?

If you watch the short talk you will quickly realise that most businesses try to promote themselves by going deep into the What. What they sell. What the benefits are. What features their products and services offer. What the price is. What the payment methods are…and so on.

How does that list of Whats sound to you? Does it sound like hard sell? A ‘push’ rather than a ‘pull’? If this is how you are promoting your business and your products then no wonder it is a struggle. Strangely enough, most customers don’t seem to respond that well to the What. So what then do they respond to?

Simon Sinek encourages us to put the What last. Instead we must start with the Why – that is, Why did you start your business? Why does it matter what you sell? The Why defines your purpose – and that manoeuvres us very close to the heart of who you are as a person and what has motivated you to establish a business and a range of products and services that are entirely unique and like no-one else’s. Sinek says we must start by defining Why our business or products exist because this is what intrigues many customers the most – it gives them something human to connect to and it encourages the development of the relationship. It explains why your business deserves attention – why it matters. The answer to Why is often very personal – and that is what customers engage with because it tells them who you are, what you stand for and why it matters so much. It rubber stamps your authenticity and integrity, both of which are essential for a productive and lasting business relationship to develop.

Here’s my Why for my business:

Everyone is capable of so much more than they realise. Life throws curve balls that knock the stuffing out of us and can make us feel like giving up. We all have oodles of potential which, if we are supported in the right way, can be unlocked to fuel our ambitions and goals. We can achieve amazing things and make wonderful transformations if the conditions around us are right and we grow our self-belief. I founded Skills to Go and Business Skills Studio so that I could give others the support, skills and encouragement to transform their working lives in the same way as I was once encouraged and supported myself.

How did you find that? Hopefully more engaging than ‘Skills to Go designs and delivers a range of training courses to help you perform better in your business role’. Do please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts.

So what follows Why? Once you have clarified your purpose you can begin to articulate the How. This moves us towards the broad picture of how your business & products help people. And from How you can then move neatly to What, or the specifics of your products and services.

Don’t be afraid to reveal a little of your story when you start with Why. Many businesses start because of someone realizing at last ‘what they were put on this planet to do’! The media knows that human interest leads to the best response in news stories – never be afraid to reveal the story of the person behind your business.