Making Decisions – Part 5 of 6
Channel Your Inner Two-Year-Old: why, why, WHY?
This is a series on starting your own business. WHY? So far we have only considered making decisions– and this is the 5th segment just about making decisions – WHY? We have discussed WHO is an entrepreneur (WHY?), WHAT resources you need and have, (WHY?), WHEN you will start your new venture (WHY?), WHERE you will work and find customers (WHY?) and now we are looking at WHY you have chosen to start a business. Yes, WHY?
Starting a business is not difficult but it is hard. It doesn’t require that you have an advanced education or decades of experience but it does require tenacity and discipline. It should not involve unexpected risk that causes you to lose everything but often it will test you and keep you awake at night with worry. If you don’t clearly and deeply know WHY you are doing it, you won’t keep going. If you don’t keep going, you won’t have a chance to succeed.
I’d like to recommend some reading:
• Write It Down, Make It Happen, by Henriette Ann Klauser, walks you through figuring out what you want and clearly defining your why.
• The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, by Deepak Chopra. Happiness is something everyone desires and Deepak explains what brings joy. Your business endeavors should be a source of joy more often than not.
• The Four Agreements (a Toltec Wisdom Book) teaches you to be impeccable with your word. It takes time, but learning to be authentic will deepen your understanding of your own motivation.
• The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, is hardly new but it’s as relevant today as ever. When you experience challenges with your business – and you will – your integrity, human decency, and other qualities of effective people will help you to persevere.
• The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield, is a very thick volume of stories and examples and principles – things you need to do and proof that others have gone before you and done them – so you can get clear on why you want to succeed and how to do so.
These five books won’t tell you how to start a business but they will help you get in tune with yourself and understand what motivates you, what drives you, what inspires you, and how to get clarity and focus. You must understand why you have decided to start a business, why you want a certain outcome, why it’s important to you to participate in such a steep learning curve and why you will be inspired to keep going.
Clearly identifying why you want to be in business is only half of the equation to your succeeding in business. The other half is WHY does the market want what you have to offer?
• WHY is your product or service going to be in demand?
• WHY are you unique?
• WHY is your timing right?
• WHY are you going to have a direct impact on your market with your product or service that another company hasn’t had?
• WHY have you chosen a particular market segment?
• WHY are you the right person to solve the market problem?
• WHY will people pay you for your product or service?
And pay attention – I didn’t ask why the market needs what you have, I said the market must WANT what you offer. Remember, if people won’t pay for your product or service then you have a hobby, not a business. Even a charity is a business that must make money to sustain its activities or at some point be forced to close its doors.
I told you we were channeling two-year olds today! WHY? WHY? WHY? When you can answer why you want to be in business no matter how tired you are and how many things have gone wrong – and when you can answer why the market will pay you to solve a problem it wants solved, you will have answered critical questions allowing you to make key decisions. Now you can have a lollipop!
• DO read voraciously, journal or meditate if those are tools you use, talk to people at length, involve your family and friends, and examine your beliefs and desires so you know why you want to work so hard, today and next year and the year after that!
• DO know that starting a business is a lot of work! Even if you adore what you are doing, there will be other obligations that will slide, priorities that take second place, and free time that will no longer exist. You must approach starting a business as something you really want, no matter what. You do have to be prepared to change directions and let go of your ego in order to respond to market feedback, but that’s a story for another day.
• DO review the decisions you have made so far about what entrepreneurial attributes you have, what resources you bring to the table and what you still need, when you’ve decided to take the plunge and start, and where you’re going to set up shop and find customers. Put this all together and see how it fits with why you know you want to do this and why your customers want to buy from you!
• Don’t ever answer your why by saying it’s someone else’s dream or expectation of you. Doing it for anyone other than yourself won’t be enough. And don’t delude yourself that having your own business will be easier than what you are doing now – it won’t. Maybe more enjoyable and maybe in the long term more rewarding – but never easier. Just different.
• Don’t overlook the importance of knowing why your market wants to pay you for your product or service. Start small, put something out to the market as soon as possible, and see what response you get. Don’t invest too much money or time trying to make something perfect first – just get it out there. You can improve or change direction based on feedback, but only after you’ve put a product or service out where people can respond.
• Read at least two of the books listed above. If possible, read all five.
• Talk to people who currently do what you are thinking about doing. People love to talk about their experiences and people truly love to help others. It’s very rare they will consider you a competitor and not want to share anything at all – and you don’t need to be afraid someone is going to steal your idea. Most of us are too busy to follow through with our own ideas let alone anyone else’s! Find someone in your town or someone in your online community and ask them to tell you how they started, what advice they have, why they love it, or what they’d do differently now that they are more experienced.
• Do take time to get quiet and look deep into your heart. After all the feedback and advice, ultimately it comes down to this – only you know what you want and you are more capable than you know. Get clear on why and then go for it!
• Plan to keep checking in with here to learn next steps to start a business.
• Ask me a question! Tell me what’s happened for you. Thank you!
Beaufort resident Jamie Wolf is the author of ‘Start Over! Start Now! Ten Keys to SUCCESS in Business and Life’ and ten accompanying guidebooks. If you’re ready to be Master of your Fate and Captain of your Soul, she invites you to come on board! Jamie offers online courses and coaching for entrepreneurs and people interested in starting over or in starting their own business. Visit her at http://www.thestartover.com