To start, if you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” – then please do yourself a favor and read it! I have never been so inspired in my life. Which is kudos to Mr. Sinek because that’s his outspoken goal in life.
Currently I’m on a ten day road trip for the company I’m a part owner in. My job on this trip is simple- sell. I know what we have and I know how we got to this point, but the WHY we started this company has never been in my pitch. And honestly, lately it hasn’t been in my mind at all when it comes to decisions I make within this company.
There are three basic questions that you answer when you’re starting a company or selling a product: WHAT, HOW, and the often forgotten WHY.
The order above is so often our approach in every day business. “I know what I have and I know how it can be beneficial to you.. But I don’t know why I’m doing this anymore.” When it should be, “This is why I do this, this is how it’s beneficial to you, and oh by the way- this is what it is.”
Take Apple vs. PC. There’s a reason why everyone knows someone who LOVES Apple. But name someone who is a die hard PC guy! You can’t. Because Apple stands for innovation. That’s their WHY. PC’s are just computers. Yes, they can even be great computers. There are probably countless instances where Microsoft or whoever is better at something than Apple. But Apple customers love their product because Apple loves their product. And they let you know it.
For me, it’s Vera Largo; coastal clothes with a modern, youthful edge. We started this company because we felt like these clothes didn’t exist. Everything associated with coastal is slouchy and linen. We wanted modern, hip, loud..
Being on this trip has reinforced the above- there isn’t anything like us. We are unique. So instead of looking at a store and seeing walls & racks of the same clothing with a different logo and being disappointed when Vera Largo won’t work, I’m HAPPY to remind myself that we aren’t trying to be them. That’s not WHY we started this.
Henry Ford once said, “If I would have asked the people what they want, they would have said a faster horse.”
Conviction, or the why, is the most important thing a young professional can protect. It’s so easy to lose sight of it once you start chasing a dream. BUSINESS happens. It’s no longer imagining and talking. It’s doing and STRESSING. But at the end of the day you’re the only one who can sell yourself so you better know WHY your worth it.
…Seriously. Read that book. I can’t wait to get back on the road.