Define Your Why!

Define Your Why

One of the major problems in today’s business is the lack of planning and of objectives. Many people have started a new business in order to test and (hoping!) to prove right the business model they have in their mind, but rarely this happens without a proper vision, strategy, goals, and objectives. The lack of these elements defines the absence of business as we know it!

Defining Your Business

The most difficult part when you start something new in business level is to define it! We know things because we define them!

My car is […] has these features […], and it is capable of […]. I know my car and I know what can I do with it! So with the myriad things around me.

But usually, it is not the same with your business. Many times, you fail to see what your business is all about it! It is natural, because when you start something new you fueled by your original vision, or incentive to build something! And you do everything to see it “alive and kicking“!

In the process, though, you have missed your objectives and your business. Technology is not a business, fun can be business when you go in the fun industry, and endless hours of coding usually does not sum up well in a cost spreadsheet!

Startup foundation is all about proving a financial model that WORKS. And that is the point!

What Vision Has To Do With It!

Vision is the thing that would fuel your startup of a business and vision is the only thing that would maintain the business when the things go wrong. The vision of the prime partner or of a founder of a new business is the direction which defines his/her leadership and coordinate all the business’ activities towards its goals.

It is far better a vision that is conceived, articulated, designed and communicated to all involved parties, than a passion without a purpose or links to the reality. Especially in the business section.

Vision is the sole element that would drive you and your associates via the dire straits of today’s economy and towards the implementation of your financial and operational objectives.

But vision, per se, is not, JUST, a financial entity.

A Mission Statement Makes All The Difference

Vision is expressed with a mission statement, which is vital in order to frame a way of thinking! Especially in newly founded companies. A mission statement (and a vision) is expressing the basic values and objectives of organizations.

A mission statement is, for instance, (all reference from missionstatements.com) to:

  • deliver seamless, secure, context-aware experiences for a connected world (Hewlett-Packard Co.)
  • provide our customers with the next generation of productivity gains and customer experience innovation through our deep knowledge of the changing global consumer and technology (NCR Corp.)
  • approach all client projects with competitive creativity and flair and to service our clients to the highest professional level (Aztec Marketing Solutions)
  • utilize our people and innovative technology to provide our clients with field marketing services to drive sales and profits (SPAR Group, Inc.)
  • inspire and enable aviation dreams – one relationship, one aircraft, and one flight at a time (Performance Aircraft)
  • deliver skills and knowledge that significantly increase our course participants’ on-the-job productivity, thereby enhancing their contributions to the goals of their organization (Learning Tree International, Inc.)
  • educate and develop personal trainers who demonstrate technical proficiency, integrity and professionalism (Focus Personal Training Institute)
  • provide affordable education and training options to any student who desires to enhance their career path (Lawrence Training School, Inc.)
  • reach the goal of our clients, and create a web site that is suitable for their needs (Eloquence Web & Graphic Design)
  • To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time (Starbucks)

A vision statement is the why of your business and what’s fuels your business engines!

Why Strategy Matters

Vision alone is not enough! It needs a Value-Driven Leadership and, of course, a strategy to funnel all the business’ actions towards the achievement of the business objectives.

Leadership would provide direction and support while the strategy would provide you the framework for operations you need to do to succeed your objectives.

Strategy, though, might is not enough. There should be also appropriate OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to lead the efforts and measure the results!

But all these theoretical structures are useless when you do not know what your why is!

Define Your Why!

The main thing when you start a new business is for you to define with clarity and consistency your business. Is not easy most of the times because, especially in startup ventures, you are in the middle of many operations. It is not easy, but it is essential.

An auto repair shop makes its money by fixing broken cars! It’s business is to fix cars! So it needs to know all there is to know for repair cars, fix them, etc. But an auto repair shop owner needs more much more. His or her job is not to repair the cars. His or her job is to facilitate people having mobility problems, or dissolve their commuting issues, or, …

You understand the difference? The why scope is quite different from the fixing car problem! Many auto repair shops can do easily the same thing and in the face of the economic crisis many people repair their cars alone! But a smart startup in auto repair shop does not start from fixing one type (or more) of cars. It start with a why of its business and try to define the business!

Sometimes, thinking about doing business and actually do it, it may differ a lot!

Question: What’s your why? Have you ever take the trouble to define your why? Have you ever documented it? Send us your thoughts!

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Takis Athanassiou

Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! He frequent writes at his personal blog and at Leadership Initiative @Businnes! You can add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.