As part of my MBA program, I’m taking a class on entrepreneurship. It’s been interesting, mostly because there’s a lot of content that seems familiar because I’ve been running a business for more than a decade. But, it’s also been a good reminder.
One of the items we’re learning about is the importance of having a purpose in your business. Finding that purpose can keep you going when you’re feeling unmotivated, and it can help you innovate and move forward when you’re stuck.
As you dig down to find purpose in your business, one strategy is to use the “three whys” to help direct your thoughts. Once you go through this exercise, you’ll have a better idea of how to hone in on your purpose. You’ll have a better focus for growing your business, and a mission that will keep you — and your customers — excited about your business.
Using the “three whys” to pinpoint your purpose
Using the “three whys” is about getting to the heart of the purpose in your business. You start by asking yourself why you’re starting the business you start. For example, I might focus on my freelancing business.
Why am I starting a freelancing business?
That first question forces me to ask why I’m starting. So, I answer with: “So I can earn money while working from home.”
Next, you drill down deeper, asking the second why. “Why do you want to earn money while working from home?”
The answer to that question, for me, was, “To be able to spend more time with my son and be available for him while still paying the bills.”
So, now we’re getting somewhere specific and concrete.
The third why is, of course, why I want to spend time with my son while being able to pay the bills.
And my answer is that I want to have a good, meaningful relationship with my son while maintaining the financial stability that allows us to focus on our relationship.
This exercise can work for any number of businesses. You can use the “three whys” to follow your line of reasoning for making more money, helping others with your product or service, or any number of things.
Once you get to your third why, you have a good idea of your purpose, and you can focus on that.
Staying motivated by your business purpose
With the “three whys” helping you, it’s possible to stay motivated by the purpose in your business. Because I started freelancing to maintain a better relationship with my son, I’ve found it helps me stay motivated. When times were tough, or I didn’t feel like doing the work, being able to point to my son and our relationship helped me stay focused on motivated.
The freelance lifestyle gives me freedom and flexibility to spend time making memories with my son. On top of that, it also allows me time to volunteer in my community and engage in other meaningful activities. By staying focused on the way my business enhances my life — and allows me the chance to enhance the lives of those around me — I can stay motivated.
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