Why are you in business? I started my entrepreneurial journey so I could leave a 60-hour job I didn’t love nor enjoy anymore. I was in an industry I thought I would make a difference in the world. It took me two years to realize the company hoping for environmental catastrophes to make more money and not looking to make a positive environmental impact.
My goal was to use my gift to help other entrepreneurs find the hidden revenue opportunities in online niches and fulfill my client’s inner desire of creating an impact for them and their clients.
I started my new venture working freelance for an SEO online marketing company. It was great at the beginning. Leaving the environmental job I didn’t love anymore and now on my own as a freelancer.
If you ever worked as a freelancer you know, somebody else tells you what they need and you fulfill it. Laboring on for six months, I finally asked myself for the first time in my career, “Why are you in business?”.
I didn’t want to be in business to fulfill tasks without working directly with the client, understanding and identifying their business pain points, and helping them to overcome these while generating demand for their business services and products. I wanted to support them on their business journey and be their companion on their path of creating an impact.
So I decided to restructure my business again …
Knowing Why Are You In Business Can Help You To Make Better Entrepreneurial Decisions
My clients wanted SEO training and SEO coaching from me. First of all, there was a lot of misconceptions about SEO. So I changed my business structure to educate people on what SEO really is and how it can help them build their online presence. I also changed my focus from freelance work to creating one-on-one coaching programs and a membership with weekly SEO training sequences. I thought I was at the end of my transformation. But in reality, I just started. Since then, I have had many business opportunities and partnership offers.
I asked a number of successful entrepreneurial executives to describe their WHY for being in business.
The quotes appear randomly throughout the article.
“My “WHY” came in the form of awareness that I can create change. I was 12 when I decided I wanted to be a therapist. I wanted to help people. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I truly understood that to effectively create change, I had to be the change I wanted to see. My “why” is spreading love anywhere I can.
It begins with me and flows outward! Without this “why”, I wouldn’t have the drive and passion that keep me going in seasons of hardship.”
Dawn Wiggins, LMFT, Marriage Counseling, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
What I learned on this journey is that knowing “Why are you in business?” helped me tremendously. I am more productive and make better revenue producing business decisions.
These are the three things I identified to keep me on the right track.
3 Things You Can Do That Reflects Your Why and Influences Your Success
- Attracting More of Your Ideal Clients
- Evaluating Partnerships and Collaborations
- Accomplishing Long Term Success
#1 Define Red Carpet Rules to Attract Your Ideal Clients
Define your parameters on the type of clients you want for your business.
When your business goes through a rough time, most will take on any client to make money and retain business stability.
In my experience, it always bites me in my butt. I worked with clients who did not share my beliefs, my business ethics, didn’t respect nor appreciate the over-delivery of work they received. I was always wondered why am I attracting all these “wrong” clients.
Then one day I figured it out.
All of these “wrong” clients had one thing in common, they did not share my WHY of being in business.
“Why are you in business? This was never a question one of my business coaches asked me but something my soul was seeking from the beginning of my entrepreneurial days, to stay happy, focused and driven. I love SEO aka search engine optimization. Because of the opportunities I can see online and how entrepreneurs can use it to gain visibility and authority for their niche. But at the end, SEO is just a tool. I use it to help entrepreneurs and businesses to become and get excited about the impact they can create and the opportunities to make the world a better place.
I believe we are here on earth with a gift given to us, to empower others, enrich them, support and guide them to live a better, healthier, happier, and fulfilled life. Excited to have the opportunity to be the companion on an entrepreneur’s path to success.”
~ Dagmar Gatell, SEO consultant and Inbound Marketing Strategist,
Sozial Monster, Frankfurt/Germany and Florida, USA
I read Michael Port‘s book, ” Book Yourself Solid”. He wrote about the red velvet rope policy and the importance of dumping the duds, pruning your existing client list, and keeping your ideal clients. As a result, I learned the need to have a red velvet rope policy.
Six Red Carpet Rules To Attract Your Ideal Client
By creating my own red velvet rope, I discovered six areas that are critical for my success. Now i am happy and energized working with clients AND to providing the best results for them.
- Character – Who are they? How do they treat others? How do they speak about others? Are they caring and thoughtful, conscious about their actions?
- Ethics – Can they clearly define “wrong” and “right”? Do they feel bad about ripping somebody else or taking advantage of somebody else in a negative way? Do they respect other living beings, humans, animals, and our environment we share globally? How do they treat others with a different belief?
- Behavior – Are they coachable? Do they thrive on what they do in their business or do they see it as a hassle? Are they excited to grow and learn something new?
- Beliefs – What do they believe in? Are they driven by a mission or a cause? Do they believe they have a gift or an important message to share? Is the product or service they are offering important to them? Do they want to create an impact or make a difference with what they do?
- Attitude to Life – Is there self pity? Do they complain that life is hard and unfair? Are they looking for to create win-win situations? Are they in business only for their own benefit?
- Energy – Do they have positive or negative energy? Do they complain about other service providers when they speak with me? What do they focus on?
“Aruba Water brings a high quality, great tasting water to the marketplace while solving the global problem of plastic waste. Through the water company and our patented biodegradable bottle, we plan to make it the norm to have all plastic containers use our technology to make the world a greener place.”
Nishil Patel, SVP of Global Sales for Aruba Water
We plan to make it the norm to have all plastic containers use our technology to make the world a greener place. Nishil Patel, Aruba Water Click To Tweet
This was a huge eye-opener for me. Attracting the ideal clients not only mean you attract more of the right clients but also helping your clients make more money.
#2 How To Evaluate And Choose The Right Partnerships and Collaborations
Are you wondering what “Why are you in business?” has to do with finding the right partnerships and collaborations.
From my experience, a lot!
My first partnership was with my best friend and it failed
My first partnership was with one of my dearest friends. I love her to pieces.
I didn’t realize at the time working with your friends is not what you look for in a business partnership unless your business goals, expectations, and yes, your “Why,” fit.
Looking back, the failure was written on the wall from the beginning of the partnership.
I had no entrepreneurial experience and was also naive in business. I believed that my personal why was my business why for being in business. Which can be the same but wasn’t at the time.
“I was working very comfortably for over a decade as a website designer in a very “introvert” role. When I tried to present options for video I was met with a massive amount of resistance from my clients. They agreed it was an excellent opportunity for them to build their business easily, yet they resisted. I was discussing this with a friend and she just looked at me directly and said: “If it bothers you that much, what are you going to do about it? The challenge was accepted. Later, when someone asked me about why I was so passionate about helping others “speak up”. I realized just how deep my WHY was ingrained in my work. Until that moment I had never considered that so much of our life we are told to be quiet, hold it in, don’t rock the boat,… How many times have you heard this? How many times have you followed this advice, even when you didn’t want to? Well, no wonder video has become something that people are uncomfortable with. This is my WHY. I am here to change the status quo to We Are Meant To BE SEEN and to BE HEARD!” ~Jessica Brace, JessicaBrace.com
I am here to change the status quo to we are meant to be seen and to be heard. @JessBrace Click To Tweet
After 6 months, I lost my happiness and fun of being in business with my best friend and felt the pressure to separate. It affected our friendship. Thank goodness, she has loved me enough to forgive me and today we are still best friends.
… and the next collaboration failed again
After this experience, I went into two business collaborations. I wanted to do the opposite as in my first business “marriage”. Everything had to be 100% right and I expected both parties would need to think and act the same. I think you already can see what happened … failure again.
My second partnership went well and is still growing.
Again, I went into a partnership with one of my best friends, Kim Shivler, and this time because my expectations were much more realistic and I have more entrepreneurial experience, our business is doing well. Our why is the same, our drive for doing business together, our ethics, behaviors too. Everything fits perfectly. This didn’t happen by accident.
“At my core, I am a teacher and encourager. I am fortunate to have an understanding of and experience in both technology and business, and I love serving others by helping them demystify technology to help them build their business. Teaching others to succeed with their websites, online courses, and sales strategies is one of my greatest pleasures. The fact that I get to do it while working from home getting help from my cats is a super bonus.”
~ Kim Shivler, Founder of eCourse Stories podcasts
Teacher, Speaker, Podcaster
I love serving others by helping them demystify technology to help them build their business. @KimShivler Click To Tweet
We both made a conscious choice to take the risk and do this. We evaluated our feeling of why doing this business together would make sense first before we started it.
How Can Two People Who Are So Different Have The Same “Why Are You In Business” Spirit And Build A Partnership Together?
Four months ago, I met Scott Johnson. He came to a live video show I hosted together with Andy Crestodina, the co-founder of Orbit Media, a Chicago-based web design and web development company.
“Clearly defining the reasons why you’re in business helps keep you focused and moving intentionally toward your goal. If you don’t clearly define and follow your “why” you may experience “purpose drift.” This means you’re expending energy on activities and opportunities that aren’t aligned with your goals. Knowing and following your “why” makes the difference between just being busy and purposefully taking action to move your goals forward. Knowing your “why” will help you determine the opportunities you should pursue to advance your business and those you should say “no” to because they don’t align with your goals. This doesn’t mean your “why” is written in stone. As your business evolves, so will your purpose. That’s why it’s important to say mindful of why you’re in business and where you hope your journey will take you and your customers.”
~ Mike Barzacchini, Director of marketing services at Harper College in Palatine Illinois,
Freelance marketing writer and consultant
Clearly defining the reasons why you're in business helps keep you focused and moving intentionally toward your goal. @MikeBarzacchini Click To Tweet
After the live show, we connected on Twitter. We started helping each other out with marketing and technical advice and how to create more activity in social media. While getting to know each other we often thought, “Wow, we are so different.”
Scott is a typical marketer. Total hyper, highly creative, thousands of ideas, sometimes all in a minute, and ready to go.
I am the geek. Slow in my thinking like a turtle, over-analyzing stuff, very precise, process oriented, and highly structured. I don’t do anything without having a plan in place.
Scott wants to do everything … without a plan in place.
You can see, there is enough room for a lot of fun and a lot of heated discussions.
We figured out early on that we have the same “why” of being in business. We were asking each other, “Why are you in business?” The answer surprised us.
We both wanted the same outcome.
Seeing entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed, thrive, and create an impact.
We both love how much knowledge and expertise entrepreneurs gain through their work, and we both see the hidden revenue opportunities they could and should take advantage of but do not know exist and how to obtain the revenue.
“A majority of startups and small businesses fail. If I am able to share sensible actionable strategies and solutions so that some of these companies may succeed and thrive, then I have contributed and have a sense of accomplishment.”
~ Scott Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer and
Co-Founder of Sozial Monster, Chicago, USA
I want to be able to share sensible actionable strategies and solutions so that companies may succeed and thrive. @iScottJohnson Click To Tweet
Our business “why” gets us up every day. And keep going.
Believe me, there are days where we could kill each other, no matter if we have the same why or not.
When Scott wants to have everything done yesterday and I want to test, measure and analyze it first. But what really brings us back to the ground is the reason why we do all this. And that we both want the same.
Building a Heart to Heart Collaboration
In the online marketing industry, a lot of the professionals say there is no competition and enough business for all of us.
It is hard for online startups or businesses who struggle financially to believe there is no competition especially when you need to make money. The pressure is on for you to take your competitor’s business.
I met my heart to heart collaborators online.
We all went to a weekly Twitter chat “Twitter Smarter” together. And started direct messaging us. Often we talked about our mission, our business purpose, and what we wanted to accomplish online.
We are all online marketers, some with different knowledge and skills, others with very similar ones. But what we explore on chatting together was that our answers to “Why are you in business?” all came out to the same point, helping others to make a difference, to create an impact, and to change the world and make it better.
We four are all geeks. From different countries Germany, Slovenia, India, and Columbia. With different mother languages, different cultures, and different upbringings.
Our “why” unites us.
We are in the process to work together as a team and to offer global packages to entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to gain a global presence online.
Here are the “Why Are You In Business” Quotes of my Heart to Heart H2H Collaborators:
“I was brought up by my parents to learn many trades, skills and languages, even more, to follow my passion and dreams in whatever I did. I went to college to expand my horizons and find new opportunities and not, unlike many of my peers, to become “employable” for the next regular job for 20-30 years. I have been honoured to work in many different areas with many wonderful colleagues and teams on a local and global level. At one time, on my professional journey, I wanted to use my extensive knowledge, skills, passion and dreams to make a difference, create an impact for myself and other people in my network and community. I am in business or better said, I live my business because it inspires me to help my clients finding their voice, their story, inspiration, purpose, motivation and courage to start and create their own unique stories of personal and business achievements.
Supporting my clients and connections in creating meaningful experiences and successful businesses, gives me a deep feeling of gratitude and awareness of living and embodying my own passion and vision of having a flexible and open entrepreneurial mindset. I am proud to be a businesswoman finding and exploring possibilities, creating new connections and communities and envisioning creative solutions locally and globally. When my work and attitude help inspire and teach others, empowering them to find their inner sources of strength, I know why I have chosen this path.”
When my work and attitude help inspire and teach others, I know why I have chosen this path. @ZalkaB Click To Tweet
“Feed the need – Your businesses success depends on the ability to meet the demands of your niche market, not on what you are trying to sale them.”
~ Varun Kumar, Freelance Digital marketing consultant
Helping people to manage their SocialMedia and Content Marketing Activities, India
Feed the need - Your business success depends on the ability to meet the demands of your niche market, not on what you are trying to sale them @varunkr842 Click To Tweet
“Being in business (especially in the digital world) gives me the opportunity to create new things and products. Collaborate and meet great people, new clients and co-workers around the globe. This also allows me to improve the ways that I communicate with others. Many years ago, when Industrial Revolution starts to grow, only a few people has the vision, expertise or money to venture in this new opportunity. NOW, in Digital Revolution, almost everybody is able to participate and grow their business in this new digital market. So, part of my WHY? is to teach people how to create digital content and products. This way, all of them can take place in this new opportunities. I want to help in the Democratization of Content Creation. In Digital world, businesses are not anymore about competition, are about collaboration.”
~ Alberto Gómez, Boole Founder & CTO, Columbia
Sometimes, your “why are you in business” can strengthen through something you hear, see or read that inspires you and deepens your why.
I originally created a presentation for the international entrepreneurial women’s conference in South Florida. I went through the exercise on how knowing about your “why” helps you to find your ideal clients and also lets you avoid the ones that don’t help you in your business life.
Your “mentor tribe” is an important and deeper part of your business why.
Check out the slide show below to get more info about how you can create your own mentor tribe.
Why Are You In Business – Slide Share Show on LinkedIn
“Many of our parents wanted us to BE something. They put us in after-school sports and activities, oftentimes trying to fulfill their own unexpressed desires, dreams or achievements. They hid their talents and gifts, and feel regret about never having expressed themselves fully. To avoid this shame, they make us, their children, do what they wished they had done as children. Along with our parents putting their unfulfilled goals and dreams on us, they also wanted (and sometimes needed) us to act “correctly” to avoid their shame about not belonging. We were told to STOP being us, and to act, another, more “sophisticated” way.
We were born with talents to be artists, or dancers, or singers, or contractors or engineers… but were discouraged because “artists don’t make enough money” or “you should be a doctor like your father” or “you’re not smart enough to be an engineer.” We believed the lies they told us. When we bought into the lie of needing to act another way, not in accordance with our beautifully authentic selves, we forgot who we are, we forgot our purpose.
Through the process of “re-membering” who we are, becoming reconnected with our beautifully authentic selves, we remember our gifts, and remember our purpose. Once you remember, that becomes your “why”. You are inspired daily to be your true self, express your gifts, and serve the world with your talents. You realize that holding back and not sharing your gifts is a form of withholding, which is the opposite of love.
As you begin loving yourself, expressing your beautifully authentic self, you remember your purpose. This becomes your why. Your vision for expressing your gifts becomes your mission. When you are mission driven, nothing can stop you. It’s not about money, or having a gigantic, million dollar house. That’s the result of living fully in your gifts. You begin to realize that the moment to moment expression of your true self is how abundance is created and it’s WHY you do what you do.”
~ Heather Hundhausen, Body – Mind – Spirit – Relationships @ HeatherHundhausen.com
Boca Raton, USA
#3 Accomplishing Long-Term Business Success
96 % of businesses fail within the first 10 years, according to INC magazine. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. It’s amazing that an astronomically huge number of businesses do not make it.
Funding, cash flow, and business experience play a huge role for how long entrepreneurs and small businesses can keep their doors open.
One of the main reasons why businesses fail is that they started for the wrong reasons.
Starting A New Business For All The Wrong Reasons
The reasons were making their hobby a business, investing their retirement money in something they dreamed of all their lives, or because their friend started a business and they want to do the same.
My first real job in the USA was working for the chamber of commerce and taking care of their members.
Within the two and a half years I worked there, I saw many businesses open up, and a lot of businesses close. Funding was a huge thing. Most small businesses I worked with did not have a business plan, a financial plan, a marketing plan, and they didn’t want to create one either.
We had SCORE coming in once a week to support our members. Only a few really took advantage of this free service. Many had the dream of becoming “overnight millionaires”.
Needless to say, none of them did.
“You need your ‘Why’ Locked down, No if, and’s, but’s, or maybe’s and here is why. It’s you’re Lighthouse every day, consistent through thick and thin, it will lead you, guide you and keep you going like a compass, you might bob and weave a bit with the waves but you will stay on course. If you kid yourself on the ‘Why’ you will find yourself chasing rainbows, unicorns and shiny things every other month and won’t ever be able to create consistent breakthrough growth in any single direction. Every amount of distance off course is doubled to get back on track, success will elude you and the time spent will never come back.”
~ Wayne Peters, Social Marketing, Managing 2 World Champions, 6 World Titles,
1st Dibbs Multi-Media, Calgary, Canada
How Knowing “Why Are You In Business” Keeps Your Doors Open
I always was curious why somebody started a new business.
” I am ambitious, but my ambition is not driven so much by the seeking of money. It’s an ambition to learn and know as much as I can about what I do. The money comes as a by-product in my experience. But there are not enough hours in the day. That is the only issue. Working for myself means that I get to steer my own course within reason as I still have commitments like everyone .”
~ Dawn Anderson, SEO Strategist,
Move It Marketing, United Kingdom
I asked the question “Why did you start your business?” frequently. The answer surprised me again and again.
- I want to make money.
- I heard about this great business idea …
- My friend does this and he said it’s easy.
- I just moved to this city and I didn’t want to look for a job.
- I did this as a hobby for my family and friends and they said I should do this as a business.
Hardly anyone had a real “why” of being in business.
First, they were very excited and driven. After the initial struggles, finding obstacles in their way, not making money, they lost their desire. Finally, they started burning out and then gave up mentally before they closed their doors.
To me, these entrepreneurs and small businesses became my baby.
With every “baby” dying, I was wondering what went wrong.
- They had the chance to make money, they didn’t follow up or do the work of cold calling.
- They could have engaged at chamber events, but felt too shy and stayed back.
- They had the chance to ask for funding but they didn’t because they felt embarrassed and didn’t ask or pursue.
When I came to the USA, I started supporting my husband at the time who owned a plumbing company.
Because of the length of time it took to get a green card, I could not get a driver’s license. So I went to the local business networking meetings on my own on my bike with my hard German-English.
Sometimes, my ex-husband came with me but when it came time for him to give his elevator speech, he stayed seated and I had to get up and give my 90-second speech.
It was hard.
Being in a foreign country, realizing that my pronunciation wasn’t good enough so that people could understand me easily. I was pretty desperate at the time to bring business to my ex-husband’s business, the pressure was there. Twice I fell from the bike, got rained on and went to meetings anyway, wet and bloody.
Surprisingly, people hired us anyway. Why?
I told everybody my “why” of being in my ex-husband’s business. To serve each and every residential customer in the most professional, supportive and economical way with their plumbing issue. Taking their mind off the stress the plumbing issues created in their lives but giving them the full confidence that everything would be fine and that a professional would take care of it and make their life easy.
At the beginning, people felt sorry for me.
I still got up and gave my speech that was not easy to deliver in English nor easy for the audience to understand. They could see my willingness to serve, to support, to do what it took to give them the best experience ever. And they assumed my ex-husband would do the same for them.
Remind others of your “why are you in business” and most of all remind yourself every day.
This will help you get up excited for what the day may bring but also keep you going, through the challenging times in our business lives, and lets you enjoy the good times too!
“I started CommuniTea Center because I truly believe in the power of tea. Tea, across many cultures around the world is a great connector. You sit down to have tea with a stranger, and by the end of it, you have become friends. Or, you have tea with a loved one, and it is a heart-to-heart, meaningful time. Tea is a gentle reminder to slow down, be mindful, and enjoy the present moment. For me, it’s all about spreading the love, one cup at a time!”
~ Stephanie Bracken, tea nerd and founder of CommuniTea Center – Organic Loose Leaf Tea & Herbs,
Fort Lauderdale, USA
“I love sharing my passion and market knowledge about art and artists with clients and hearing collectors share their amazing stories! Hence it is wonderful helping art collectors acquire works they love.”
~ Sylvie Esterhazy Kovacs, President of Ester Hazy Art
New York City, USA
Small business owners and entrepreneurs who give you the answer to the question, “Why are you in business?”, are often the businesses who
- can overcome obstacles and struggles.
- focus on the bigger picture and long term goals.
- don’t question their ability to be successful and fulfilling their “Why” of being in business.
Why are you in business? Please share in the comments below so others can feel inspired and learn from your experiences. Let’s create a higher impact and better tomorrow together!