Many entrepreneurs start a business asking the wrong questions:
"How will I create this product efficiently?"
"How can I sell as many of this product as possible?"
"How can I make profit sustainably?"
But "how" is the wrong question to ask first.
The first thing every entrepreneur should ask is, "Why?"
"Why am I in business?" "Why do I want to build this business?"
"Why do I want to succeed?"
Every business owner has their own big reason why-their ultimate goal-for wanting a successful business.
Do you know yours?
The answer will make a difference in how you run your business and succeed.
If you know what your ultimate goal is, you will gravitate towards the things that help you achieve it. If you're fuzzy about your ultimate goal, or don't keep it top of mind, then you can easily get distracted by what's shiny, easy, or attractive.
People who don't know their big why are like the drunkard who looks under the light for his keys-not because that's where he lost them, but because that's where he can see better.
This happens when people chase after the strategy, tactic, or opportunity that's easier or more accessible to them, instead of the ones that are aligned with their goal.
Knowing your ultimate goal makes you more productive, because you do more of what matters and less of what doesn't. Without clarity on your goal, you can keep working harder and accelerating. But acceleration is valuable only when you're accelerating the right things.
Your ultimate goal will keep you moving forward despite failures, setbacks, and boredom. If you've been working to achieve somebody else's idea of success, or if you've been going after a goal you don't find exciting or valuable, then you will easily give up.
Being clear on your goal helps you stay true to your values. Your goal is your North Star, and will help you navigate the circuitous route to success. It will guide your decisions about what products and services to offer, what types of people to hire, how you operate your business, and what strategies to implement, among others.
Without clarity on your ultimate goal, you wouldn't know what success looks like. You may have arrived in the eyes of other people and yet you don't feel the personal satisfaction and happiness you expected from success. Without a clear destination, you'll work hard yet go nowhere.
Uncovering Your Reason Why
To find out your big reason why, set aside at least an hour and go to a place where you won't be interrupted. Sit quietly and ask yourself the following questions:
Why am I doing this?
What is my goal? What am I trying to accomplish? Why is that important to me?
Who do I want to serve? How do I want to serve them? Why is it important for me to serve them?
What is my definition of success? What does it look like? How do I know I have achieved it? Why does it matter for me to be successful?
Use your imagination to see what experiences and feelings you'll have when you've succeeded.
Money will appear as a goal, but it's usually not the ultimate goal. As you dig deeper, you'll realize that money itself isn't what matters. What makes money important may be that it enables you to provide a certain lifestyle to your loved ones, leave your legacy in the world, or simply be free from financial worries. Keep drilling down until you uncover the essential things that motivate you.
Your answers to these questions can change over time, so you may want to repeat this exercise every so often. Finally, remember, there are no right or wrong answers. There is only what's right, for you.