Why do you do it?
Mission. Passion. Purpose. USP. All synonyms used by marketeers and advertisers in an attempt to instil in their audience a feeling that they’re not buying a product or service – they’re joining a cause.
Sounds a lot more exciting, doesn’t it?Having a bigger vision or aim for your business is not only motivating for you and your team, but also appeals to potential clients who will be naturally drawn to your ethos and values – plus it makes you memorable. So how do you identify and articulate exactly what that is?
Start with WHY
Simon Sinek fans (or those who’ve ever worked with a business coach) will be familiar with his concept of the Golden Circle – a fascinating formula that explains the psychology of nurturing this sense of belonging (also described by Seth Godin as being part of a Tribe), by starting with why you do what you do, on the understanding that this appeals far more than what you actually do / deliver / create. He explains that this establishes shared values and beliefs, leading to your being trusted more quickly and potentially considered for additional services, products and purchases – as well as encouraging loyalty and long-term custom.
But does it matter?
Well, yes – with experts estimating it is ten times more work and effort to attract a new client than to resell to an existing one, this is something every business hopes to achieve. That’s a no-brainer but, as I touched upon in my article on the importance of your online branding being aligned with your Company values and ethos (read it here), failure to expand on your message to include the meaning and big picture mission behind it may just be what causes your name to fade back into the crowd, instead of standing proud and being chosen.
Okay, where do we start?
To coin a phrase – at the very beginning. Think back to those early days in your business – or before that, when this was all just a twinkle in your eye – what exactly was it that you set out to do? What was that key moment or event when you suddenly thought “hang on, if we did it this way, it would be SO much better!” – your Eureka moment if you will? Perhaps it was something you were repelled from rather than toward which brought you up short and realising someone had to do this differently, and it may as well you?
For me, it was the moment I realised my love of technology did NOT mean selling website bells and whistles to people who just didn’t need them.
It was the very start of 2001 and design agencies all over the world were stampeding to ride the wave of this new marketing phenomenon “the internet”, and to someone like me – creative thinker who can’t draw for toffee – this blend of art and technology was a godsend. I was drafted into several organisations to setup their first foray into the world of websites, including agencies keen to cash in on the trend – and that is where it started to feel, well, a bit icky.
One day I find myself in front of a very nice man (let’s call him Jerry), who has shared with me his hopes and plans for his business, how it will support his family, all the good stuff that reminds us why what we do matters. Holding a piece of paper aloft, he says to me “I have this quote from your boss. I’ve never met him, but feel you get what I’m trying to do in my business, so if you tell me that spending…” <insert ridiculous amount of money here!> “… is going to help me do that, I’ll do it.”
Well. I know what I was supposed to say. I know what my boss would have wanted me to say. But I just couldn’t do it.
You see, Jerry’s business was in very early stages and things weren’t yet taking off for him so spending the equivalent of a new truck on a website filled with bells and whistles he didn’t need – elaborate effects, animation and soundtrack (it was the noughties) was NOT the best investment for his business at that time – and I had to be honest and tell him so. I went back to the office and quit – vowing to only ever propose website solutions that really deliver results and meet the real needs and objectives of the client.
The moral of the story?
There was a reason you started your business, charity or project – and it wasn’t about the money. It was something deeper, it was your calling – and whatever that was, it is still there. Share it with the world and your Company will attract exactly the sort of clients you want to work with AND stand head and shoulders above the rest.
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