Why are You Doing This?
The Typical Business Person
Whenever I meet a new business owner I always ask them about how they started their business.
It usually goes something along the lines of:
“I just had an idea that I thought would help people” or “I wanted control over my week” or my favourite “I wanted to change the world”.
Everybody’s story is different and is always fascinates me to question why someone started a business as it gives me an insight into their mindset.
Quite a lot of successful businesses are created from solving a single problem.
"The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them," Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston
I meet business owners at various stages from startup phase to mature and all stages in between. One thing always stands out to me every time I take on a business owner as a client, particularly successful ones. They almost became entrepreneurs by accident.
What do I mean by Accident
No one goes into business to employ lots of staff, or to hire a PA or to worry about the best way to extract money from their business. They certainly don’t go into business to wake up at 2am worrying about how to pay the bills or how to minimise the tax that they pay.
These are all standard elements of being an entrepreneur. You suddenly have responsibility for issues and people that you never imagined when you first had the bright idea to setup a business.
Almost out of nowhere, big enterprises are created with Turnover figures, EBITDA's, Share Prices and Exit Plans and the business owner suddenly has more plates to spin than they can keep going and by the way they usually have a family to spend time with and cherish, particularly if they have young kids.
I will go back to the Accident word because none of this was “intentional”, it is usually because of success and people never see underneath the surface of success and all the issues and challenges that go with it.
Why are you doing this?
I was asked this question on the Bulletproof podcast at Prolific North recently and it is a question I like to ask successful business owners at the outset and on a continual basis.
The answers are usually along the lines of “Security” or “lifestyle” or to “give my children what I never had”.
It is such an important question to revisit regularly as you need to go back to that single vision you had when you setup the business. You had a reason then to completely change your path in life. What is your reason now? It is probably different if you are being honest with yourself.
If it is secure the future for yourself and your family, does your business and personal strategy reflect this?
If you want to take time out of the business are you putting plans in place to achieve this? Are you hiring the right staff, delegating responsibility etc. etc..
It is pointless to ask the questions if you are unwilling to follow it up with action. Unless you want to be the guy or girl in their 60s looking back at life and wondering what happened to all the big plans you have, I would suggest you give this some thought and start devising a plan about how to achieve it. Of course it could change but having a plan is better than waiting for the answer to come to you. How often does this happen?
It is amazing how many successful entrepreneurs I meet that simply don’t understand that business should be on “your terms”. If your goal is to spend time with your children, then does your week reflect this or does the business currently “own your week”
This is exactly the reason “Why are You Doing This” is such a powerful question and one that you should revisit often.
The Bulletproof Agency
By the way, Paul Barnes, Mike Henderson and Steve Kuncewicz have put an awesome podcast collaboration together where top end Creative and Digital entrepreneurs talk about the challenges they face on a regular basis with true honesty and authenticity. Give the BulletProof Agency Podcast a listen here (It’s Ace)