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4 Simple Questions to Help You Start & Grow Your Business

So, you want to start working with clients – great!

Depending on who you listen to, there’s so much you need to do in order to successfully launch your business. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re a life coach, business consultant or holistic healer, launching a successful business takes time, energy and even a little bit of money.

More than anything, you need a plan. You need to know what you’re about and how your service will help other people. That’s the first step. Some would say you next need a business plan, a marketing plan and a clear revenue model (you do need to know how you’re going to make money, after all).

But I think it’s much simpler than all that.


Sure, a business plan is good. I coach my own clients on creating business and marketing plans so they can both keep themselves on track and see their progress. So using traditional business plans is something I highly recommend.

Yet, I’ve found it helpful to begin any service business with 4 simple questions. These questions provide the foundation for all else. Answer them fully and you’ll have the beginnings of your business plan, an outline for your marketing plan and you’ll know how you’ll make money. You’ll also have an idea of who your client is and what their needs are.

What’s more, these four questions give you a chance to simplify the whole business development process. You may still want to formal business plan or work through how you’ll market your business. Yet it can be less necessary as long as you can stay focused. I’ve had a handful of clients take just the answers to these four questions and go on to both build successful life coaching and holistic healing practices.

So what are the four questions?

  1. Who you are?
  2. What you do?
  3. Who you do it for?
  4. Why do you do it?

See how simple this is? Now there can be other questions to add. Depending on the client I might add ‘how do you do what you do’ or ‘what do they need.’ But honestly, even these questions are pretty much covered in a thorough answers to the four questions. Plus, I find simplicity wins out most of the time.

Now I know that the answers to each of these questions can be full of complicated processes, complex systems and overwhelming business structures. And having run a business for more than ten years, I know there’s much to do to be successful.

Yet clearly answer those four questions and you have a basic business plan. Answer the four questions and you have the outline for a marketing plan. Answer the four questions and you have, at least a beginning, for how you’re going to make money in your coaching or healing practice.

To be continued…

My Friday post this week will dive a little deeper into the four questions. We’ll take a look at just how answering these questions leads to a solid plan that even you can execute. And we’ll see what happens if you don’t know the answers to these questions. So stay tuned…

In the meantime, I want to hear from you. How would you answer the four questions on your coaching practice, holistic healing practice or other type of service-based business?

Let’s talk about it.

(note:  image from  laurakgibbs on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. Sam @ webcam performer says:

    In regards to #4: I think one’s focus needs to be on providing a great service/product, and not on making money. I’ve found that by focusing on what I love and what I like to do, it makes the work not even feel like work at all, and ironically, I make more money.

    Looking forward to the continuation on Friday.

  2. Yes, this is where all businesses should start. If you can’t answer these basic questions (who, what, why, etc.) then you’re sure to fail.

    Personally, I start with two similar yet difference questions, which are:

    What problem are you or your business trying to solve? Who needs the product or service and where are they at?

  3. flat rate internet advertising says:

    Your question strategy is good to handle the hurdles in the business,Every phase in the business brings new question with it so it may change with the time pass.but you can got experience from them.

  4. double jogging strollers says:

    HI Here’s my answers:
    1. Who you are?
    Blake
    2. What you do?
    Own StrollersCouture.com
    3. Who you do it for?
    My own website
    4. Why do you do it?
    Because my brother has a baby on the way and we think it’s a great opportunity to get into the baby world.

  5. I thinks to start a new business a simple business plan is a must for a beginner.
    A business plan is a tool for entreprenur to evaluate and show what to achieve.
    but a complicated business plan could make a business become complicated too.

  6. Starting a business is really tough. When you thought everything is well-planned, unexpected things happen. But knowing the answers to the questions you gave will help a lot. These answers will keep you motivated and not lose hope even when things don’t turn out the way you have planned it.

  7. hi Dawud,
    I would agree with you that it is best to keep things simple, and I like your four simple questions for someone starting a new business (or evaluating their existing business). But I think it’s good to add two more questions, even if it unsimplifies your list a little:
    #5) Why would someone use your business instead of going somewhere else (what makes you better?)
    #6) How are you going to make money?
    As you touch on in your post, a business needs to make money if it wants to survive…
    Great (and simple) post. Steve 🙂

  8. I think the best question would be: What would really makes you satisfied and will give you the interest to work on for long hours. Having a website is not that easy to handle and needs dedication to do so. And its not just simply having a website but you have to develop it, this is called web development.

  9. Good advice, I would also ad: how are you going to do it.
    Sometimes a good idea may fail if it’s execution costs too much for instance.

    Knowing what, where, for whom and how means that you have all angles covered.

  10. Good advice. If you aren’t already answering these questions then you will fail.

  11. Yeah. Starting a business is not as easy as counting 1, 2, 3. It needs deep study and future imagination if you can still handle the task in 5-10 years from now. But operating such will also have its risk. As they say, you will never succeed if you don’t take the risk and is afraid of failure.

  12. it’s also important to note that the burn rate for start-ups is very highy, you should stay positive and keep persevering. Just look at all the famous singers, actors and business pepople, thety have all had to struggle to get to the top, and no doubt have failed many times before succeeding

  13. DVD for Car says:

    Personally, I think those 4 questions are a good start, and I need to constantly remind myself of them. My biggest failing is getting sidetracked, rather than sticking to the basics of my original plan.

  14. I think these are great questions for anyone starting a business. I would also add:

    What is the need?

    How are you going to fulfill it?

  15. A good advice, the hardest part to answer is no. 4, why do you do it…so it’s really important that you should know your objective first then proceed with your plan. That will answer why you do it…

  16. searchlackey says:

    Once you have a gameplan and objected then you can go about implementing it.

  17. all 4 questions are very important .. thnx for reiterating them..

  18. Simple yet I think effective. Having a plan is very important. Your plan lets you know where to start and where you are leading. Also, I find those questions motivating. I guess for those who want to start a business, the very first thing they have to do is know as much as they can about marketing and all the necessary information they may need.

  19. guerra afganistan says:

    Exceed your customers expectations always. Not just in your work but also sharing of your knowledge and your service with honesty and integrity.

  20. In life, sometimes simple things can do extra ordinary outcome. In your article, it is just a simple question yet it can do extra ordinary achievement through it. And sometimes a plan is always simple to construct but it’s very complicated to begin and work out. So do simple things and strive for that. nice questions you got there. It catches my attention.

  21. Answering question #4 would provide the answers to the other three questions. To attain your objective (why you do it), you have to determine your customers (who you do it for) based on your area of expertise (what you do). I believe you already know who you are.

  22. Couldn’t agree with you more! I literally spent weeks on coming up with the plan for my business. I can appreciate how starting with a solid foundation is imperative to success. Thanks for the reminder.

  23. Jep, i really think you got a point here.

    If you do something that’s far away from who you are… you wont be succesfull

  24. 1. Who you are?
    i am sarah
    2. What you do?
    alldiseases.org
    3. Who you do it for?
    its my own website
    4. Why do you do it?
    because i think it is a good way to promote my website…

    thanks
    $arah..

  25. Starting a business is really tough. When you thought everything is well-planned, unexpected things happen. But knowing the answers to the questions you gave will help a lot. These answers will keep you motivated and not lose hope even when things don’t turn out the way you have planned it.

  26. a business plan is good but starting a business is really tough..Keep in mind that
    if you are going to start your business then first of all treat your customer with nice nature hope it will help you alot…
    thanks
    lara

  27. i would also add
    1)What do you believe about the business you are in?
    2)What is the purpose of your organization?
    the above 4 questions are really very nice to help and start our business..nice sharing
    thanks
    katy..:)

  28. hello to all,

    Do what you love. You are going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly deeply enjoy what you do, whether it is running fishing charters, creating pottery or providing financial advice.

  29. Such simple questions but yet the answers can really get you thinking about the business you want and have. The important thing to start a company is to have a general idea of which way you want to go although most of the time there are lots of suprises along the way.

  30. Who you are?
    Ernest

    What you do?
    Florist of WindowBox.com and HooksandLattice.com

    Who you do it for?
    Do it for our company

    Why do you do it?
    To promote the websites and create a go green campaign aside from the money the we are earning for the business.

  31. John Anthony says:

    This information is really useful and definately is comment worthy! hehe. I’ll see if I can try to use some of this information for my own blog. Thanks!

  32. This is great advice for The important thing to start a company is to have a general idea of which way you want to go although most of the time there are lots of suprises along the way.

  33. Do you think that just because your business is small you can’t outsource? There are ways to send your writing, IT tasks and other needs overseas to add efficiency to your enterprise.

  34. John Maxx says:

    Thanks for everyone, its huge information for small business how to start, i hope start a small business through internet. Now a day people are wast use internet with knowledge & everything..

  35. Who , Why, What, to Whom and another thing is How to are necessary to answer for the success of any business and also helpful in formulating business vision and mission statement.

  36. I am currently in the process of writing my business plan. Without going into too much detail, I have spent weeks doing research to find out if it is doable, and the best approach to take.

    I already know that I am passionate about this and my work doesn’t really seem like work when I am passionate about something.

    Your advice is great. I will keep coming back.

  37. best satellite tv says:

    Yes,it’s correct! We need to have thorough answer for all above four question. More importantly first two question weigh more than other and remaining two question will have automatically their answers. It’s something what we can start our business on our liking way.
    Thanks Dawud . It has been very informative!

  38. The 4 questions seems a good way to start. I agree that one needs to know what they’re about and how their service will help other people. I should know because that’s what I did.

  39. vinyl siding richmond says:

    These questions are not only important to consider in the formulation the business plan.These guidelines are necessary to follow for the survival of the business as well.

  40. zinstant cash says:

    Really these all questions are very important and, if a business thinks about these questions before starting business. These all four questions are basic questions to assess yourself so that you can know that how to improve your business.

  41. francoslicer says:

    interesting article,i agree with you proper business plan is very necessary while starting any kind of business in the world.in my opinion the above four questions are takes an important role while making a good business plan.if any one answer these questions honestly he would become a successful businessman.

  42. The why I do it is easy – I love to help people and see the smile on their faces when we get past a block or miserable feeling. I have a bit more trouble specifically defining a “who” or limiting myself to a specific ‘what’.

  43. chevrolet trucks says:

    There they have mentioned the simple rule to develop the growth of business as there are loads of ways but to have a business with no hurdles is not possible.
    Depending upon the market and the customer the business runs as though there are few points given in the blog is quite fact i agree,market plans,revenue taxes profit loss are parts of the business a businessman needs loads of patience in him for survival of business.

  44. Very informative post. It is really true that knowing what to do, where to start, and why you are doing it can improve and grow a better business. Those questions are obviously effective and useful especially for newbies who want to set up a business in this ever competitive world of biz.

  45. Your post is excellent. It is best that you love the Business that you want to start and I agree that the 4 simple questions will help you how to start your business right.

  46. This is great advice. There’s a great TED presentation by Simon Sinek who says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

  47. This information is really useful and definately is comment worthy.If you are going to start your business then first of all treat your customer with nice nature hope it will help you a lot.Sharing of your knowledge and your service with honesty and integrity.

  48. I would like to also comment on the TED presentation by Simon Sinek. It really goes hand and hand with this post and the two presentations offer amazingly valuable information.

  49. jonalyn ferrer says:

    I am very sure that four questions will drive you and your business to success. We all know that it is much easier to say rather than to do. But by learning self-discipline also will help you attain your goals and objectives. Thanks for sharing this ideas.

  50. “Begin Each Day As If It Was On Purpose”
    that’s what i live by. Even when I was unemployed a long time ago, I woke up every single morning, 7am to be exact, with a plan. I had a plan to get something done, no matter what it was. Then there were internet marketing, and I’ve been attached every since. When you’re really interested in something, and have a passion for it. I think you suppose to do it for the people rather than yourself. If you try to run a internet business based around you, then you won’t get the maximum potential out of your business. So do it for the people, then do it for you.

  51. SEO Training Delhi says:

    I agree with you that one needs to know what they’re about and how their service will help other people. I should know because that’s what I did.

  52. writing a term paper says:

    I agree, those four questions best fit to the person who wants to run business. It will help a lot to create business very well.

  53. sellmyrangerover says:

    In business there are a hundred failured with every success, it sounds cheesy but persisitance is what coumts, look at Dyson and Richard Branson.

  54. Hi Dawud, thanks for the posting. I agree, answering these four simple questions are the fundamentals to starting a new, successful business. It’s not going to be easy trying to grow a business without a clear and concise business plan. Thanks for the refreshing tips!

  55. If you want to start your own business then first you have to decide What is your objective?What do we want to achieve and how will various help you to meet these goals!!

  56. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, but I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It is lovely price enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the net will probably be a lot more useful than ever before.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Last week I introduced 4 simple questions to help you start and grow your business. They are the same 4 questions I use with my clients every day. They’re purposefully simple. Yet behind their simplicity lies all the depth and detail you need to create a successful business. Answer these questions fully and you’ll be on your way. […]

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    […] 4 Simple Questions to Help You Start & Grow Your Business (dmiracle.com) […]

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    […] Last week I introduced 4 simple questions to help you start and grow your business. They are the same 4 questions I use with my clients every day. They’re purposefully simple. Yet behind their simplicity lies all the depth and detail you need to create a successful business. Answer these questions fully and you’ll be on your way. […]

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