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The Single, Most Important Question You Can Answer About Your Business

why.jpgWhy?

Really, that’s it.

Why?

It’s the most important question to ask yourself about your business. It’s also the most important question to answer.

Why?

Simple – you have to know the reasons…the motivations…the rationelle for everything you do.

Nothing you do, say, create, experience, generate, design, produce, promote, develop or decide upon should go without you asking, “why!

So…why are you in business? Why do you market to the people you do? Why is your business not as successful as you want?

And…the next most important question…

What? What are you going to do about it?

Do you ask…and how do you answer these questions about your business?

(note: image from Yves* on Flickr)

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Comments

  1. To make money. It is why I get up in the morning. I have to make money to survive. I am also business to provide people with information about new homes and communities. I want my visitors to get the best deal on a new home. I believe we have the best product out there! So I guess it is not all about the money, though a lot of it is.

  2. I am not successful at my job because I haven’t(couldnt choose) chose the best job for me so I do no effort to change something.I had better work in computer sector(I wish)

  3. Those are great questions about life in general, not just about a business. (As you know, I’m not selling anything. My blogs are about sharing our adventures in life.) I knew at an early age that I wanted to find work that was interesting and meaningful for me, and I worked hard to find it, to prepare for it. So touching into that deep why, that deep passion, was the most important step for me. Once I knew that I kept trying things until something resonated and I found the home in life I was looking for.

    Great topic!

  4. Yes i think why is an important question to ask about why you do something… are you knowledable enough, do you have the vocation, are you passionate about it, several questions are answered when you ask that ‘why’

  5. You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t have a good answer to this question.

    Your typical person would answer “money” but I think there is more to life than money – yes we all need it to get by and its a nice thing to have, but “the love of money…”

    You know the rest.

    So what’s your answer to the questions you posted Dawud?

    I believe all people/business need to have a higher purpose and make an impact on the world.

  6. The high attrition rate in startups is due to these questions being honestly answered. The problem is not in the questions but in answering them with brutal honesty. That unfortunately is very difficult to owners of businesses. Strange, but I would like very much to be proved wrong.

  7. Paul,
    Shouldn’t work be about making money? I think so. And the balance we find between profit and purpose, for instance, is up to each of us to discern for ourselves.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    usa,
    So what do you do now?

    Jean,
    I’ve found that it’s very difficult to ask why about your business if you’re not asking it about yourself. The two are intertwined.

    Living Rooms,
    There are. It’s one of the great questions my 4-year-old daughter reminds me of constantly.

    optimization,
    I hear you.

    My answer…because it’s what’s in my heart. Sounds trite – but true. My business is formed around having a purpose. And that purpose is helping business owners build and profit from the business that they love.

    I’m not talking about touchy-feely here. I’m talking about following your own inner knowing, beliefs and ideas about how to make a living. Where else do the ideas and passion for a business come from if not from within us?

    Home Recording,
    But you’re right. Many business owners – especially in the age of the internet – aren’t really business owners. They have no structure to their workday or a viable, measurable marketing plan. And they often don’t ‘work’ at it. Having a business is sort of a concept for them. And yes, they might get a few bucks here or there, but they’ll never reach the point of success without establishing solid business practices.

    So, you’re not wrong and there’s no reason to prove you that way.

  8. Dawud : So what do you do now?
    I am a teacher.In fact I sometimes love my job and am happy to open the horizons.Now I study html by myself and want to learn php.

  9. usa,
    Sounds great. Do you have web-development aspirations?

  10. Dawud”Do you have web-development aspirations?”
    Certainly yes.I want to do something different but I know it requires hardworking,experience and knowledge.I want to take it further than a hobby.

  11. I remember doing this to myself for hours and I totally owned and was defeated myself in the end.

    This will really open my eyes as to what I want to achieve when I blog.

  12. usa,
    Great. There’s tons of great information out all over the web about best practices. Good luck. And please, stay in the conversation here.

    BradBlogging,
    It will. Don’t you think it’s important to know why you do what you do?

  13. I think the why part is easy – it’s to make money, or make a living.

    Simple necessity. Most of us don’t have the luxury of choosing not to.

    That being so, I believe the real question becomes “What?”

    What will we do to make a living?

    This is the hard part and the reason why so many folks are miserable going to work, getting up every day, and so on.

    If we would take the time to figure ourselves out, out likes and dislikes, etc. we’d be more able to choose a vocation and career that were suited to.

    And not everyone knows what they really want to do, so it’s okay to be wrong a few times while trying things out.

    The mistake so many make is in letting themselves get trapped into continuing to do something they hate.

    I watched a guy who kept working a job he detested, just so he could get to retirement and do what he wanted.

    A year before retiring, he was found to have cancer. Spent some months in hospital, but it eventually killed him.

    That was a sad thing to see, but at the same time it motivated me to make some difficult career choices, and moves that others thought me nuts for doing.

    I’ve never forgotten that life doesn’t wait and we can never count on having tomorrow.

    I didn’t always, but now I focus a lot more on taking time to smell the roses.

    Find something you like to do, and ignore when the rest of the world tries to fit you into its mold.

  14. Never asked myself these before. But I do see the importance of it now. Will surely do so in future.

  15. The questions sounds good, i think there are very importent

  16. j2watches,
    Right on! I’m right with you that we should march to the beat of our own drummer and definitely not wait to find what we love.

    Yet, the question remains why? Why do I go to the job I hate? Why don’t I do something else? And once I know what I want to do, I have to ask, why and I choosing this?

    Why is the question that rights our ship. Without why, what is often meaningless.

    Thoughts?

    Dining Room,
    Why haven’t you ask yourself why?

    Sue,
    Why do you think they’re important? And how would you answer why you do what you do?

  17. folusho orokunle says:

    great information about business and life. good luck to you.thanks

  18. Hi,

    You have such a great website with nice and useful information for life.

  19. thnk

  20. Computer Repair says:

    Very powerfull post. My number one reason of course is to make money for my family. Number two reason is because I’m tired of hearing horror stories about computer repair companies. Why do these companies rip off their customers?
    We arn’t as big as we want to be because unlimited computer repair is a new concept that is slow to catch on.

    I guess I’m thinking out loud here. Really though, If you don’t know why your in business, then whats the point?

  21. but there are two kinds of why – two main ones, one is because of the money , two because it is something that thus person like.

  22. Six Pack Shortcuts says:

    Hi David. I love your articles since they are very, very inspiring. But, when will you give us NEW stuff?

    Your questions are great and make me think about myself and my business, but I’ve read some of it before.

    Please David, give us new things to think about and to get better :-)

  23. I don’t think there’s one question that magically replaces all others. Why and What are crucial, but so are How, When and Where.

    It’s important to be at the right place at the right time. You’re just adding that it’s also important to be be there with the right tools, and for the right reasons…

  24. I think “why?” is one of the most valuable questions we can ask, period. Not just in business.

    Another valuable question I’ve asked myself a lot lately is “so what?” It helps me make sure I’m providing value, not just pontificating for my own pleasure. If I can’t give a respectable answer to this question, I move on to the next task.

  25. Here is my why, during college days i started browsing a lot for money making in online and found blogging with adsense is the easiest way make money, to get the best of my blog i started customizing my blog and very soon found interesting in designing area. But didn’t realize at that time web designing would be part of my life. Finished my college got placed in HCL, worked as customer engineer for 2 years but i didn’t find anything interesting in that job. so i quit. Now working as a web designer with my own business.

    yes, i find my job interesting that’s the answer for your why, Dawud.

  26. A good article. i didn’t have to ask myself this question, because I had no choice. My wife was pregnant for the second time and we had to do something to increase our earnings, otherwise we would go bankrupt. So I set up a company and now 3 years later I am very happy, I did that. I encourage everyone to do the same. I run my business because of money. Thankfully I do something I really like.

  27. True, its important to ask the question ‘why?’ before planning anything. As businessmen we have to ask ourselves certain questions. I found the post very interesting.

  28. Today India News says:

    You´re definitely right. Currently I´m managing two companies and I mainly began the second because I had become very effective in the first one. And I already have a third one covered up.

  29. Why; consumers have a need for a product or service, and business owners have need to make money or have the interest of providing.

  30. That’s exactly what I believe. You have to ask yourself “Why?” That’s the clear motivation. Some people are motivated by money, some fame, and some generally want to help people. I tend to go with a little of every one of those reasons.

  31. The why is very important. And you should go deep. My first why was always: I want to make more money. But this isn’t really rewarding, so I quickly found much more important why’s.

  32. It is very interesting to read answers. In Russia some people are in business because of money, but it’s too difficult to make a good business here, specially in regions, so you have to be a little crazy to start it. Your business has to become your hobby, your life… Why are you in business? Because of my character structure.

  33. Katipsoi Zunontee says:

    This area is best, that gives more money. I’ll open my own company to undertake, rather than be an employee .. ect hugs

  34. This is so ”trivial” but still something that is very important to remember in any aspect of life – great you bring it up!

    This applies to everything you do in life (business or no business). Some times it can be a little harder to figure out why you do something the way you do and sometimes even harder to change it – bad habits and likes… But first step to change anything is to ask why?

    Again great post!

  35. I don’t think ‘make money’ is the right answer personally, sure it is important that your business is profitable. However, most people start businesses to build a lifestyle for themselves.

    You have to ask yourself what is most important to you:

    – Doing the work you love, with the clients you’ve always dreamt of
    – Having more freedom to do things
    – Spending more time with your family
    – Not having to work 9-5
    – Being your own boss – making your own decision.

    Greedy people who go into it for the wrong reasons wil never be as successfully, certainly will never be happy.

    I do what I do because I love my work, I love to teach and educate my clients and share my passion with people.

    Great blog, Dawud only found it be accident but I really liked this question!

    Thanks.

  36. If you don’t know why your in business, then whats the point? It is very interesting word “why” if you know why you do this why you work than 80 % of your life is sucessful.

  37. Yeah, and one of the most important “whys” is the one that is involving the target group. Who are they and why do you want to help them? Do they need you?

    In a bigger perspective you could even ask yourself: Why a website? Why not an app or a Youtube channel or a CDRom?

  38. i completely agree with you…that intention should be behind everything…or what you call why? Constantly seeing peoples intentions being in the wrong place with my competitors…when it should be focusing on giving a quality product. The panic of money gets in the way always. X

  39. For me the why used to be all about making money. Somewhere along the line that changed. Now mostly I do what I do for a new fun experience. Money just seems to be overrated.

  40. I agree with you that asking ourselves why we want this business is a very important question, because in my opinion there must be a reason why we do this business, it can’t be just money. There must be a goal in our life that motivates us, and this goal may be achieved by money.

  41. If your business is not providing value for your clients then it has no future as a respectable business. I always tell business owners to analysis whether or not they would want to be a client of their company.

  42. I’ve got to agree with a number of the commenters. For most people the answer is to make money (as you would expect it to be).

    But on the other hand there are people who would say they run their business for a different reason (because they enjoy what they do for instance), and the money is just a nice addition

  43. The first question to ask before setting up a business is that
    Am I gonna start a business for which the demand is high or it is highly possible to bring in the demand?

  44. Absolutely. There are a lot of people who want to start their own business but don’t know why they want to do it. Maybe that’s because they want more money? Or freedom (e.g. don’t have to wake up early and go to work…)

  45. Andrew McMaster says:

    My why is to help others. Let me explain. I am a firm believer that if you provide something of value then your visitors and clients will return for more. By helping others on my blog and facebook accounts I am slowly building a quality list of people who look forward to my updates and email subscriptions on a daily basis. By starting with my why of helping others I have succeeded in my end goal of making money. I think it is important to know that your why should not be to make money although that is your true and end goal.

  46. Freight Truckload says:

    Great post! Anyone who can’t answer that question is just in it for the money. Most successful business people are passionate about what they’re doing because they understand “why” their business exists. Even when things get hard or if they’re not making any money, the “why” answer makes it worthwhile. Knowing “why” is also the key to marketing or selling. When you know “why”, selling comes naturally.

  47. I think the question of Why is the most important question there is.
    Why needs to be the motivation – why do you wake up. I saw here that some have listed Money, thats find for some. But a good answer will do more then just let you go on with your day – a good answer can move people to do amazing things.
    My Why? it changes from time to time – and I think its ok to change. For now, my why is to make people able to access medicine (I work for a pharma company) and let them get on with their life. My boss some time pushes me boards the money part – but I look at that just as a way of keeping score

  48. Very powerful ideas are presented here by you regarding starting a new business. Your tips would be very helpful for me. I’ve also set up a new business recently.

  49. A good business is to develop to owner activity… for organization managemen,profit,loss these are only made by the business….

  50. i agree with you…that intention should be behind everything…
    A business management is very big process to maintain…a performence is made to a best positions..

  51. tctsinc says:

    Always i have eager to learn and earn something in my life.Whenever i free,I would think something about my life.How will settle in life like that? My best advice is Every person should think like this.

  52. croisiere promotion says:

    My meanly why is to be independent with my online business and share my interest throught blogs.

  53. Those are great questions!
    We must be aware to this questions might come.To avoid these, we must be open to different ideas and techniques on how we develop our businesses!
    It is always important that we would offer our best to our clients!

  54. In business, we should have goal settings so we’ll know where we are going…Must have a self-test first to answer the questions: Why I put up this business?
    How can I make this business grow???

  55. It’s funny. The main goal is to make money for many out there. Perhaps that’s why there’s so many unhappy people at what they do. Of course, a company must be profitable, but companies don’t run themselves. They are run by people.
    And people should ask themselves if what they do makes them happy, If they are helping others, if their company is making a difference. Regardless if you’re selling hotdogs or you’re a large retailer.

  56. Money being the primary reason, I feel a big reason why I also jumped into the startup band wagon was because I wanted to create something worthwhile to challenge myself.

    It is to experience the joy of creating something from scratch and growing it into a big thing.

  57. Don’t JUST ask “why?”, ask “why?” in the context of what you’re trying to achieve!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Dawud at dmiracle has been asking a lot of questions lately – he really knows how to make us think! This week he raised the single most important question about your business – WHY? [...]

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