I've been reading Simon Sinek's "Start With Why" this week, and it prompted me to start a discussion.
Our WHY isn't "I am doing this to feed my family" or "I need autonomy and freedom", or "I want to build my nest egg with my own 2 hands". In this case, your WHY needs to talk about your client's needs, and how you service them.
Apple's dominance in the electronics market stems from their WHY of a desire "to challenge the status quo and empower the individual." Dell built computers and tried to get into the mp3 market, but their WHAT didn't convince people that their products were any good.
Southwest Airlines entered a crowded Texas market in 1970's, but their WHY was to be "the champion of the common man". They did so well at that, when the airline industry tanked after 9/11/01, their clients SENT THEM MONEY to keep them afloat. Meanwhile, every other airline was leaking like a sieve.
Starting with a WHY in your communication and policies helps potential clients understand how you are different and why they want to work with you. If you are working, day in and day out, from your WHAT - 'We do x,y, and z, can I give you a quote?", how does your client understand that your quote for x, y, and z is 10% higher than your competitor's because your employees are higher quality, you thought of everything in your quote and your competitor forgot $500 worth of something (which will cost them a lot more $ and frustration in the end)?
Don't complete on price - it's a downward spiral. Compete on service and quality, and communicate it by starting with your WHY and then your WHAT and HOW.
Need help tweaking your idea? Or even finding it? Maybe you exist because you needed work and you saw an under-served market. Maybe this is all you've ever done and you're good at it. You might not have started your business because of any burning WHY, but that doesn't mean you can't find it now. Let's grab a coffee or a beer and see if we can find one.
I help small contractors work smarter, not harder, in "pint size" ways. Let me pour over the drawings and ask a lot of questions to set up your estimate. Let me use those same questions and parameters to set up a schedule for your subs and your clients. Let me help you write proposals that sell your professionalism and I'll follow up to see what the client thinks.
You spend your time focused on what you do well, and let me help do the stuff you don't enjoy, so you can spend your time enjoying your small business, not drowning in it.
Please, take a minute to read this: The Myth of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
"Hard work doesn’t equal success anymore. Maybe it never did, but that’s another topic.
So what does? Doing something that matters.
Changing human lives in some small but significant way. Really giving, affirming, improving life."
It's hard to look at our day-to-day work on homes or office fit-outs and think that we're changing the world and doing something that matters. But if we do it with intention and put our heart into the work, our work CAN matter to someone.
How do you feel your vocation matters? Is it just to your family? Is it to the local community?