Do you want clients to buy into your vision or purchase

Sahil Parikh

So you want to float your own start-up. Hmmm, nothing wrong with that.

Some float their own companies because they have a ‘eureka moment’ and want to turn their brainwave into a money-spinner while still others want to ‘retire at 30’. Where as you might want to get in on the gravy train and make some really big bucks or you loathe being chained to a desk all day and want to be your own boss. Sounds really cool, right?

There are probably as many reasons people get into business as there are start-ups! But get this. There is only ONE reason an entrepreneur should do business if he/she wants to get it right.

It's the WHY.

Buying Into Your Idea
So before you put the wraps on your marketing plan, budgets and five-year projections, here’s something you want to think about. Why exactly do you want to be an entrepreneur? What is your purpose? What is that driving force (Money? Wrong answer!) that motivates you to get up every morning and work on your idea? Why will people buy from you and not your competitors?
 
It is absolutely paramount to nail the WHY before you roll and, yes, these three little letters can make or break your business. The answer to the WHY, my friend, is that there must be a belief in your product or service. To make your company work, people must believe in what you believe. It’s not about buying your product or service, it’s about buying into your purpose.

What, How & Why
Last year, someone sent me a video and I have since watched it a dozen times. It was a TED talk video by Simon Sinek on ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’. If you’re running a business or thinking of starting one, this video is a must-watch. Trust me, it is the most important lesson you will learn about your business. I am surprised MBA schools don’t have an entire course on this!

Sinek points out that every company knows ‘what’ they do, most companies know ‘how’ they do it but very few really know ‘why’ they do what they do. In his thought-provoking talk, he asks why, in a level-playing field, some companies are successful whereas others aren’t. The answer is: "The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe."

Talk To Yourself
While working on our new software which we will be releasing in a month Brightpod.com, we began thinking about the WHY.

I had deep conversations with myself, going back to the days when I started my business. I thought about what I believed in and what I cared about. Before I even got started designing and planning the app, I wanted to know why our app would be different from the competition. With so much competition around (especially with web apps), it was even more important to nail the ‘why are we in business’ (also called your ‘purpose’) aspect than what we were actually doing. At the risk of sounding repetitive, remember, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.

I worked on our WHY and realised that I had started the business back in 2005, to build beautiful, clean websites and then moved on to building simple, easy-to-use and fun software. From the very beginning, the driving force was ‘attention to detail’. By undergoing this exercise, my team and I have a reason to get up and get going every single day. We make software that people love using.

Why Some Succeed, Others Don’t
Most importantly, the WHY becomes our guide to making important business decisions. If adding a new feature doesn't align with our WHY, we don't do it. Or if a potential partner resonates with our WHY, we know we are on the same page. 

It’s not about pricing or about how many features we have. It’s solely about knowing why we are in business and aligning that purpose with like-minded prospects – customers and potential partners. Think about it – this is how Apple was built. Apple's purpose is to think differently and to challenge the status quo. Everything they produce epitomises great design and transforms industries. People who buy Apple products understand this purpose and are thus fiercely loyal to the company. The Apple brand is bigger than its products. Let me ask you this: how many Blackberry users know of RIM? What is RIM's purpose? I don't know.

Moment Of Truth
It is absolutely imperative that you think about your WHY before you do anything else. Drop your plans, take a vacation and just think about why you started or are starting your business. Figure this out and, trust me, you know you have a winner.

The WHY is probably the most powerful revelation that you will ever have about your business – and, of course, the same applies to life!
 

Sahil Parikh is an author, web entrepreneur, founder & Chief Trailblazer of Synage Software - a technology company that successfully pioneered one of India's first home-grown SaaS products, DeskAway in 2007. You can view all his blogs at http://sahilparikh.com/