It’s a simple word, but to me, it’s probably the most important question in the English language. Why’s that? It’s simple — the power of finding my own why has driven the success of my business over the past 15 years. And with it, that one word “why” has provided my family with an amazing life experience — part of my personal “why.” 

Now, I don’t know you, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but if you’re the type of person who’s reading this, I can make a few very positive assumptions. 

I would be willing to wager that you’re a person who wants more out of life. If you didn’t, why would you read a post about finding the why of your business? After all, do you want more or less connection with your family? Do you want more or less wealth? Do you have a passion for the products and services you sell, or is it just a job?

Again, I’m fairly certain that the answer to each of these questions is obvious. You love your family and want more connection and wealth to provide for them. And I know you love the business, products, or services you provide, or you would never have taken the risk of starting a small business in the first place! Am I right?

Sit back and take a moment and answer these questions. You may even want to write them down and then, once you finish this “Finding the why” article, see if your answers are still the same or if they’ve evolved.

Why did I start my business?

Why should someone buy from my business over my competitor?

Why do I want to keep working to build my business?

Finding the “Why” of Your Life and Business

I titled this section to feel a bit like a magical journey. And it should be. That’s because you have the power to engineer your business and your life. 

This is the beginning of something big. You can call it a mindset shift or a pathway to better focus on what matters in your business, but what’s important is understanding yourself and using that to power success.

Who Am I?

You are the basis of everything. 

So, who are you at heart? I’ll start by saying that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some people love the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. They need to be in a high-risk/reward environment. Others fill their cups by being the operator. To them, nobody else can do what they do — these are doers like Tom Brady, a dentist, or a life coach. Then there are the owners. This personality is great at managing others and getting the best out of their performance. 

Now, you may be thinking that the entrepreneur and the owner sound very similar, but they are not. You can think of a true entrepreneur as someone who gets the business rolling and then moves on to another venture. The owner is happy to run an established small business and work to keep the trains running on time. So, which do you identify with? The entrepreneur, the operator, or the owner? More importantly, who do you want to be?

What is Your Current State?

How would you label your daily life? 

If you really sat there and reviewed your mental state throughout any given day (and for some, even during sleep or lack thereof), how would you classify it? Do you worry most of the time about payroll or deliveries? Or do you focus and live in a state of growth and abundance? As in, rather than worrying about things and behaving like a turtle in a shell, are you a person who lives the day and focuses on your customers and how to be better?

Think about it — if your every day is filled with worry and fear about this problem or that, your life is worry and fear. Is that why you started your business? I would guess the answer to that is probably “NO.” If you’re worried all of the time, how do you think that affects your customer and employee interactions? Not to mention your family.

If you’re living in a state of fear, anger, or any other negative emotion, the first thing you need to ask yourself is simple — is this how I want to live my life and run my business? 

For some people, the answer to that question is YES. Whether it is nature or nurture, they cannot operate any other way. However, I don’t think that’s you by the simple fact you’ve read this far. 

You are different. You want to be happy and grow a thriving business. The fastest way to a positive state is to change your focus, and you’ll change your life. 

Rather than focusing on how tight payroll will be this week, ask a better question. How can we bring in $500 more this week? Or, how can I create three raving fans of my business this week so that next week’s payroll issues will be a thing of the past? 

Here are examples of how to change the state of your focus and your businesses focus:

  • If you’re an owner, work to build the morale of your employees since they are likely the face of the company in many businesses. Share your excitement around a launch or around your passion for your product or service. Remind them that everyone is more than the face of your business — you are helping your clients solve their problems.
  • If you’re an operator or entrepreneur, look internally and consider what may really be causing your anxiety or stress. Will working to get more done release it, or will taking an hour to run or walk help to clear your mind? Consider how you can provide even more value for your customers. Ask, how can I help more people/customers today?

Maybe your new challenge (notice I said challenge and not problem) will be, “How can I hire more people to cover the demand I’ve built?” Change what you focus on, and believe me, when you have a challenge, such as an angry customer, you’ll manage the situation to a much better outcome for everyone. And, don’t forget, others are watching how you handle every situation. If you handle something with anger or frustration, how will your employees or kids handle a similar situation?

What is Work?

Work is activity without a higher purpose. Do you classify your business as work? 

I am as guilty of this as anybody because labels matter. I’ll say I have to work today, but that’s not really true. I love the web design, email marketing and digital marketing services my company provides, and I truly love helping clients achieve their goals. What I do is not work because, as an owner/operator (somewhere in the middle), I relish the excitement of building something new and helping clients increase sales. That is my higher purpose.

When you started your business, you likely did so for a number of reasons. However, is it feeling like work now? If the answer to that question is YES, why is it feeling like work? Is it boredom, stress, or something else? If you’re feeling that you’re heading to work every day, how is that any different than someone punching a clock at the local factory? Is that what you want, or do you want something more? Again, this is a rhetorical question — if you’re reading this, I know that you want something more. You want your life to be more than work, you want an extraordinary business and life. 

Finding the “Why” of Your Business

Now it’s time. Let’s work together to find or rediscover the “why” of your small business. Your “why” is the essence of everything you and your business do and why you do it. When you find it, I need you to work to infuse it into every interaction and transaction. Without a solid “why,” you’re working — not creating something bigger than yourself. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Think back

If you just started your business, this should be easy, but if it’s been a few years, go back in time. 

Where were you in your life when you started your business? Did you have kids? Were you single? What prompted you to start the business? Did you get laid off, or was it a passion project? Who and where were you when you started your business on Day 1? Or, maybe you inherited your business from someone — what was their purpose, and how does that mesh with yours?

Consider your legacy

Look ahead! 

This part should be fun. Where do you see your business in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years? Do you want to continue ownership, or is your goal to build it up and sell it? Remember that we as humans overestimate what we can accomplish in 1 year, but we wildly underestimate what we can accomplish in 10 years or more. 

What do you want people to say about you and your business when you pass it on or pass away? 

What is your unique business value proposition?

What does your business do better than your competitors? Or, better stated, if you were to consider buying from your own business or another business, which would you choose and why? 

If you would choose a competitor over your own business, that’s a huge red flag. Fix it.

What does your ideal life look like?

Many business owners hate owning their business for any number of reasons. Do you love your business, or are you just working in it? Do you have the balance between your business and your personal life that you want and envision? Do you want to spend more time at home, or do you want to involve your family more in your business?

By envisioning what you really want, you’ll be more likely to guide the path of your business to be a venture of love.

Craft your “why” statement

This does not need to be perfect, but you should be able to pinpoint a specific reason you want to run your business or an outcome for the business. 

Maybe your “why” is to provide an amazing experience for your customers or contribute to a cause you care about. By having a purpose beyond financial gains, you’ll provide yourself with even more motivation. Or, maybe your “why” is centered around providing a revenue stream so that you can spend more time with your family. There are as many “whys” as there are businesses. Maybe you even have two “whys.” 

No matter what the “why” is, it must be real to you and connect with who you are at a deeper level.

Does your “why” align with your beliefs, values and personal goals

So often, business owners craft a “why” that does not align with their core beliefs, values, or personal goals. 

Imagine trying to be successful in a business you inherited, but the business is in conflict with your personal goal to be a craftsman. How will that conflict affect your passion for the business and your long-term success with the business?

What is your desired proximity?

This goes back to who you are as a person and how you want to be involved. 

Do you want to be an owner and manage the business, do you want to simply invest and let others handle everything, or do you want to be the operator? 

Who you are and how you connect with the business employees matters. You may be the cheerleader, the coach, or the player — it’s up to you.

Think of one thing you wish you would have handled differently

We all make mistakes, but this is different.

Is there something that happened with a colleague, an employee, or a customer that you wish you had handled differently? If so, stop worrying about it right now. Change your focus to not letting it happen again the same way an NFL quarterback reviews what happened with an interception and then adjusts their strategy so it won’t happen again.

Do you have business or other role models?

Success leaves a trail. 

If you’re having a hard time with an area such as marketing your business, don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. Someone else has probably been exactly where you are today. Talk to them or research what they did in the same or similar situation. 

How can you take the things they did or the lessons they learned to save you time and build your success story?

What obstacles have you overcome in your life and business?

Your past can help your future. 

By writing down areas that were challenges in the past, you can look to the future, knowing you’re capable of rising to any occasion.

Take massive action

It’s easy and fun to plan and think about all of the benefits of success. It’s another to get into the weeds and start taking action.

Gift yourself the power of momentum.

Start by writing down three simple things to get yourself and your team moving forward immediately. Then, write a simple plan to continue that momentum every day. Maybe it’s a team meeting every morning, or maybe it’s focus time for you to go back to your “why” and make sure your path is clear and correct. 

No matter your goals, chart a course and do not slow down.

Engage your tribe

You can’t do it alone!

If you have family or employees, they all want to see you and the business succeed. Talk to them. Tell them your vision and how they will be a part of it. If they can see themselves as part of something bigger than showing up and collecting a paycheck, you’re well on your way.

Celebrate every milestone

Sometimes when people achieve big goals, they become depressed only a few short days later. And they get stuck wondering, “Now what?”

To avoid this pitfall, set milestones for success, such as a new client, an employee’s first sale and so on. These mini celebrations and acknowledgments build up and keep everyone excited and motivated. 

As you approach your biggest goals, set new goals to keep moving forward.


You will likely fail far more times than you succeed.

I have lived this truth my entire business career, and it’s what drives me personally. If you don’t find success one way, tweak the approach and try again. If you have a clear “why” and end outcome, you will get there. 

Never give up.

The Journey Starts Now

Earlier in this post, I posed a few questions to you. Take a moment and answer them again.

Why did I start my business?

Why should someone buy from my business over my competitor?

Why do I want to keep working to build my business?

Have your answers evolved at all? How have they changed? What is your current state — positive and excited or something else?

Take a look at your “why” or “whys” and, regardless as to whether they changed or not over the course of this article, hone in on what’s important in the here and now. Take massive action to set your business and life up for success. How will you turn your “whys” and use them to achieve not only financial success but a level of happiness and fulfillment around your entire life? Who do you want to be for your staff, your family and your customers? Only you can answer these questions, but I know that you’re headed in the right direction.

I hope this is the first, but not the last, time you self-reflect to hone your business and life to be everything you want and dreamed it to be.