Every company knows what they do, right? Coca-Cola sells soft drinks, Apple sells state-of-the-art technology devices, and Nike provides athletic apparel. Even businesses on a smaller scale know exactly what they provide to consumers. Any business that gets so far as to start selling goods or services at least knows what they do. If you don’t yet know that, you may still be okay.
Maybe you know how you’ll provide your products and services. Will you offer exceptional service? Will you make yourself available at any hour of the day? Maybe your plan is to provide sustainable products with minimal impact on the environment. Some small businesses may know how they’ll operate even before they know what they’ll offer. What most don’t know—or at least haven’t identified—is why. Why do you do what you do? How does this fit into your branding standards for your small business?
Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” He’s absolutely correct. There is a very good chance your competitors do exactly the same thing you do. You can set yourself apart by doing things a bit differently—by changing the “how” of the equation. Still, if you haven’t identified exactly why you do what you do, you have no hope of establishing a brand.
So, how can you make your brand all about the “why”? Here are 2 critical ways:
What Is Your Mission?
Your mission shouldn’t be “to make as much money as possible,” or “to be the biggest attorney in town.” For one thing, that’s not really a mission—at least not one your buyers can get behind. And that brings up the second reason you shouldn’t consider these things your ultimate vision for your company: Buyers will know. And they won’t like you very much.
Instead, focus on the true heart of your business. Consider Steve Jobs, who, by the most basic of descriptions, designed and developed computers. He once said, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” His passion—his vision—was people, not computers. The computers, and of course the iPhone, were his “what” that enabled him to realize his why. What is your passion? What is your higher mission? How do you want to change the status quo?
Who Are Your Buyers?
Before you can even consider why you’ll do what you do, you must consider whom you intend to serve. Sinek says, “A business doesn’t exist to promote its beliefs. It exists to produce results for its customers (who it serves). Understanding who your customer really is and the problem or pain they seek to solve is what differentiates a company in the marketplace and keeps it focused on the highest goal — creating customers.” The highest of ideals will serve no one if they don’t soothe someone’s pain points. What are your buyer’s problems? What sets you apart from your competitors, even if you offer the same services for similar prices? If you know the buyers you hope to work with, you know why they’ll choose you over anyone else.
As you can see, your products or services may not be as simple as you think. By developing a strong vision and mission, understanding the buyers who will connect to that vision, and knowing why those buyers need your services or products, then you begin to truly develop your identity.
Take some time today to focus on the “why” of your company. Why did you pursue your field in the first place? That answer alone may crystallize the rest of your responses. If you’re having trouble putting words to your vision, we can help. Together, lets discover your true brand identity.