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Human writing down their "why statement."

Why statements

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The term “why statement” gets thrown around quite a bit among branding and marketing professionals. But what does it actually mean, and how can having one help your business?

A why statement is the phrase you use to explain the motivation or purpose of an entity to change the world for the better.

The concept of why statements goes hand-in-hand with Simon Sinek’s idea that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In other words, people don’t make buying decisions with their heads, but rather with their hearts – in fact, research shows that a whopping 95% of consumers make buying decisions with their subconscious, rather than rational, minds.

But a surprising number of small businesses still sell to customers’ intellect rather than their emotions, which often leads to poor sales and slow growth. In a world where there are an infinite number of buying options, you need to speak to customers’ hearts, not their heads.

How can you do this? By uncovering your “why”, so that you, your employees, and potential customers are clear about why your business exists and what it hopes to accomplish. You can find your why statement by using this simple formula:

Why statement = To primary contribution so that primary impact

Examples:

  • To help business owners simplify their accounting processes so that they can spend less time and money on organizing their finances.
  • To educate people on the value of nutrition so that they can live healthy, fulfilling lives.
  • To make it easy for the elderly to use technology so that they can remain connected to the changing world around them.

Those people and businesses that understand their true “why” are likely to find and make strong connections with people who believe what they believe. People are far more likely to do business with companies that share their values, so connecting with like-minded individuals is crucial to small business success.

We’ve already talked about how important empathy and integrity are in running a successful business, but a strong why statement can help fuel and guide every other aspect of your business.

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Why Take the Stairs for “why statements”?

You know that your business needs a why statement in order to focus on goals that align with your business’s values. But if you haven’t worked with us before, you might be wondering why you should work with Take the Stairs on your why statement.

We guide you through

Our “Uncover your why” workshop guides you through every step in the process and provides an outside eye that can help you see the big picture more clearly.

We believe in the process

We use the process ourselves and know from experience that it works. To us, uncovering a business’s why isn’t just a nice thought – it’s fundamental to everything we do.

We provide a handout once complete

You’ll receive a handout that outlines your business’s why statement and the formula you used to build it, so you can tweak it as your business matures.

The history of “why statements”

The concept of using why statements in order was developed by Simon Sinek. He introduced the idea to the world in September of 2009 at the TEDxPuget Sound conference when he gave a speech entitled How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

The talk struck a nerve with people who were looking to lead with purpose and inspire others to do the same – at the time of writing, the talk has been viewed on the TED website more than 55 million times. Simon has since gone on to run his own agency, launch a successful podcast, and write a handful of best-selling books.

His book, “Infinite Game”, especially resonated with the Take the Stairs team – so much so that we’ve previously written about how his infinite game strategy can help small businesses prosper.

Today, a number of businesses and agencies like ours use Simon’s teachings when working with clients. We even have an “Uncover your why” workshop that’s specially designed to facilitate the process of helping our clients find their why statements – it walks people through the process step-by-step so they can get clear about the core beliefs that are driving their business.

How to use your “why statement”

Figuring out your why is a crucial part of any business’s branding process. But finding your why is only half the battle – you also need to use your why statement effectively in order for it to have an effect on your business.

Always start with your “why”

Your why statement should be considered as the foundation to any decision you make, so keep it front-of-mind at all times and make sure it’s well communicated – and documented – for all employees. Making decisions that are based on your why statement will help keep you focused on activities that align with your values and keep you moving towards your core business goals.

Align any decisions with your “why”

If a business decision goes directly against your why statement, it probably won’t feel quite right. And more importantly, it will likely cause a level of dissonance between your brand and your audience, potentially having adverse effects on brand loyalty.

Communicate your “why”

Whenever you’re trying to communicate to someone who asks, “what does your business do?” use your why statement. This helps create a clear, consistent picture of what your company does and what it stands for, whether you’re speaking to potential employees, marketing professionals, or prospective clients.

The Take the Stairs “why statement”

We practice what we preach at Take the Stairs and would never expect a client to take our word that something works unless we’ve tested it out for ourselves and know it to be true. So, naturally, we have a why statement of our own:

“To guide individuals through the complexities of business so that they can improve the lives of those they set out to help in the first place.”

To guide individuals through the complexities of business so that they can improve the lives of those they set out to help in the first place. The Take the Stairs Why Statement

Our why statement is essential to us, because our core goal is to help solve problems for the businesses we work with. Our motivation isn’t to be the hero, but to help enable others to be more successful and to reach the goals they’re pursuing.

We believe every person running a company got into business for a reason other than making a profit – they wanted to change the world in some way (almost always for the better). If we can make a difference by showing our clients how to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves, then we’ve done our jobs.

Ready to take the first step?

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Schedule your Uncover your “why” workshop

If you’ve always been the kind of business person to act on instinct without taking the time to pinpoint why it is that you do what you do, that’s great. Your natural knack for business has gotten you this far, so imagine how much further you’ll get if you underpin your business instincts with a comprehensive why statement that clearly shows the world what you stand for and how it makes you unique in your market.

If you’ve never formulated a why statement and find the prospect a bit daunting, you’re not alone. That’s why Take the Stairs offers a comprehensive Uncover your why workshop that guides you through the process from start to finish. The workshop includes several exercises and worksheets that help you drill deep into your business’s why so you can find your company’s authentic purpose.

A strong brand identity is a must for small businesses looking to attract a loyal customer base, and a strong brand identity starts with a clear why statement. If you’re ready to take the first step with our “Uncover your why” workshop, contact us to get started.

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