Determining and Living Your Business’s ‘Why?’

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At Platinum, we strive to live by the values that are important to us every day, both on a business and personal level.

Being generous is one of our core values, but more than that – it’s why we are in business. The ability to help others and make a difference in the world is what gets us up in the morning and motivates us to do more.

We live out our ‘why’ through the Platinum Foundation; our not-for-profit organisation which enables us to have a positive impact through child sponsorship and projects. Our One Van One Child initiative means that for every Platinum Electricians van that’s out on the road, we sponsor a child in a developing country.

In the same way that being generous helps give us inspiration and motivation each day, we think it’s really important for all businesses to be built on a solid ‘why’.

New business ventures often run into questions of ‘Why are we doing this?’ and ‘What do I hope to achieve?’ early in their development. More established companies also go through phases of introspection when rapid change or reliance on negative habits creates a less than pleasant workplace.

We’ve put together for how you can begin to determine your business’s ‘why’, with some examples of how our core value of ‘be generous’ is integrated into every aspect of our business.

Consider what speaks to your soul

Running a business can be really tough at times, and if you aren’t 100 percent committed to making your goals and vision a reality, you’ll struggle to nurture your business when times get tough. Having a core ‘why’ that really speaks to you is essential to help you continue to grow as a business.

And as your business starts to grow, having a strong motivation beyond simply making money can help you keep pushing your business forward in the good times too.

For us, that motivation is helping others. While there are plenty of ways to do business, many successful ventures and business people share this value of generosity in spirit and action. Bill Gates is famous for his philanthropy, as is Warren Buffett, who has donated over $21.5 billion over the course of his lifetime.

Donating is only one way to be generous. Businesses like Google have been offering free software for years, using the analytics derived from the use of their products to improve them quickly and effectively. Other smaller software companies frequently offer equity to their team to encourage more involvement in the growth of their products. So a strong why that’s fully integrated into your company can even help motivate your team members and improve your products too

Involve the right people

While there are numerous frameworks a business can adopt for hiring and managing staff, history is littered with tales of companies fashioned from a few friends working out of a garage.

Who you involve in your business will greatly shape its identity. In turn, your staff and partners will also be shaped by your venture. Knowing the ‘right people’ might be less about what is on their resume and more about their character, aims and goals. At Platinum, we love to hire people who are excited by our Platinum Foundation and One Child One Van initiative, because that means that across the company we are all share a common motivation and common values.

Establish core values

Have you ever engaged with a business that seems at cross purposes? Value dissonance is sadly not uncommon and ultimately, it leads to inefficiency in the development of the business and alienation of customer bases.

Core values are important to any business venture, but establishing them can be fraught with complications. Geoff DiMasi recommends setting a timer on your early jam sessions:

“My partner and I began our process with some borrowed time on a layover heading back from a conference. We took out our journals, set a timer for 10 minutes, and began writing down our core values.”

Cores values are different from goals, in that they represent HOW you do the things you do, as opposed to WHAT you want to do. For example, one of our goals at Platinum is to become the world’s greatest customer-focussed electricians. Our core values dictate how we set about achieving this goal – with generosity, humility and a keen desire to have a go!

Talk to your customers

Your products and services only exist if your customers do. Take the time to find out what they want and how you can help shape their needs with your products. They will appreciate the effort you go to, and some will become advocates for your brand as well.

If you ever find yourself asking ‘Why am I doing this?’ it might be the perfect time to discover what your customers love about what you do. At Platinum, we find that our customers love our commitment to generosity and that reinforces to us that our ‘why’ also helps us to build a loyal customer base, which in turn allows us to help more people in the long run.

Maintain focus

Once you’ve determined your business’s ‘why’, it’s important to maintain focus on it. You might do this through inductions for new employees, regular updates to your full team, and your everyday actions that help provide an example for other employees.

As our CEO Josh says, “if you have a strong enough reason of ‘why’ you’re in business then the ‘how’ becomes easy.”