“Start with your why.” You’ve heard it several times. It’s probably the number one piece of advice in the online business sphere. And I get it. The essence of what they’re communicating is valuable and should definitely form a part of your thinking or consideration when drawing up a strategy, story and message (and design!) for your brand.
But, the term ‘your why’ sucks. And I think we can do better to help small online business owners take agency over such a meaningful component of their business.
So, let’s do that.
Your why is supposed to mean the reason that you do what you do.
However it’s too broad and quite vague, and makes little space for people who are doing what they’re doing out of necessity to earn an income or support themselves or their families.
When you’re met with the question “What’s your why?” it can be difficult to know where to even start unpacking your thoughts. Ending with some profound business mantra is a stretch at best.
I often used to ask my clients why they felt it was worth pushing through, even on the days they felt like burning their business to the ground. But, honestly, eve that is just surface level and doesn’t give enough guidance on what this small and mighty piece of brand strategy can do for you and your business.
The big why in your business is probably an overlap of your experience and values, and how they’ve informed each other.
So it makes sense for us to start there, yeah?
I’m not going to give you a step-by-step breakdown of how you should approach this because I don’t think it’s something best arrived at with a formula. I will, however, walk you through key things to consider, journal around or talk about with your business bff. These should get you thinking about why what you do and the results you specialise in are important to you.
What your business is born out of.
Think about your experiences in life.
Think about what you value as a human.
Think about how those experiences and values overlap.
The results from the last 4 bullet points are going to help you understand why what you do and the results you specialise in are important to you. And that is your ‘why’.
How you choose to arrange them into a phrase, paragraph or statement is up to you. Whether you share them publicly or keep it all to yourself is too.
But this is your story. The story your business is born out of. The strengths, experiences and passion that underwrites what you, who you do it for and how you do it differently.
The added bonus of this approach is that you have also developed loads of brand intimacy and understand the values that guide your business a lot better.
And those are integral parts to brand messaging that connects with the right people!
If you’re filled with ambition and purpose and looking for branding and business support that helps you achieve your vision, you’re in the right place.
I’m a brand and website designer with an approach centred on intimacy, so you’ll see that word a lot here.
I’m also a red wine enthusiast, amateur vegetable gardener, mom to an adventurous 5 year old, whippet lover with a thing for ginger cats and Cape Town local who loves the ocean.