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Knowing Why is a Big Part of Your Business Strategy

Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010

You know the more I think about this ‘WHY’ business, the more I see it being used, or in many cases not well understood and therefore not used well.  You see, I believe the easiest way to understand purpose and being ON PURPOSE® is to get your head around how your head works as a decision maker.

Think of it this way – when you wish to convey to your market that you can provide a service or products, consider that WHAT you do is generally understood by your marketing, the image you portray, and the communications relating to your products and services.

How you are going to provide this service is explained by your words.  You can tell anyone about the way you work, the customer service levels you wish to provide and who John in Accounts is in case there’s any issue with the billing. 

But the WHY is what comes from deep inside.  The Limbic part of the brain deals with feelings and intuition and we as customers tune into this often without even thinking about it and whether we know it or not will usually base our decisions on what this part of our brain is telling us.

The WHY is also the purpose behind what you do as a business operator (or teacher, parent, friend – but let’s just talk business for today).  It’s the driver and motivator.  If you don’t have a clear reason for doing what you do, customers tend to be less engaged, and often will seek alternatives to what you are offering from people who knowingly or not are connected to their purpose.

Let’s consider APPLE for a moment.  Their overriding purpose behind everything they do is to be the counter culture maker in design and technologies as they provide solutions to what their customers want, often coming up with solutions to things we didn’t even know we were challenged by yet.   Wow – that’s really thinking differently.

You see APPLE knows that by ensuring the company’s WHY is understood by people who want new, innovative and counter culture solutions (that we often don’t quite know we need yet) they can build a huge fan base of customers like me; many of us being early adopters who also think of ourselves as being innovative and fresh consumers.   Their WHY is what drives us to become so passionate about buying APPLE iPods, iPhones, iPads in their millions. 

Do Dell, HP, IBM, Compac, SONY etc have the same levels of talent, innovators, technology, and resources that APPLE have?   Of course they do. And collectively they also make outstanding products, but they don’t have the passionate fan base that APPLE have become so famous for having.  The people who will argue over dinner about the merits of APPLE technology and innovation as passionately as others will debate politics and religion.

But APPLE has a unique point of difference – it’s in how they think, the WHY.  This is powerful beyond measure, and the best thing of all is, we all have the potential to develop our WHY’s.  To be ON PURPOSE® in all that we do too.


Andrew’s appointments include: * Past board member of the Song Room * Board member of Florey Neurosciences Foundation Council * Past Board member Zoos Victoria Foundation * Board member of Petstock Foundation * Past Chairman of CAPRA - Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia @ Monash * Chairman of The Click Foundation  * Fundraising Committee of SecondBite * Patron and Founder of Caitlin’s Retreat * Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors * Chairman of Rees Partners Advisory Group