Why start a business

Why Are You in Business?

Whenever I begin working with a new client, one of the very first questions I ask them is, "Why are you in business? What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?"

What I've observed with a number of entrepreneurs, particularly those within the first three years of their entrepreneurial journey, is how often their personal and professional goals become misaligned. They discover their reasons for staying in business no longer match the reasons they started their business in the first place – a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Let me explain.

I place the initial motivation to start a business into one of the following categories:

LEGACY - People who have been bred to go into business, either by taking over an existing family business or starting their own with family support. Some may have grown up around other entrepreneurs and accept business ownership as normal.

MOVING TOWARDS - These people have a desire to improve their current situation and believe growing a business will allow them to achieve both personal and professional goals. They desire a more improved work/life balance. For example, more freedom to choose their working hours and more time with their families. They may even feel that through a business they have something to offer. They find a bigger purpose through their businesses. Sometimes they are motivated by the thought of providing employment for others or for serving hundreds of thousands of customers globally. They are truly ambitious.

MOVING AWAY FROM - This last group starts a business because they want to move away from a current negative situation. For example, they may have been made redundant and their current situation has been forced upon them. Or they may be deeply unhappy in their current job and feel they could do a better job themselves. Perhaps they can't find employment or want to move geographically and their current job or profession doesn't allow them to, so starting a business becomes a considered option.

The important factor here is not actually the reasons someone decides to start a business. But if they are to grow, it is important to understand why they continue with the business.

What are the drivers? What do they want to create now and into the future? Everyone who is in business will tell you their stories of business highs and lows and how their experience turned out to be different from what they expected. I know personally I have plenty of yarns I could share. However, unless your personal desires are completely aligned with your professional goals, your business could actually get in the way of you achieving your full level of success.

This is particularly true for the last group, the ‘moving away from' entrepreneurs. It's vital they switch their focus from what they want to avoid to what they want to create. Otherwise their thinking will begin to manifest itself in daily habits of re-activeness and they'll find themselves and their business fuelled by fear. For example, "What decision should I make now to avoid the most pain? Which fire do I put out first?"

Even as the world economy recovers, many businesses remain in a fragile state of growth (or indeed decline). It's imperative that this group of entrepreneurs ensures they switch their focus from ‘moving away from' thinking to what they want to create now and long into the future, not only for themselves, but also their customers, their employees and their stakeholders. This will ensure they keep their business passion alive, no matter what their entrepreneurial journey entails.

Nicola Cook  |  www.nicolacook.com
Nicola Cook is an award winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is the Founder of Aurora Consulting and a Director of Lara Morgan's Company Shortcuts, two businesses that are devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the results they desire.