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Why your ‘why’ matters when you start-up a business

Thursday, 13 June 2013 | By Cas McCullough

Do you know why you are in business? What is your driving motivation?


There has never been a better time to start up a business. However, without a solid “why” in place, your resolve may falter and your dream may come to abrupt end.


Everybody’s ‘why’ is completely unique, but there are some ‘whys’ that have been proven to cause a business to fail, and fail spectacularly.


So, I thought it might be helpful to highlight a few of the more common ones:


You want to make easy money


If making easy money is the thing driving your business idea, then the entrepreneurial life is probably not for you. Establishing a business is not easy. It takes hard work and tenacity.


If you don’t have a “never say die” attitude, one day something will happen that will send your house of cards toppling down. If money is your ‘why’, what is going to sustain you when times are tough? Even in a successful business, it can take a few years to turn a decent profit.


You want to capitalise on a trend


It happens a lot in the business world. Someone invents the latest, coolest must-have item and within days there are knock-offs a plenty. This isn’t just happening with mass produced products. It’s happening with whole business concepts and movements.


An interesting case study is the Etsy phenomenon. Etsy, an online eCommerce community for handmade crafts and vintage items, has grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise.


Their ‘why’ was primarily driven by an environmental and anti-consumerist ideal and that is the ‘why’ that has spawned the incredibly diverse handmade craft industry that has flourished on Etsy and other handmade market websites.


However, since Facebook Business Pages were launched, many home based craft businesses have hung out their shingles, not because they want to change the world, produce more environmentally conscious products, or encourage people to repurpose old things, but because they want to make easy money.


While there are many talented artists and creative entrepreneurs in the online space who are driven by strong ideals, there are also many people flogging poor quality craft items and, dare I say it, mass-produced handmade items (if you are producing items in such large numbers that you could be working on a factory floor, it’s mass produced IMO), simply to make an extra buck.


I used to make handmade décor and accessories and sell them at markets. I loved doing it and I even made some money out of it, but, in the end, I stopped making stuff because I felt like I was working on an assembly line, and it just wasn’t fun anymore.

You want to be famous for something (anything will do)


In the age of The Law of Attraction, attracting fame and fortune has become a trendy dream.


I realise it’s a dream that has been around forever and a day, but these days, it feels like fortune hunters are everywhere! There is a whole industry around training people how to become famous, and how to lever their celebrity to create wealth. The problem is that many are not driven by anything more than the idea of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.


When your ‘why’ lacks substance, ideals or true passion, the chances of actually attaining that millionaire lifestyle are slim to none because, when the road gets rocky, you may easily lose your way.


Nevertheless, living the dream is a popular motivation these days and there are some talented and noteworthy pied pipers proclaiming to lead thousands (and their thousands of dollars) into the promised land of luxury and fame.


The social media marketing frontier has attracted many would-be entrepreneurs with the promise of inexpensive marketing and easy money, but as social marketing has matured, and fortune hunters have come and gone, those who have survived and thrived have had a strong sense of their ‘why’.


Your ‘why’ is your reason for starting up in the first place, your intrinsic motivation. Your ‘why’ fuels your passion and ensures you stay focused, even when the road to business success is a tad bumpy.


What is your ‘why’? Why not share below in the comments?


This article is an excerpt from Cas McCullough’s forthcoming book: Your brilliant uncareer: How to ditch the corporate ladder for life.