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Your why is what will help build the emotional connection that will make people trust you and want to buy from you.

Knowing your why, and your purpose is a critical part of building a solid foundation for a successful business. Simon Sinek speaks about the importance of knowing your why and starting with why in his TED Talk.

About Chris Olson

Chris Olson is the master of knowing your why. After more than a decade working in broadcast media, Christ founded a communications consultancy and began leveraging her behind-the-scenes media expertise to benefit clients. Through that work, Christ realized her why – to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She is the founder of the My Founder Story platform. Chris is the author of Whyography, Building a Brand Fueled with Purpose.

Knowing your why is important for confidence and funding

Women get about 4% of venture capital. Similarly, only 25% of women who apply for business loans receive the loans. This is not because of bad credit or poor ideas. Most likely, it is a lack of confidence or inability to show the impact you will have through your business when pitching to investors. Knowing your why is critical for conveying confidence.

To learn more about women in business and funding for women-owned businesses, listen to episode 112 with Maureen Borzachiello. 

Clarity comes from knowing your why (purpose)

Getting clear on your personal brand is the foundation for your business. Clarity on your why, your purpose, and what is trigging the emotions inside of you to create your business. If struggling to find clarity around your why use Robyn’s purpose equation: values + visions + passions = purpose (knowing your why).

Likewise, when you have clarity and are focusing on your why, you will feel more fulfilled.

The Why Journey Map

Values are a huge part of your why. Start with the values that resonate with you. Sometimes, people choose values that are aspirational but aren’t how you are showing up in the world. Choose values that you are actively living.

You can look at where and how you are spending your money. Most likely, you are purchasing from brands and companies that align with your values. Similarly, evaluate how your values show up in your everyday life.

The first step is getting clear on your values. Narrow your values down to five that show up in your life in action every day.

The tiny why statement

There are 20 power verbs: educates, empowers, and advances, the words that indicate a powerful action. What power verb would you choose for your business and connect that to the person you serve?

For example, Chris’s tiny why statement is: I empower women-owned businesses.

To grow confidence in your business, practice saying your tiny why statement.

The impact statement

Now, to make your tiny why statement your why statement, add the impact you have on your ideal customer. For example, Chris wants to help other women make an impact by confidently communicating how they serve others.

Shoppers want to purchase from purpose-driven businesses. Likewise, people want to work for purpose-driven businesses. Therefore, there are a lot of reasons to have clarity around knowing your why and your purpose.

Be sure that your why is about how you are making an impact in the world.

Leading with why instead of what

From a young age, we are taught to lead with what. But leading with your why is much more impactful for building connections and keeping the conversations moving forward.

Eventually, you get to your what, but it is best to lead with your why.

Likewise, starting with your why will hook people because of an emotional connection.

Similarly, your why is rooted in who you are so you don’t have to remember buzzwords or bullet points, you are speaking from your heart and with confidence.

What is whyography?

Whyography is writing about your why.

Your why is your natural differentiator. The concept of whyography is the art and science of telling your story. Think about how the human brain reacts to stories. Whyography touches on telling your story to really engage the senses of your audience.

Start with the big moment of wanting to start your business. Next, explain how you pursued the path to do this, and the climax is taking the leap and starting your business. Then, encapsulate what you are doing in your business and your why. The conclusion is your vision for the future, and what you hope your business is doing five years from now.

Whyography captures the principles of storytelling and the power of purpose.

Your why is your compass

When feeling stuck, pivoting, rebranding, or feeling confused, come back to your purpose to regain clarity. Your why may shift slightly, but if you think of it as a compass, you will be able to redirect yourself by regaining clarity.  If you feel like you are floundering, or your business is floundering it is because you aren’t aligned with your purpose. Do the exercise of the tiny why statement to bring yourself back to a place of clarity.

Likewise, ask yourself if you are doing something to serve your clients. Ask yourself what impact you want to have.

When you look at your why think about the moments in your life that were big moments. Look at the moments good and bad, that have guided you to what you want to do. For example, does empathy drive you? And what did you do next? Your values will show up in what you did next.

Learn more about Chris by visiting her website.

Learn more about your host, Robyn Graham.

Download the free eBook, How to Build a Solid Foundation for Long-Term Brand and Business Success


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