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Entrepreneurs Should Never Stop Asking (or Answering) "Why?"

Anybody with kids knows the toughest question they can ask you always begins with "why."  You can't fudge the answer to a "why" question! Where there's a problem, understanding "why" the problem exists, invariably puts you on the path to solving it. For entrepreneurs there isn't a more important question to ask. You should never stop asking it, and, of course, answering it!

It starts with "why" become an entrepreneur? If the answer starts and ends with "riches beyond your wildest imagination," keep your day job!  Seriously, how would you answer that question? And is the answer the same one that you would have given when you started your venture?  If it's not, what's changed?Is that a positive or a negative?So, see how "why" questions are so important?  They trigger other, even better ones. "Why" questions help us understand...ourselves and our businesses, better.

Here are several critical "Why" questions to continually ask to keep you and your small business on track to success:

Why did we win (lose) that sale?
Too few companies really analyze sales, to understand why a sale closed or didn't, and learn from it.Even if you don't analyze all sales, you should always know why you lost a sale and learn and build from that experience, especially in the early going.A loss review should turn a losing experience into a learning experience.

Why should customers want to do business with us?
It's surprising how many companies take this one for granted, figuring that great product is the answer. No, it's the relationship and answering this why question is answering how you are (or not) building that relationship. And this means constantly reviewing every aspect of customer-facing functions to ensure they are encouraging rather than deterring that relationship.

Why should people want to/not want to work for us?
This is a critical question to which few small businesses truly understand the answer. Entrepreneurs, often, get caught up in their own b.s. about how good their company is and what a great place to work it is. Ask your advisors and key employees this question. The answer should not surprise you, but if it does it may mean the culture or the management style needs some work.

Why do we have that policy or procedure?
This is a question you have to constantly ask and as you add employees, constantly encourage that they ask.Policies and procedures should be in place to make the business operate more efficiently not as a CYA vehicle for the company or its management.

Why are we/aren't we making $$
Do you know what's really underneath the numbers? This will drive a whole set of other why questions about costs and their makeup. How often do you really both analyze and communicate this to your team? It's important under either circumstance. When you are making money, you and your team know why and thus, what needs to be done to keep doing it. When you aren't, you know why not, and want needs to be done to correct it.

Why am I doing this?
This is a question that you as the entrepreneur should not only ask, periodically, but more important, have the answer in the form of a set of key objectives for both the company and for you, personally and professionally, over a reasonable period of time (3-5 years). And this is something that should be reviewed and updated, minimally, every year.

There isn't a more important question for entrepreneurs to ask than "why." You should never stop asking it, and, of course, answering it, across the functions and the life of your business.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things.He's been there.May success be with you!

Are there some unique "why" questions that you use in your business that I didn't touch on? Describe them to me how in your comments.It will help other entrepreneurs!

If you like this post, by all means, share it with your networks and colleagues.

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2 COMMENT(S)

2013-04-08 06:44:29 by Mario Wilson

I agree. We must always ask ourselves this as the answers are always evolving. Especially when things are going well we must ask ourselves why so we can continue the trend.

2013-04-08 08:08:15 by Mike Kawula

Great Post. Small Businesses should always evaluate and ask this for each part of there business/decisions on a regular basis. Just as important to asking "Why" should also be asking - "Why Not"

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