Finding your 'why' as a business - a blog by Business Butler

Finding Your 'Why'

It’s safe to say that almost every business knows what they do. They are selling a product or offering a service, and they understand all of the facts relevant to that product or service. Some businesses even know how they do what they do, but very few businesses know exactly why they do it. Finding your ‘why’ as a business could be the difference between roaring success and imminent failure.


What is your business’ purpose? What is its cause? What are the beliefs that form its core? Why does the organization even exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What makes your business unique? Simon Sinek is a leader on the subject of Finding Your ‘Why’, with his must read book ‘Start With Why’. He uses a model called The Golden Circle to explain how leading companies such as Apple are able to inspire their customers to do business with them, and the principles of The Golden Circle are deeply rooted in human decision making.

The Golden CircleSinek’s communication model, The Golden Circle, is made up of three core questions that make up a business’ customer approach.

WHAT? – An explanation of what the business does, what product it is selling or what services it offers

HOW? – A representation of how the business does what it does

WHY? – A detailed, emotive explanation of the business’ beliefs, values, and core messages.

Sinek explains that the success of inspired organizations such as Apple rely on the company communicating with its customers from the inside of the circle out. Let’s look at Apple in more detail. If their communications looked like this…

‘We make computers (what), they are beautifully designed and simple to use (how), you should buy one’

…then the chances are they wouldn’t have developed the worldwide success that they have today. However, communicating from the inside of the circle, outwards, their communications actually look like this…

‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently (why). How we do that is by creating beautifully designed, easy to use products (how). The result is great products (what).’

Now that looks more like a marketing strategy.

This all comes down to the fact that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and Sinek believes that the Golden Circle is firmly rooted in our human biology.

The biology of the golden circle

Sinek argues that the Golden circle can be compared to the anatomy of the human brain, likening the What and how circles to the neo-cortex, which is responsible for rational thought and language, and the Why circle to the limbic brain. It may not come as a surprise to find that this part of the brain is responsible for feelings, emotions and, most importantly, decision-making. Knowing the rationale behind the company trying to sell you a product and understanding its core values, elicits a reaction in the limbic brain, allowing us to relate to them and attach feelings of loyalty and trust to them. If this reaction happens in the same part of the brain as decision-making happens, then the chances that we’re going to decide to do business with that company are significantly higher.

Over to you

Now that you’ve learned all about Sinek’s Golden Circle, and understanding the importance of finding your why, will you be changing up the way your business communicates with its clients? If the Golden Circle could bring you Apple-sized success, it’s surely worth considering!

Challenge of the week

This week’s Business Butler Challenge of the Week was based on this topic and we encouraged you to spend some time this week identifying your why. Head over to our social media channels to take part and let us know if you’ve identified yours.

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