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What’s your “Why”?

Published on March 12, 2014

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“It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.” This straightforward yet powerful quote from Simon Sinek’s best selling book, Start With Why, goes straight to the heart of business success. Understanding “how” and “what” you do is necessary to be in business. But understanding your “why” is essential to your long term success.

Apple is often touted as a company that understands its “why.” In fact, Sinek suggests that their understanding and communication of their “why” better than any of their competitors, was key to differentiating themselves from their competitors. After all, there are many computer companies, but only one Apple.

Another company that knows and communicates their “why” is Warby Parker.

Warby Parker was started with “a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.” A collaboration of four friends, Warby Parker was created as an alternative to the overpriced and generic eyewear available elsewhere. They began as outsiders. Overmatched nobodies intent on disrupting an industry that desperately needed it. Prior to Warby, prescription eyewear cost a fortune. A few large companies that artificially kept prices high in order to leverage huge profits from customers with no other options controlled the industry.

Nearly one billion people worldwide lack access to eyewear. Warby seeks to change this.

Their mission: “Eyewear with a purpose.”

This is what they strive for.

This is how they define themselves.

This is their “why.”

Unlike the few large companies controlling the eyewear industry, Warby Parker began with an idea, a dream, a plan & a mission. They did not know exactly how they would do it. Nor did they have a perfect idea of what they would do to break in. But they knew with certainty and conviction “why” they were attempting to disrupt the industry. Their “why” made up for other unknowns.

Through strong articulation of their “why” and providing a consistent and high quality product at a reasonable price, Warby Parker has turned this monopolized industry on its head and carved out its own success.

Why am I telling you all of this & why should you care?

Because “why” you are buying your franchise is every bit as important as the underlying system, processes & brand that make up the business. It is easy as you look at various business opportunities to short-circuit the process. To look only at the numbers. Or overlook the feelings, good and bad, that you may have formed about a given franchise.

Simply stated, many franchise buyers pay all their attention to process, location, and price; and pay no attention to “why.”

You can buy a franchise that has an amazing product, incredible process and amazing people; an incredible location; and offered at a fair and reasonable price. And you can still fail. In fact, many do.

But if you get all of this right AND you understand with crystal clarity your own underlying motivation for buying along with the selling motivation of the franchisor, you will have a much better chance at success.

Perhaps the holy grail of buying a franchise the right way is matching the proper buyer with the right opportunity. The only way to ensure that this happens is to understand the motivations of each.

Understanding why your potential franchisor exists is about understanding its story; how it came to be. It’s about learning and understanding the thoughts, ideas, and vision of the founder along with the development of the brand to its present state.

Before you consider the process and the brand, ask about the story. Find out the motivations that led to the franchise being developed. Discover the ways in which the brand worked through changes, alterations, successes and failures along the way. Ask questions to uncover the heart of the business. Once you have done this, match what you discover against your own story, vision, objectives and see if they align.

Though often overlooked or dismissed as unimportant, this exercise can uncover the “why” and be the key to true and sustained long-term success.


Written by Team

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