As entrepreneurs we get in the game because we feel we can offer something (a service, a product, something!) of value. We feel we can serve in a better fashion running our own show than in a corporate environment. We feel we are fulfilling a need in the world.
While the motivations above are a good start to entrepreneurship, they are quite vague. Think about them – we want to offer something that we know is inside us. We want to be of value. We want to run our own show. We want to fulfil some need.
Side story (but trust me, it’ll make sense soon!). I was visiting a friend and I was having a lovely conversation with her son… who is 3. The conversation started off very topical and somewhat surface. After all, he is 3! And then the quintessential toddler word started coming… non-stop!
At first I laughed, and then it wasn’t long before I was working to keep up with all the Why’s. And it got me to thinking…
It is not enough to want to offer something, or to fulfil some need. In order to bring true value to others we need to know specifically what we are bringing to the table. And not only what, but why. The saying “the devil is in the details” is quite fitting. These details will drive the products we develop, the services we offer, the mechanisms we employ in marketing and strategy, the business options we explore, the potential partners we engage, and shape the constituency of our business.
This is Where The Toddler Mentality Can Help!
It is essential to dig deep into the reasons and inspirations that drive the entrepreneurial spirit because, as the cliché says: it’s harder than it looks!
Entrepreneurship does not excuse us from the realities of business. And often, it increases these responsibilities as we are the only resource available to do them. We not only wear many hats, we wear all the hats – especially when first starting out.
It is often the more esoteric ideals that appeal to us when we are considering starting our own company. But we cannot avoid the required elements of running a business. Items such as writing a thorough business plan, creating a dynamic marketing plan, developing financial estimates and forecasts, creating a website, logo and branding, developing a growth strategy, etc. will require attention. Ignore them at your own peril and the peril of your entrepreneurial dream. We need to stay in the game when the tactical side of running a company may get tiring. The one thing that will keep you going is your Why.
It is imperative that we understand our why(s) of becoming entrepreneurs. Alas, just wanting to do something different is not enough of a why to keep the machine going. If your why does not excite you at the very thought of it, if it does not cause you to smile without realizing it and spark inspiration, chances are that you will quit when the drudges of running a business start to wear on you.
But HOW Does a Toddler Mentality Help?
Often the decision to become an entrepreneur is a result of having an innate calling that is driving us to start a business. Now to dig down into the weeds, to get to the good stuff, let’s think like a toddler.
I want to be an entrepreneur. Why? I want to work for myself. Why? I have felt stifled working in a corporate setting. Why? I am not fully realizing my potential in that setting. Why? I have a passion and realize that it is my life purpose to bring this entrepreneurial endeavor alive. Why? I want to help people. Why? So I can bring value to my audience in a way that only I can do it. Why? Because I offer a perspective that can be of assistance to others that is distinctive and has produced results in my niche through my past experience. Oh, now we are seeing a much better why!
Each of us has our own filter. We see the world, others, problems, and solutions through our unique lens. Dialling in to the distinctive perspective we offer is a great why in becoming an entrepreneur. We are identifying what sets us apart. We are no longer looking at the surface, but elaborating on details that will distinguish us in the marketplace and shape what we do and how we do it.
While this toddler mentality may seem too simple, it is surprisingly effective. Which is a better why: I want to be an entrepreneur or I offer a perspective that can be of assistance to others that is distinctive and has produced results in my niche through my past experience?
Now that we see how the entrepreneurial toddler mentality can help in figuring out our why, let’s look at a what.
This returns us to the esoteric side again as starting point. Most entrepreneurs I have spoken with started their business because they had an idea they wanted to bring into reality. There is a book, or program, or coaching, or business consulting, or a specific service, or a gadget in their mind. Again, unfortunately, this ideal is not detailed enough to provide lasting motivation to drive the business forward and past the doldrums of everyday business tasks.
I want to provide a coaching service. Why? I have knowledge I have gained I could share. Why? I have struggled in the past. Why? Because I didn’t have the knowledge to lessen my struggle and I’d like to serve others so they might not struggle as much as I did. Now that’s a great why!
What is the better why: I want to provide coaching or and I’d like to serve others through sharing my knowledge so they might not struggle as much as I did. This why will become the driver that will keep you engaged in the business. It will serve as the platform to keep the doors open, the lights on and build the runway to launch more ideas.
Let’s Continue Our Journey
We have explored our why, we have explored a what, and now let’s explore the who.
I want to help people. Why? I want to share my experiences. Why? I want to be an inspiration to people. Why? I want to assist in their struggle. Why? I want to help people through a tough time. Why? I want to demonstrate that you can make it through a tough time and survive, and I can help you through the steps I used to heal.
What is the better why: I want to help people or I want to be an inspiration to help people through tough times and demonstrate how they can come out the other side?
One thing that must be mentioned is that as with any development process, iteration is key. While the exact ideal may not be complete on the first go around, it is a step closer. Then once the iteration of Why is conducted again, a clearer picture will evolve. And as you learn more, the iterations will integrate more and more details creating a richer and more concise image to bring returns to your business and fulfilment to your entrepreneurial spirit.
While answering every toddler’s why may get annoying, you cannot deny the fascination of their curiosity. Their ability to dive deeper and deeper to add to their knowledge base can be inspiring. Their uncanny exploration into digging for more and more details until they are satisfied with the answers and information before them can be motivating. Capture this wide-eyed curiosity and maximize it to drive your business initiatives forward, produce fantastic service for your audience, keep your head in the game, and create lasting success.
Remember, the devil is in the details!