Inbound Marketing Blog | Inbound

Start With Why

Written by Steven Male | May 31, 2016 5:13:00 PM

So go out and spread your why. Don't let me down

This post has been in my head since I started INBOUND and it's taken almost a month to write.

Good news? I've decided to launch it for free.

The only thing I want in return is a promise that you'll really go through it, digest every single sentence and apply it to your own business.

This is a call to action to stop the average businesses from existing and for you to step up your game and provide more value than ever before!

Everyone has a message to spread, and 9 times out of 10 they will create a business to spread this message for them. For example my dream for years was to help small businesses and local companies spread their message. I wanted them to avoid the pitfalls I fell into as a young businessman and to help them accelerate their success.



Because this kept me up at night! I knew how hard it was to start a business and after starting a few myself, failing once, succeeding twice, I started to get some insight in what it takes to succeed.

And after asking a ton of my clients what their main goal is, I have found out that it always breaks down to their why.

The cafe owner down the road might not understand it, but she started the business because of she was tired of overpriced, average coffee.

I should make it clear here before we go any further that if you're not spreading your why, you're going to fail.

Companies that simply start because they want to make money might make a reasonable profit for a year, two years but they will always be replaced by a company that has a vision and a passion to help their customers.


And I know that you have seen both sides of the story before, here is my story:

A few days I went into a fancy cafes (one of the ones down on the Viaduct in Auckland) with my partner for some brunch action. I had eaten prior but wanted something to snack on (my snacks are usually meals themselves).

So we found a place, grabbed a seat and settled in for some delicious food.

But something weird started happening...

The waiter kept giving us weird looks like why are you here? You shouldn't be here. Can't a man choose to wear casual clothes anymore?! So we chose to ignore her and ordered some food.

I would like the eggs on bruschetta please. 

The lady gave us a grunt of acknowledgement (which I didn't even know you could do until I met her) and walked off.

And not a word of a lie, $12.50 and 25 minutes later this is literally what I received.

ow this isn't a value driven approach. This is a half ass attempt at delivering stuff. There's no why in here. There's just a I can't be f&$#ed.

On the flip-side, you've definitely been into stores before where you feel like you're the center of attention and know all your needs are about to be fulfilled.

My favourite store recently has been the Ugly Bagel. It's a ritual for my partner and I to go there every Saturday and snack on some delicious bagels (I just noticed she stole my coffee)!

Yeah, I bet you're hungry now.

When you walk inside you're greeted with smiles and a few hipster-ish mustaches. When you order they yell it behind them and it gets echo'd down the line.

And the best thing? They're constantly improving on this. I remember going here a year ago and not being too impressed. A year later, I'm blown away. They've been listening, improving, and ensuring customer satisfaction is on the way up.


So What Separates These Two Companies?

It's easy to say their feedback cycle, their software, their branding, or even their mustaches, but you need to remember one thing. Everything about this company boils down to their why.

The Ugly Bagel knows their why. Their employees are driven by it and the process is so customer-centric that even if I had a problem I know they'd solve it as fast as possible all the while treating my like a person.

On the other hand the company down on the Viaduct doesn't feel inspired. They probably used to be, with a clear vision, happy owners and an inspired staff, but over time this seems to have eroded away.

This is why it's so important to make sure your business is consistently focused around this question of why. If you lose the why, you lose the sparkle, and your business instantly turns into a ticking time bomb.

If you're sitting there reading this and wondering why your growth has plateaued, this is it. And I need to get better at this too! I recently shared the results from my email opens.

I started off with an open rate double the industry standard but over the years it turns out I haven't been injecting my why enough and therefore the open rate has been trending towards where every other average company lies.

I don't know about you but I don't want an average company. I want a list of engaged fans who absolutely love what I share and get a ton of value out of everything I do.

On top of this I want engagement, a two way conversation between you and I (I wrote a post How to Win Customers and Influence Referrals on this very subject!).

Finally, I want everyone who visits the site to see what INBOUND is all about straight away. That's why I've now got a video of my introducing myself and the company on the INBOUND SEO Auckland homepage and that's why I'm offering massive value for free.


What Can You Do To Improve Immediately?

Get back to why you started in the first place! What's your why?

  • Did you want to create a third home between home and the office? Starbucks
  • Did you want to organize the world data in an accessible to all manner? Google
  • Did you want technology to be simple yet powerful? Apple
  • Did you want to create a community of business owners that don't fizzle out? Fizzle
  • Did you want to make bagels an extraordinary experience but still call them ugly? Ugly Bagel
  • Or did you want to provide average meals at over-the-top prices? Viaduct Cafe

Once you've dug down deep enough you'll probably be feeling a sense of nostalgia, oh yeah! That's why I started my company! 

This shouldn't be anything new, maybe the core idea has evolved but it's still the same core reason. The biggest problem I find most business owners face is they just get used to the daily grind and any sense of inspiration withers out. Don't let that happen! 

Now I want you to print this manifesto off and put it on your desk. Don't worry if people start looking at you weirdly, that's a good sign! It means you're standing up for what you believe in and people respect that.

Finally I want you to brainstorm how you can inject this rediscovered belief back into the company and go do it!

I made a post a week ago about how to improve customer engagement, satisfaction and find out exactly what your customers think. Make sure you do this as well!

Here at INBOUND we only work and help companies that know their why. When a company knows its why, they're fun to work with!