by Moxye Staff

Can you state what your business does in one sentence?

Can you describe how your business does what you do in once sentence?

In one sentence, can say why your company exists?

Articulating these three sentences can alter your company in remarkable ways. Knowing what you do is one thing. Being able to say it succinctly is another. Knowing how you do it and being able to state it clearly are often elusive. Knowing why you do it and being able to tell your employees and your customers will set you apart.

One of the most successful start-up companies in the last decade is TOMS shoes. In a short time, they went from an obscure brand in a highly competitive market to a household name by doing something no one else was doing.

What do they do? They make simple, fashionable, comfortable shoes.

How do they do it? By using fashionable, low-cost, durable materials.

Neither of these things is particularly unique to TOMS. It is their “why” that sets them apart. They make shoes so they can give shoes away. For every pair of TOMS sold, a brand-new pair is given to someone in need.

We believe that knowing “why” your business exists is equally important to what your business does. So why do so few companies know their why? Knowing the why is a challenge. It is not something we are taught in business school and it requires us to go deeper.

We believe that people have an innate desire to belong, contribute and make a difference. This is even more true for upcoming generations. They want to be a part of something that matters. Making and selling shoes most likely does not matter to them, but making shoes for the sake of giving shoes away does.

Try this three-minute exercise:

  • Take one minute to write down what your company does in one sentence. Don’t over think it. Don’t worry about the wording.

  • Take the second minute to write down how you do it in one sentence. Again, no over-thinking.

  • Take the third minute and write down why you think your business exists. If you don’t know why it exists, write down why you work there.

Often times, our personal “why” and the company “why” are linked. When helping companies build their thriving culture, this is where we start — not with making up “the why” but with uncovering “the why.”

The benefits of this work is simple: congruence. A business that is in alignment has a more effective and committed workforce; it has a more loyal customer base. Congruence is a key ingredient to building a business with thriving culture.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”  — Simon Sinek

Take the next few days and observe the businesses you see advertised around you. We guarantee that the ones that resonate with you the most have some “why” element to them.

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