What is your “Why”?

Have you ever thought about why your business exists? Most people answer profits, but profit is really just the method of measuring results. You can seek profits in a lot of ways: why choose the particular way you have?

A few years ago the Goble Properties team was defining the best way to express why we exist. Eventually we came across the brilliant TED Talk by Simon Sinek that is posted below.

Sinek challenges us to define our why and then share that insight. He says that most companies lead with what they do, such as a computer company saying they build a great computer. But he feels you have to start with the why, and only then define the how and finally the what.

Using his formula the Goble Properties team came up with our own way of answering the question:

– We believe in improving our communities through small business.
– We do this by supporting small business owners who want to learn, grow, and succeed.
– We just happen to offer affordable space for them to lease.

That’s our why, our how, and our what. The why answer – that small business can improve our communities – is what motivates us and gives our work meaning.

Let me give a brief explanation for each statement.

We believe in improving our communities through small business. It’s why we come to work each day and why we stay motivated. Take a look around and you’ll see what I mean. Small businesses create the fabric of the community. They sponsor the little league teams, host your high school reunion, fix your plugged sinks, trim your trees, arrange the flowers for your wedding, clean your pool, and repair your car. They employ millions of people and pay billions in taxes. We are all connected to our community, whether socially or economically, through a small business relationship.

We do this by supporting small business owners who want to learn, grow, and succeed. This is how we do our job. Small business owners need support and we want to help. Confused about how leases work? We want to explain. Not sure what licenses you need? We’re not experts, but we’ll share what we know. Need references for insurance agents, attorneys, and accountants? If we can, we will help.

We just happen to offer affordable space for lease. This is what we do. We joke that what drives our business is usually the spouse saying, “The garage is a mess. Go rent a space to do your work!” It’s at that point when we get a phone call or email asking about space for lease. We have the smaller units a new start-up needs, at affordable rents, in convenient locations. All the activities of offering space for lease and managing that space is what we do.

We do not specialize in high-profile fancy real estate for lease. Nor do we focus on large space for Fortune 500 size companies. Instead, we look for properties that serve the small business owner. And we look for ways to buy those properties at the right price, manage them efficiently, and thus make them affordable.

Hopefully our occupancy is high, our tenants succeed, and our income stream is strong. This is self-evident, but it’s the result of our work, not the focus of our work. Our focus is on improving the community. That’s why we exist.

So what is the why for your company? We would love to hear it and learn from you!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4[/youtube]

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