Culture | April 1, 2020

9 Out of 10 Companies Don’t Have a Clear “Reason Why.” Are you One?

Daniel Ndukwu

Does your brand exist to make a lot of money or does it have a deeper reason why?

Seriously, why was your company formed? Is it worth the bandwidth it takes to render your site or the pixels on your web pages?

Many times, no one sits down to think about it. There’s no wider goal or mission.

Is yours any different?

When I was busy conceptualizing KyLeads, I completely ignored the reason why we exist.

It was all about mapping features, developing use cases, and dissecting the competition. These are necessary components of the creation process.

You need to know how your product can be used and what’s already on the market.

At the same time, you and everyone on your team needs to know why they’re staying up late at night, why they should work on weekends, and why they should care. This can have a larger effect than most team building activities.

Without a compelling reason why you can never develop a compelling story and align people from diverse backgrounds.

Without a compelling story, you can never stand out in the minds of your customers. Your product will never be more than the latest webpage in a long line of things they’ve seen while on the internet.

Your reason why is the conduit through which you distill your message and guide the actions of yourself, your team, and the people who’re talking about you.

When you look at it like that, it’s not something you can throw together in a few minutes is it?

Arriving at our reason why

The lack of an articulated reason for being hit me when I was writing copy for our marketing site. I was running into trouble.

The messaging was off. It was lifeless. There was no personality. We had no reason for doing what we were doing. We had no reason to serve the people we were serving.

Beyond that, I knew it’d be difficult to say no to cool – yet conflicting – things going forward if I didn’t get this straight now.

That realization hit me hard.

We could have all the cool features in the world, but, over time, I knew that’s all we’d be – a series of features – if there was no unifying reason and ethos.

I’ve got to give a hat tip to Jason Fried and DHH over at Basecamp. They know why they exist. It’s allowed them to avoid feature creep and build a product their customers love.

Did they do that by buckling under the pressure?

No, because they exist to make project management simple. They’re notorious for ignoring what people “think” should be in their app.

They have a reason for being and everything they do flows from that. Simon Sinek gave a popular Ted Talk (over 37 million views) that introduces a golden circle.

It contains why, how, and what. We all know what we do and some even know how we do it. Almost no one knows why.

He uses Apple as an example. They’re an iconic company. They want to challenge the status quo and think differently. They just happen to make computers.

We’re not apple.

I was determined to articulate why I was building KyLeads and why anyone – you – should care.

The Why

Over the next few days, I looked at my experiences and what made me so keen to start KyLeads.  It wasn’t to make millions of dollars. That’s not a life goal.

It wasn’t to piss anyone off. What’s the point?

The harder I looked, the more elusive the answer became.

That is, until I logged into a tool I’ve been using for years and have disliked every moment of the experience.

It’s expensive, clunky, and hard to understand (No, I won’t name it. Don’t ask.). It was built for teams who can hire a consultant to implement the majority of the features.

It just happened to have a feature I needed that other tools seemed to ignore. Therefore, I was stuck.

Going deeper than that, I didn’t like the way data was presented. You’re a human and there are reasons behind what you do. You have personal motivations – so do I.

That’s when the seeds of what was bothering me bubbled to the surface. I didn’t build KyLeads to beat my chest and say I’m a SaaS CEO.

KyLeads exists to level the conversion optimization playing field for smaller brands so they can focus on their core competency. That’s almost never conversion rate optimization.

Beyond that, I’d argue the more important reason is it exists to help you make your messages personal.  We’re here so the underdog has the ability to create better experiences for their audience

That way, our customers can worry about what matters – delivering the best product they can.

We do that by designing simple interfaces, intuitive apps, and insightful training material to give them – you – an edge.

We just happen to have apps for opt-in forms, surveys, and quizzes. In five years, that may be different. We may have thrown out landing pages and opt-in forms and introduced heat maps and click maps.

There’s no telling what the future holds when it comes to specific features. That’s part of the fun – no?

What we do know, without a shadow of a doubt, is why we exist and who we’re here to serve.

That’s not changing any time soon.

It’s internal.

I’ve chosen to share our reason why. It’s not a prerequisite.  It should be shared and reinforced internally. Apart from that, it’s your call.

When there’s tight alignment between your daily processes and your reason why, everything you do will reflect it.

If you’re in business to empower the underserved, you wouldn’t be caught dead using underage labor.

If you’re in business to create a better future for humanity, you’re going use green tech and fight against gender inequality.

Apart from that, a solid reason allows you to craft a compelling story. Facts tell stories sell.  Throughout our website, we’re irreverent. That’s because we know we’re in business for a certain segment of people. We don’t need to please the entire world.

The narrative we craft aligns with our reason for being. It informs the way we work and the end products we deliver.

If something makes our applications too complicated or clunky then it’s tossed at the conceptualization phase.

It’s not all roses. You’ll have times when your reasons are challenged and you’re forced to make tough decisions.

Just remember why you’re doing it. Let your decisions flow from there.

Share the reason why you wake up every morning and fight for your dreams in the comments.

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