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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Frayer

For the CEO or Entrepreneur—Why Your Company Why Matters

When I finally decided to make the time to practice what I preach (I’m still a work in progress)—get really clear on my mission and my ‘why’—I couldn’t help but reflect back on the first CEO that I ever worked really closely with. Well, it wasn’t so much the CEO that I was reflecting on, but rather the fiery, fierce, wheels-always-turning, unmatched passion that he brought to work with him every day.

Let me give you a back story (don’t worry, it’s not long). It was the summer of 2013, and I had just graduated from college with a Bachelors in Communications and emphasis in PR. It was time to apply for a full-time job in my field and get out of my parents house (side bar: thanks for the support mom and dad)! At the time, I had been working in customer service and sales at a bank for the past 11 years. I (and the two sides of me that battled constantly: grandiose-new-grad; and, imposter-syndrome-sufferer) applied for my dream job, even though I felt as though I was way underqualified.

After four interviews, it was time for me to meet the Founder and CEO of the company (eek!). To my surprise, we immediately hit it off. We spoke about world problems, family values, environmental issues and social change for two hours! I was enamored by his passion and his vision for changing the world. He’d gotten me—hook, line and sinker—I was a believer of his mission!

Shortly after the interviews, I took my hard-earned savings and went on a luxurious cruise around the Greek Islands, Turkey and Italy. While sitting outside of a café in Venice (a place I never imagined I’d actually get to see), I received an email that I had landed that job—my dream job! I started sobbing tears of joy—all my wildest dreams were coming to fruition. Quickly I started to remember the laundry list of tasks that I was going to be responsible for and then doubt and fear crept in. But, I digress.

Over the next two years, I worked the hardest I had ever worked. Even though I was only making a gross salaried wage of $800 a week (I can hear the gasps of gen Y and gen Z millennials everywhere), I was stoked to be there. Frequently, I would work all day on Saturday and, during the week, I would often find myself working until 4 am. Why? Why did I work so hard for so little?

Passion. Vision. Purpose. I was working for a CEO who was fired up every single day, sharing the mission of the company with us—its goals, its vision, its ‘why’. Because of our leader, we all knew, understood and believed in the company’s ‘why’. Personally, I was elated to come to work each day with the goal of turning the CEO’s dream into a reality.

Why am I telling you this story? To be honest, I started to tell it because I wanted to share my company’s ‘why’ and it seemed apropos. In fact, let me do that now. My ’why’ is the same as it was in 2013. My passion, my vision, my purpose is to make people’s dreams come true. My excitement and drive is always at a 10 when I’m listening to someone share their vision for creating change or improving lives. That’s why I started The Tiny Marketing House—so I could take what I know (marketing, PR and advertising) and use it to help turn passion into reality.

But, as I started to write, I realized how important it was to share this story with leaders who are either looking to ignite a fire within their company culture or looking to grow their business—hopefully both. In my humble opinion (take it or leave it), every new lead, every new sale, every new hire comes from sharing your ‘why’. Simon Sinek explained it best when he said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If you haven’t seen his Ted Talk yet, I’d check it out. There is a 5-minute version and an 18-minute version.

Here’s the point(s):

  • Every company needs a clear ‘why’ that is separate from its ‘how’.

  • If the leaders of the company aren’t clear on the company ‘why’, there is no message and no brand to share.

  • Share your company’s ‘why’ every chance you get. Passion is contagious.

  • If you believe, they will believe—that goes for employees, stakeholders and customers.

If you need any help, give us a call or book a complementary strategy session. It’s our favorite thing to do!

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