Finding our why could be the answer to transforming our business and our life. However it’s not only about about finding it, but communicating it to others in a way that resonates with customers, friends and people we meet everyday. Why? People love connecting with other people and their reasons on ‘why they do, what they do’.

Getting ahead in business is big business. Not only for the big brands in the world but for the small business community; the graphic designer working from home, the local produce seller, the freelance photographer to the corner cafe. How can we define ourselves in a market that is so competitive for attention? How can we get ahead in our small business that operates from a home office, which provides a niche and useful service to others? How do we keep motivated?

Today, I am attempting  to face these questions again to see if I have changed, challenged or developed my vision about my business this last year.  It is written also for the many businesses that have become part of the School Business Register community.

We need to get to our ‘core’ reason we are in business to keep our vision on track. In the tough times, the ‘why’ can shed light on the reasons we ‘do what we do’ and help us find satisfaction in the every day.

It is easy to define our business by outlining the features of our service and product. This involves pointing out what we can do for our customer; how we can do it; the features; its benefits and what makes our approach better than our competitors. However it’s our vision that keeps us in business and communicating this well to others is becoming more important than ever.

For small business operations it can be just as beneficial (as it is to large businesses) to take yourself through a branding exercise to define your proposition, but also ask yourself some questions to help find the ‘value’ and ‘why’ within your business.

I have been trying to integrate these questions and tips for the School Business Register (again!) these last couple of months. It may give you some guidance too.

1. Start by what you WANT customers to say after they have used your business/product/service?

What would they say to others about the business, their product, your service? Start by writing an email to yourself from a customer and put down everything you would like them to say about your business/service and how it has transformed their life/business.

2. What ’emotional value’ underpins your product/service to your customers?

For example; They’ll feel proud after they have used my service, They’ll feel like they are getting ahead in business, they’ll feel professional, they feel supported, they’ll feel connected to others. For the School Business Register, the emotional value, is feeling supported and connected to a community of like-minded people in business.

3. Do customers know what your business stands for and are they connecting with it?

Start by writing a post about ‘why you do, what you do?’ Think about where you could share this – in an email, blog platform or social channels. What is is that drives you – it could be money, or it could be seeing your idea coming to fruition, giving things a go, or it keeps you creative. Why do I do what I do? I believe social connections can help us in  business and I wanted to create a platform where parents can connect in business locally. I also wanted to make it easy for schools to showcase parents in business within their communities. Also I have something great to share! My experience to date in PR, Marketing, building relationships has led to this creation. I also love being part of something larger than myself. We are all in this  (life!) together, so supporting and helping each other in business is somewhere to start.

Once you do this, see how people connect with your message over time. It involves assessing your content for engagement, being brave again and again, feedback, sales and more.

4. Put yourself in your marketing.

Now this is something I am yet still to do more! with the availability of facebook live stream, Instagram video and youtube there are all sorts of ways to put yourself in the front of your business. People love connecting with faces behind the brand and getting to know you.   One of our businesses on the School Business Register is doing this well! This is great inspiration to start doing this for myself too. Watch this space 😉

Amy Miller is the founder of The School Business Register, a business network for parents and schools. Amy is a PR consultant and lecturer in Sydney.