Starting a Business – Build your ‘Why?’

Build your why

Build your ‘Why?’

A random conversation with a neighbour provided the source of this week’s business topic.

He asked what I did for a living.

When I told him about how I help people reinvent their lives or their businesses, or help them set up new businesses, my new friend, I’ll call him ‘Mr X’ to preserve anonymity, told me that he would love to open his own café one day. He seemed to be seeking some advice or input.

As the conversation continued, it became clear that this was a goal he had thought about for some time. He admitted that fear was the main thing holding him back. He didn’t want to lose what he had already worked so hard to achieve.

‘X’ is an experienced restaurant manager, currently running a successful and iconic Perth restaurant.

What may be weighing on his mind a little is that a friend of his had pursued his dream of opening a gourmet burger bar and turned that concept into one of Perth’s most successful burger restaurant chains.

Conclusion? If someone I know can do it, maybe I can too?

Another interesting thing about ‘X’ was that, even in the early days of his hospitality career, he had relished the idea of managing a restaurant just like the restaurant he was now running; in fact his dream had been to be the Manager of the very restaurant he is now running.

What does that tell you?


We attract what we focus on

Well, any of the motivational gurus will tell you about the Law of Attraction – you attract what you think about and focus on (good or bad!), as long as you back that up with action of course!

‘X’ had focused on his dream, to attain his ideal job, and with dedication and persistent application to his craft, he had fulfilled his desires. He had been the boss of this restaurant for two years now and didn’t want life to now become like ‘Groundhog Day’ (a movie starring Bill Murray, in which the lead character is trapped in a small town where he has to relive the exact same day, over and over).

So, I now knew that ‘X’ was a goal-oriented, hard worker who could commit to a dream and achieve it. Also from my conversations, I had gleaned that he is a good manager.

I suggested the following:

  • If you’re going to start something like a café, but you don’t want life to become repetitive and dull, perhaps plan to progressively build a chain of cafés.

(That’s when he told me about his friend with the burger bar chain.)

I suggested that he start with the end in mind and set up really good systems that could be duplicated and that anyone could follow, so he could put them under management or franchise them.

  •  If he didn’t want a chain, then at least think about an exit plan before he started. In other words, consider how long a project this would be; how much money did he want to make; when would he plan to get out, or ‘exit’ the business. We call it ‘starting with the end in mind’.

He agreed that a small café would probably not make enough profit to pay him as well as a manager and staff.


Buying Yourself a Job?

Key PointThe danger of moving from a well-paid manager’s job to the owner of a small business like this is that you may just be ‘buying yourself a job’ and possibly one that pays less than you earn now.

Without an exit plan, it could easily become a job that you’re stuck with, until you can find a buyer!

Now of course it’s not all about money! There are considerations like ‘loving what you do’ or ‘being creative’, ‘being your own boss’ or ‘working the hours that suit you’.

Here’s another tip though, because ‘X’ revealed that one of his motivations is that he no longer wants to work evenings – you have to be prepared to put in some extra effort to get a small business off the ground. This can often mean working longer hours than you were working in your old job!

  • I then asked about his motivation for wanting his own business, which was largely to escape the mundane routine of his job.

I explained how we tend to move away from something with which we are discontented (a pain), or towards something we desire (a pleasure).

What can happen is that people often want to escape the job, so they start the business, but if they don’t have big enough goals to continue moving towards, they can slip back towards what they don’t want.

(A good example of that is the way people try to lose weight because they don’t want to be fat. As they lose some of the weight, they lose the motivation to continue because the goal has been partly achieved already. Without the motivation, they regain the weight).

Key Point – Be clear about why you want to start your business. What are you moving away from and what do you seek to gain, i.e. where do you want to be in a few years time?

  • In case any readers think I was being negative, I wasn’t. I pointed out that he was clearly goal-oriented, clearly motivated, obviously he knew something about the type of business he was planning because he already had management experience in that field (that point alone put him way ahead of many ‘would be’ business owners) and he had a lot of contacts in that industry.

Focus on the Outcome You Want

The issues then involved how to design the business so as to increase the chances of success (thus not losing what he has already worked for, but exceeding what he currently has); and how to design the business so that he could end up not working evenings – i.e less hours, more money.

Key point – A crucial question that can determine success or failure is, ‘What would your niche be?’. What is it that will set your business apart from your competitors?

‘X’ had some ideas, but they must of course remain between him and me.


  • Another key question to ponder – knowing that you have this dream, and that you are becoming dissatisfied with the present position and lifestyle, where will you be in a year’s time if you don’t take any action?


  • ‘X’ has better odds than most people because of his experience. He is also willing to seek advice and has a network of people willing to help. He is an intelligent guy with much to ponder.


The Take aways from this talk

Cons – Most small businesses struggle if the owners are short of capital or lack the necessary skills or knowledge; as a business owner you need to have a large diversity of skills encompassing many aspects of business management – even being exceptional in one area may not guarantee success if you fall short badly in others.

Pros – Business allows you to be creative; it has the potential for you to build a saleable asset as well as a cash flow generator; it offers many tax benefits unavailable to employees and managers; missing skills can be learned if you have the desire; business allows you to shape your own destiny.


You won’t know if you don’t try!

My View: Business ventures carry inherent risk, but as the old saying goes, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

Are you a risk-taker? What is Your Mission in Life?

Afterthought : Increase your chances of success – engage a coach with business and life experience.

Contact Tony today for a free strategy session – click here to arrange a chat about how we can help make you more successful

Until next time – Seize the day!


See also these other posts : ‘Why Go Into Business?’

‘Do You Love What You Do?’

‘Living a Meaningful Life’

‘Am I Happy?’

‘Are You Living A Life of Fulfillment?’

by Tony Inman

TONY INMAN is the CEO of Club Red Inspiration. An entrepreneur who has set up over 20 businesses, Tony is a business, life and mindset coach, consultant, mentor, presenter and trainer. A former mentor at Curtin University’s Centre for Entrepreneur-ship, he has coached hundreds of business owners and executives across the globe. Tony is the author of several books including ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well.’ He is passionate about helping people to fulfil their potential and follow their dreams.

One thought on “Starting a Business – Build your ‘Why?’

  1. John Denton says:

    you are very accurate with your understanding of small business and also the emotional ‘blocks’ that small business owners put on themselves. After all, you have been there and done it and, as we say, become somewhat battle scarred as a result. Hence your wisdom in life and business is extremely valuable. I particularly like you mentioning ‘begin with the end in mind’ and have an exit strategy. Music to my ears!
    All the best

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