Answer These 6 Questions to Define Your Business
Everyone talks about branding, right? What's your brand? This is a question you should think of when starting in business, but how do you get there? How do you define your brand?
Starting a business is demanding. Pressure comes in from all sides, and a lot of the time we end the day feeling like we just got off a hamster-wheel: exhausted, but not getting anywhere. Branding, after a day of dealing with customers, production, meetings and cancellations, is the farthest thing from our minds.
We just say 'bismillah', and start each day over again in much the same way.
Our to-do lists may have items checked off, but we lack focus. And it's not our fault! Customers contacting us, suppliers late, family demands...it's a lot for one brain to deal with in one day. We offer our prayers through the day, begging Allah for success in the late night, and we keep hope even though each day doesn't seem to bring us closer to our business milestones.
So what can bring focus, or even the unimaginable peace of mind to a small business owner?
Creating a Company Overview.
Wow, that sounds boring.
Yes, it is the first step in authoring a dry, detailed Social Media Marketing Strategy, but it is very important. And, you'll find, one that gives the work you do each day purpose, focus, and satisfaction.
My goal with my blog posts from now on is to slowly work with you through the essentials of a strategy. You'll thank me later. Or you can do it now! Up to you. (You're welcome)
Back to the plan: like going to the dentist, it's unpleasant, but when it's done, you're glad you did it.
How did it all start? Someone told you your idea was a good business idea. You came up with a snappy name, a snappier logo, and secured a domain, and put up your website. You got clients, and customers and are very busy each day...
Even if you're not there yet, or you are in the thick of a busy business day, answering these 6 questions will help you focus and experience wins each day:
Question 1: Why do you run your business?
As Muslims, we know our deeds are judged by our intentions. If our intentions are good in a good action, our deeds will be accepted. Well, we judge our own accomplishments by how close we are to our business goals, don't we? Those to-do lists, love them or hate them, are often our way to judge if we've had a 'good' day or not.
With the pleasure of Allah and entrance to Jannah as our ultimate goal, we break it down from there. We look at the ways our business can help us get the pleasure of Allah. As with all business, it comes down to helping people. You have chosen to run this business for a great reason. You saw a need, and you are trying to fill it. Why are you doing that?
Write that down.
Question 2: How do you help people?
We hope that in our lives we benefit those around us. Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer is friendly and befriended, for there is no goodness in one who is neither friendly, nor befriended. The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”
We can all help each other, but the ones who are helping the most, are rewarded more. Time to seriously think about the ways you help others.
I could be talking about soothing pain points, but I dislike using that word. I like the words challenge, disadvantage and opportunity better.
Consider a satisfied client or customer, and what they would say (or do say) when you're all done helping them. "I was having a problem, and this business owner saved the day by: __________."
Here are some examples of the answers to question 2:
helping my client make better food choices
helping my client heal so they can have better mental health
helping my customer live a more organized lifestyle
Write how you help your customer with their challenges down.
Question 3: What do you do?
So to answer this question, you have to get down to practicality. What do you actually do? This is often defined by what you don't do, or won't do. Many times when we start a small business, we are asked to wear different hats that don't quite fit. Choose your hats, and make a list of services or products that you offer presently.
That might look like:
I offer online, personal nutritional counselling sessions and I sell nutritional food packets for all daily meals.
I offer ebooks, online sessions, and in-person counselling sessions
I offer a service where I enter my client's homes and help them declutter their homes, and their daily routines through questionnaires, interviews and follow-up visits
What are the things that you do or products that you offer?
Write them down.
Question 4: What are your company values?
For sure, as Muslim business owners, we value excellence and honesty, as a rule in business due to religious reasons. But there are some values that link you to the reason you provide your service or sell your products. You also must factor in your customer base, and their personalities, and what's important to them.
This will take some serious soul-searching and mental work. Once you have a tidy list of 3-4 values, it will go a long way in defining your brand, just wait.
For example, if you sell alternative healthy eating services/products, your value list might look like this:
Commitment to Customers
If you offer counselling services, your value list might look like this:
Commitment to Customers
See? They are all great values, but when you select just a few, you can see a brand building up from the inside.
Write them down.
Question 5: What is your vision, and your mission?
To sum up a definition of the importance of writing down and planning your vision is a great quote by Yogi Berra: "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else."
Defining your vision, actually putting it to words and writing it down is so important for the focus of everything you do. When we define our vision As Muslims, we know that Allah is capable of all things. Let this remembrance of Allah inspire you to dream big, and write down your vision for your company.
The vision of an author could be to be known around the world as a riveting storyteller for young adults, a best-selling author with books translated into 50 languages.
The vision of a charitable organization focusing on education could have a vision to eradicating homelessness through educating 100% of the citizens in a location.
What is the result of your business reaching its full potential?
Write that down.
Now, the mission is how you are going to get there. For example, the mission of the author will be to author a new book every 4 years, make lasting connections with large publishing houses, and expand reach by continuously performing book readings in person and online, getting featured in international press.
So how are you going to reach your vision? Sum it up in a paragraph or a long, run-on sentence like the one I just wrote in the previous paragraph.
Write it down.
Question 6: Who is your company?
We've reached the end of this post, and the end of your work! Yes, you barely need to think now to answer this question, because all the other answers do it for you.
You won't come up with the elevator pitch, but you will define your company by filling in the blanks of the following passage:
My company (answer 2) by (answer 3) with (answer 4) because (answer 1) to eventually (vision answer 5) by (mission answer 5).
Now, write that down. (I think you kind of had to write it down, didn't you?)
Your Company, Defined
You did it! (Assuming you actually did it, instead of just skimming through)
Now, place this company definition someplace where you will see it as you work, or at least be reminded at the beginning of each work day. When you are creating your to-do list for the day, recall this Company Outline, and be sure what you do is in line with it.
At the end of the day, whatever you got accomplished, you will find a new sense of purpose and fulfillment insha Allah.
But this is just the first step! We will move on in my next post to where the real focus needs to be in business: your customer. You can't sell to someone if you don't know who they are.
May Allah bless you in your business, and support you in keeping focused on your beautiful vision, and enter you into Jannah!