For anybody familiar with the Toyota Manufacturing System, Lean Manufacturing, or Kaizen Events, the “5 Whys” should be a pretty familiar tool. It is used as a diagnostic for digging deep into what might be the root cause of a particular problem. The rationale behind this is that the more you dig the greater the understanding and therefore the more likely a successful outcome.
Simon Sinek in his Ted Talk in 2010 challenged people that when positioning your product or service don’t lead with what you do but rather WHY you do it. So let’s extend this even further and challenge us as to another variation of the 5 Whys as it might pertain to a business. The following are the five critical “why” related questions, the answer to which should help uncover your true business proposition.
1. Why do you do it?
People are drawn to what the Leader’s underlying motive is and whether there is absolute belief in what you offer. According to Sinek this is at the core.
2. Why should I choose you?
Customers buy on emotion and justify based on fact. So as much as we espouse the features and benefits of what you sell, what is the true emotional carrot that influences customers to buy from you?
3. Why do people work for you?
Is your Staff engaged and happy in what they do? The benefits in terms of efficiency, turnover, innovation, etc, are huge. Remember sustainable success is a function of happiness.
4. Why are you better?
What is the one characteristic about your business that sets you apart from Competitors? Is it a unique technology, marketing strategy, charismatic leader or something else? What is your key differentiator?
5. Why would I invest in you?
Shareholders would be very interested in the answer to the first 4 Whys. What is it about your product, customer base, team or something else that would inspire somebody take the risk and invest in your venture?
Try it out – the honest answers you come up with will either be confirming, or perhaps a sign of an area that needs more work.