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Why Are You in Business? Hint: "To Make Money" is the Wrong Answer.

4e521875f0f1ae238ab9a2eae08a441f.jpg?t=1As a business leader, what motivates you to wake up and go to work every day? If you ask many people why they start a business or why they go to work every day, the answer is "to make money." But making money is the result of being in business; it's not the Why you are in business. To be a great leader or manager, you need to know your Why and you need to articulate it to employees and customers, so that they are inspired and motivated as well.


Apple Computers is one of the most successful companies in the world. In 1984 Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh computer and it's clear that his Why was to disrupt the status quo. To launch his new product, he ran this award-winning commercial during the 1984 Superbowl. The ad explains why Apple is in business and is as relevant today as it was then.

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek explains how great organizations align their Why, How and What:


  • Your What is selling and servicing vehicles
  • Your How is your unique selling proposition
  • Your Why is your inspiration and belief in something greater than yourself


At Auto/Mate, we make and sell DMS software for auto dealers. But what is our Why? After discussions and meetings with our employees what came back to us was, "We have lived the dealership life. We understand what people in the dealership go through. We believe they deserve to be treated better than they are by many of their vendors and we are going to do that! That's why we come to work every day; to make and keep our customers happy."

The best way to define your Why is in your dealership's mission statement. Does your mission statement accurately reflect why you are in business? Does it contain a blueprint and vision for where your company is going? Does it define your core values on the basis of which all decisions are made?

Here are a few tips for creating a mission statement that defines Why you are in business:

Inspire. Your company's mission statement should inspire you, your employees and your customers every day.

Provide purpose. Mission statements guide and help unify organizations. They go hand-in-hand with the corporate culture.

Keep it brief. There's nothing more uninspiring than a long-winded paragraph about what the company does, how it strives to do this and that, blah, blah, blah. Keep your mission statement to one sentence. Focus on the Why, not the What or the How.

Think big. Sure, everyone needs a car to get from point A to point B. But what else can cars do for people? They offer a sense of freedom, a sense of empowerment, joy, pride, achievement...the sky's the limit. Well, maybe in this case the road's the least for now.

Be specific. The hugely successful shoe company Zappos' mission statement is simply "To provide the best customer service possible." Sometimes, simpler is better.

Examples of other great mission statements include: To be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.

Chipotle: Food with integrity.

Virgin Airlines: To embrace the human spirit and let it fly.

Hubspot: To make the world Inbound. We want to transform how organizations attract, engage and delight their customers.

Microsoft: To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Coca-Cola: To refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference.

Google: To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

What is your dealership's Why? Does it motivate your employees? Does it inspire your customers? Do they even know what your Why is? Your Why should be clearly articulated and communicated on a regular basis.

"Defining Your Why" is just one step in the eBook, The Auto Dealer's 10-Step Guide to Creating Customer Loyalty (No Customer Loyalty Program Needed). To get your free copy, click here.

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