Home Entrepreneurs: It’s Not What You Do, It’s Why You Do It

Entrepreneurs: It’s Not What You Do, It’s Why You Do It

Motivational speaker and author of the book Start With Why Simon Sinek believes he has found a way to map out the way inspiring leaders and innovators think. Young entrepreneurs who may think they aren’t up to snuff with the big boys of innovation should be encouraged by Sinek’s theories which seek to break down inspiration into an easily replicated formula.

He calls his concept “The Golden Circle,” a series of three concentric circles that represent the different ways we think about a product or goal. The outermost circle, labeled “What,” represents, for instance, a company’s product. The next circle, “How,” would be the technology behind this product, and the innermost circle represents “Why” the company makes the product.

The crux of Sinek’s ideas lie within this center “Why” circle When he talks about why a company makes a product, he doesn’t mean “to make money,” because that’s the result of the “What.” Instead, the “Why” represents an innovator’s beliefs and passions that drive them toward success.

In a TEDx speech in Puget Sound, Wash., Sinek repeated a mantra several times to the audience throughout his presentation that sums up his “Golden Circle” theory.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do serves as the proof of what you believe,” he said.

While Sinek points out today’s leaders and innovative companies, like Steve Jobs and Apple, the best example of his theory in practice is of a historical sense. Sinek recounts the story of Samuel Pierpont Langley, who was given money and resources by the U.S. government to invent “the flying machine” only to be beaten to the punch by upstart and impassioned Wright Brothers.

Sinek says it didn’t matter that Langley – who he says was driven by greed and the possibility of fame – had more money, more people and more resources, because the Wright Brothers were driven by their belief and their passion. Entrepreneurs looking to innovate today should take note of what makes a great leader, and it all starts with “Why”, says Sinek.

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have,” he says. “The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

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