and why Thena exists

There are a lot of people who want to be their own boss. There is very often an area of interest or an underlying objective that motivates someone to consider entrepreneurship. Plus, there is a freedom that comes from being able to set your schedule, charge your own rates and have complete control over the decisions that you make for your business.

There is no shortage of ideas or aspirations. In fact, when asked the question, “I would rather take a risk and build my own business than work for someone else,” 44% of women and 60% of men in the UK agreed with that statement. In Canada, those numbers were 52% and 62% whilst in the US it was even higher at 58% and 69%.

Stats from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Yet these figures don’t correlate to the number of new businesses started each year. The vast majority of us don’t run our own business. That’s because, as well as all of the perks that running a business can bring, it can also be very challenging. There is uncertainty, a high degree of responsibility and a unique kind of stress that comes with entrepreneurship. It can also be difficult and even overwhelming to know where to start, what to prioritize and where to put your energy at the various stages of starting and growing a business.

Picture Stephanie. She is in her late 20’s and currently works as an office manager. She also loves fashion. Stephanie likes to create her own designs and wear them to parties. Her friends always comment on her clothing and ask her where she shops. She has made a few pieces to sell and she has dreams of turning her passion into her livelihood.

She starts looking online and researching how she could start her own company. Does she need a website? Maybe a store? How does she incorporate a company? Does she even need to do that? What about if she has to pay her employees, do her bookkeeping, accounting or manage her stock?

All of the different aspects of starting a company quickly overwhelm Stephanie. All she wants to do is create the clothing she loves and make it available to people. Instead, she starts googling internships in fashion design.

When it comes to starting a company many people are daunted by the unknown and allow that uncertainty to stand in the way of realizing their dreams.

Even when people do take the leap, many businesses fail. Only 1 in 3 businesses make it to the 10 year mark in the US. While there are various reasons why businesses do not succeed, a large percentage of failures come down to one thing; a lack of expertise required for the various aspects of running a company.

There are numerous key functions that must be addressed to successfully run a company.  Frequently, the founder of a company doesn’t have the knowledge to cover all of these functions. Even in a team of multiple founders there can and will be knowledge gaps. It is unrealistic to expect a solo entrepreneur or small team to be able to cover all the essential elements of running a thriving business.

If you are currently an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner there are really only two options available to address all the required functions of your business. Do it yourself or hire someone else do it for you. Sure, you can get software to help you or even outsource the work, but that’s still doing it yourself or hiring someone.

If you go for the DIY approach there is a high risk of human error; especially if you don’t know what you are doing. It can also be pretty time consuming. As a business owner one of the most finite and valuable resources you have is your own time. Even if time wasn’t a consideration you might need to study or do training. Then you need to make sure you keep current on any compliance or legal changes.

If you decide to hire/outsource, it minimizes the time requirement, the need to train and keep your knowledge up to date. But, there are some trade-offs too. The main one is cost. A lot of startups and small businesses would love to hire more staff. They just can’t afford it.

This is where Thena comes in. We solve the barrier to entry of running a company that is created by entrepreneurial inexperience. We help our customers succeed in their chosen industry. We leverage A.I. and automation to simplify small business. Thena exists so you can fulfill your dreams in business. That is our purpose, our reason for existing, our why.

Your purpose for being in business is important. When you know why your company exists you can use that as your north star. It is your guide and cultural anchor. When facing those critical decisions, your purpose will shape your company and it will keep you on course.

Simon Sinek, the famous author and speaker, wrote the great book Start With Why. In the book he lays out three levels of how we all communicate. Sinek calls it the golden circle; What, How and Why.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Simon Sinek
The Golden Circle

All companies know what they do. Apple sells computer hardware, Audi makes cars and McDonalds sells burgers. Clearly what your business does is important, but it’s not the most important thing.

Some companies know how they do what they do. They might call it their proven process, secret sauce, unique selling proposition etc, however, much fewer companies understand why they exist.

The vast majority of companies operate on the basis that they exist to create profits for their shareholders. Whilst that is definitely the result all founders aspire to create this isn’t why a company exists. It is the byproduct of running a business.

Consider Amazon.com. Amazon’s “why” is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. How they do this is by putting the customer first in every decision and interaction.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO.

What they do is sell items online. Yet that isn’t all they do nowadays. They also produce video content for their streaming service Amazon Prime. A significant portion of the internet is hosted on the infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services. Other businesses use Amazon’s supply and logistics network to sell their own goods. They can operate successfully in so many domains because they fundamentally understand their reason for existing.

Knowing your why is also critical when it comes to selling products and services. People make decisions emotionally and use logic to rationalize their decisions. A company’s why speaks to our emotions. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

This is why people resonate with brands on a personal level. This is how some companies build loyalty with their customers whilst their competitors have to cut prices or add more features to compete. When a company speaks to their audience from their why and not their what it allows them to attract like minded people who align with their purpose.

If you are a small business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur it’s critical that you discover your why because it will allow you to find your tribe and create a community with those that align with your purpose.

Finding your why isn’t difficult but it does require reflection. If you want to uncover your why you will need to book some time for yourself and think about the following:

  1. What experiences/moments/events in your life have had the most profound impact on you? (aim for 10)
  2. What are you passionate about in your current life?

Start writing these down. The first will take the form of stories and the second a list of stuff you like to do. Don’t worry about writing the specifics or a long explanation. Just use bullet points with a level of detail that would remind you what you were talking about if you reviewed the list later.

Then you want to examine each of your points to uncover why this had such an impact or why this is a passion for you. For this, you need to really look below the surface.

Imagine you played football in your youth and you won the local championship. Maybe you remembered that story when you were doing this exercise. If you asked yourself why that had a profound impact on you your first response might be “The excitement of winning and the rush of knowing we were the champions.” Whilst true, stopping there would probably provide a superficial reason at best. If you look closer you might discover that you really enjoy being in situations where you have to work together with others. That one thing you truly value is teamwork and collaboration.

Once you have uncovered one story you keep doing it again with another. You will start to see a theme emerging. For me, some of the most profound moments in my life were when I fulfilled on a dream or goal of my own or helped someone else fulfill on theirs. These life experiences created a pattern that helped me to realize my purpose in life is to fulfill dreams.

Once you have identified these themes and patterns, this is when you want to examine “what are you passionate about in your day to day?” For me, I love startups. I love conversations around creating a new business, providing feedback about ideas, building new products etc. So when you bring both of these elements together it was only natural for me to start a company that exists for people to fulfill their dreams in business.

If you are struggling to uncover the root then keep inspecting. To do this keep asking why. Imagine it’s like an onion, you need to peel away the layers to find the root cause.

This advice isn’t exclusively for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you currently run a business and you are not totally “lit up” about your purpose, then taking time to re-evaluate and clarify your why is even more relevant for you. We all have a purpose even if we don’t know it yet. So when you aren’t aware of yours or your company’s then you will take actions that don’t correlate to it. This  can lead to unhappiness and poor business decision making.

Ultimately it really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do in life. Understanding your purpose gives you access to truly being the author of your life. You will naturally start to take actions that align with your why and you will be more fulfilled and happier with what you do in life.

Taking the time to reflect and discover your why is time and energy well spent. If you would like to explore your why or get clear on your next steps for fulfilling your business dreams, please feel free to reach out to me. My email is kieran@thena.app and I would love to hear from you.

What’s your why? I would love to hear them in the comments below.

Categories: Our Journey

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