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“Why” Isn’t The Problem – The #1 Issue Business Owners Face When Modernizing Their Business


One of the top TED talks of all time is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, from a TEDX talk in Puget Sound in 2009. 

In it, he introduces the concept of The Golden Circle 

  • Everyone can tell you WHAT they do in their business 
  • Many can even tell you HOW they do it 
  • But few can tell you WHY they do what they do 
    Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | TED Talk

He encourages business leaders to Start with Why.  And it works.   

Starting With Why is a fantastic way to grow your business. And to enjoy what you do more.  In fact, Sinek says – they are linked. 

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe. 

-Simon Sinek 


Why Isn’t the Problem When Trying to Modernize Your Business, Though 

I’ve worked with over 100 business owners on modernization over the past three years. My learning is – when you are talking to business owners about adding technology – the Golden Circle flips on itself.  You need a different way of thinking about the modernization challenge. 

Why isn’t a problem  

Business owners know why they are working to modernize and scale their business. 

Typically, business owners are looking for more: 

  • Growth 
  • Purpose 
  • Rewards 

  And, they are always looking for less: 

  • Stress 
  • Uncertainty 
  • Time Demands 

“What” is the Problem Deciding What Technology Projects To Choose  

Business owners experience a random series of opportunities to add technology. 

  • Pitches from software vendors.  
  • Advice from other business owners.  
  • Marketing they collide with.   

And sometimes they proceed. But they often have nagging doubts.   

What will this new technology actually do for me?   

Will I get a real return on this investment?   

Is the juice worth the squeeze? 


To Get Clear on “What” Projects – Work on “How” to Focus First 

If we follow what we learned from Sinek – the way to link up Why and What – is to work on How. 

How will you get more of what you want, and less of what you don’t want?  

Start by figuring out How you will focus.  There are common areas to look for these opportunities to scale and modernize.  You should explore: 

  • Optimizing where you spend your own time, as the business owner 
  • Finding gaps in your processes that are holding you back 
  • Uncovering ways to help your team work to their full potential 
  • Determining the data you need to monitor your business effectively 


Now, You Are Ready For the “What” – Adding Technology To Modernize Your Business 

You can now plan for how to use technology to harvest these opportunities.  Two of the most effective ways to tackle scalability opportunities involve adding technology.  They are Automate, and Digital Assist. 

Automate – Take a process that requires a lot of manual work now and automate it.  Automate is ideal for high volume, back-office type work. Examples include cross-system data entry, tasks within recurring business processes, reconciliations, and reporting. 

Digital Assist – Take a customer-facing process that requires a knowledgeable team member.  Then, add technology to make this activity easier, faster, and better. Digital Assist is great for Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing activities.  High-touch internal activities can be approached this way too. 


The Benefits of Modernizing Your Business With Technology 

Modern businesses that harness technology fully are often industry leaders.  You can join them by making your own smart technology investments. 

Benefits include: 

  • Enables you to build Strength-Based Teams 
  • Removes reliance on the owner 
  • Provides the data you need to manage in a reliable fashion 
  • Ready to tackle growth opportunities 
  • Confident and capable to tackle other technology projects

Part 4 of 5 in our Scalability blog series. 

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