The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads

Start Your Business With Three Simple Questions


As a rule…simplicity rules.

Whether we’re talking about your website, your business, your family or your life in general - simplicity is king. It makes life, well, simpler. And a simpler life is a life full of richness, opportunity and, I’ve found, joy.

So why do we spend so much time making life complicated? Worse, why do we make our businesses so complicated?

If you think about it for a moment, having a business, especially a home-based business, is quite simple. It really requires answering three questions:

  1. Who you are?
  2. What you do?
  3. Who you do it for?

That’s it. Really, it is.

Now I know that the answers to each of these questions can be full of complicated processes, complex systems and overwhelming business structures. And having run a business for more than ten years, I know there’s much to do to be successful.

Yet clearly answer those four questions and you have a basic business plan.

For instance, clearly knowing who you are and what you do - or what you have to offer; or better yet, what problems you can solve for people - sets the basis for the direction in your business. It’s the visioning part of business development. And when the vision is clear, then everything else in the business can answer to it.

Same can be said about knowing who you do it for. If you clearly know who has the problems you can solve, now you have the basis of a marketing plan. And everything in the marketing plan would answer the vision and the who your audience is.

You see, clarity is the key to success in business. Finding it will set you free.

And so why don’t most small or home-based businesses take the time to find the clarity? Lots of reasons, really. The biggest one is likely fear of something. Fear of hard work. Fear of not being able to do it. Fear of being boxed in by a vision and plan. Fear of putting in the effort to get clarity only to find that you have none. All these, and more, get in the way of you finding clarity and, hence, stop you from growing a successful business.

But you know the neat thing? You don’t have to get that complex. Fear is a complex thing. Fear is what makes the process bigger than it needs to be. All you have to do is begin by answer the three questions - who you are, what you do and who you do it for. That’s it. These are the seeds you need to plant, then nurture, so they can germinate and grow into a living, thriving business.

And let me know how it goes…

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    On January 10th, 2008 at 4:16 am, James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips said:

    Yet clearly answer those four questions and you have a basic business plan.

    I only saw three questions… but I’ll add the fourth for you and save you some headaches:

    HOW will you do it?

    It isn’t enough to know who, what, and who. You have to know how. Or figure out how. No business can start without that vital point factored in.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 6:50 am, Deb said:

    Dawud, I can only find 3 questions, but I think that’s what you meant. But I do appreciate the simplicity. Business plan outlines from SCORE are sooo intimidating.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 6:54 am, Chris Bartow said:

    I would add How are you going to make money?

    Advertising and affiliate marketing can be successful, but people need to know the market is there for the niche they are covering. Some people try to sell products online that just don’t ship well, so the market is there, but people in general will go to a local store to pick the item up.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 1:19 pm, Dawud Miracle said:

    The questions of how are secondary, really. And they get in the way of first clearly defining your service.

    I see many, many small business owners make this mistake. Yet it’s much easier to find ‘how’ when you clear on what.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 1:30 pm, James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips said:

    But your post was about starting a business, not defining a concept. To define a concept and determine what you would sell, yes, your three questions are fine and dandy. That’s “how to start creating a business,” in which you are creating the business, not opening doors.

    To start your business - which implies you’re doing something to get it going and rolling - you *must* have the how. How isn’t secondary to starting a business. It is the main question.

    I’m splitting hairs, maybe, but hey. It’s an interesting debate.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 2:05 pm, Joe Cheray said:

    I keep these questions in my head when I start thinking of working for someone else instead of myself. Number 3 is the one that sticks out the most because that is the one I ask myself. Who would I be doing the work for? So then it goes back to who would I be if I went to work for someone else? When I look at these two answers I think then that I want to remain an individual and work for my dreams on my own and not work under someone anymore.

    The thought of getting up before the crack of dawn to get myself up, my son up and both of us out the door take him to a sitter until he can be picked up by the bus for school and then do the whole process in reverse at the end of each day just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

    So I would have to say once you have really established the three questions above the rest will take care of themselves once you make the commitment to work for you and not someone else.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 2:22 pm, Dawud Miracle said:

    @James - I hear you and maybe we’re both splitting hairs. Yet that’s fine with me. There’s tons of different ways to look at it.

    As I see it, a business is something you can have without having customers/clients. So what you do is the business, for my perspective. And the how is the action of getting your clients. I’m just of the mind that most people put the cart before the horse; spending tons of time on marketing when they don’t really know what they’re doing. That’s why I took that tact.

    On January 10th, 2008 at 5:23 pm, Alan Johnson said:

    Definitely, people should not lose track of the bottom line when it comes to planning their business. Common sense questions such as the ones you’ve mentioned tend to be overlooked a lot of times by people who end up spending too much time on aspects which are far less important.

    Alan Johnson

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