The Cause Question: ‘Why is it important?’

cause question

Do you remember why you went into business for yourself? Was it to make a lot of money? Or was it really to be your own boss, chart your own course, and have a little more free time?

The brutal reality for most small business owners is that they feel like they have a job instead of owning a business and spend their days putting out brush fires. I know how you feel.

Our third article of this series will now discuss “The Cause Question: Why is it important?” Our last article covered “The Clarity Question: Where are you going?” Once you’ve identified where you want to go, it is vital to understand why.

Having systems in business

After being in business for 13 years, I found myself working 24/7. I had little freedom. That’s when I began to learn about having systems in my business.

My early mentor, who helped me get through level one (personal development), was at my office one day and noticed all the chaos happening around me. He told me I needed to read a book called “The E Myth” by Michael E. Gerber, which I did. After reading the book, I went to Destin, Florida, with a pile of spiral notebooks and began to rewrite my future. After a week on the beach, I returned to Houston and began building systems and hiring staff. I realized for the very first time that I could have a turnkey business.

Over the years, we have succeeded in building systems, learning leadership, and building a phenomenal dream team.

But why did I want to have a turnkey business in the first place?

Why? For freedom

Remember, I wanted freedom. I wanted to go to the beach. I was not too fond of most parts of the business. I didn’t like having meetings and managing people, and I hated administration work! However, I loved marketing, didn’t mind sales, and have always been good at both.

But I wanted to be free. My vision was to have other people do everything I didn’t want to do. But that only lasted a short time. I truly wanted to spend more time at the beach, but I also sensed a calling to do something else.

Freedom led to a new path

Once I realized I was no longer a lackey in my business, it wasn’t long before I found my new path. At that point, my business was earning a couple of million dollars per year, and frankly, I was bored.

I had become president of a regional trade association, which put me in a position to speak, write, and get cleaners together. I began writing for Cleanfax, sharing my business growth strategies. People were very interested, so I decided to start helping them grow their businesses.

I love to write, so I started with three manuals I sold as a set. Then, I expanded my product line (hence the name Phenomenal Products). Along the way, I began doing teleseminars (now I’m dating myself). Next, I started doing in-person seminars and continued to build my packaging. I was doing about eight seminars per year for a large supply company with dealerships nationwide.

My programs focused more on marketing and sales in those days. I didn’t have much on leadership or pricing, but this larger company did. I proposed a joint venture, and we co-branded the product. We ended up with the ultimate business-building system in a box—everything you could possibly need to build and run a small business.

Big, fat vinyl cases housed this product—11 in all. A person couldn’t even take them out to the car without making two trips, and we sold a ton of those programs. People loved our systems, but a problem developed.

Although they loved the packages, they didn’t use them; it was too much information. Even though my modules had the solution to every business problem in their business on their shelf, many still did nothing with it. I visited a gentleman in upstate New York back in the days when I was offering on-site consulting. As I settled into a chair on the other side of his desk, I couldn’t help but notice all the big vinyl manuals on his shelf.

He had my entire system! It took up a whole shelf! I was so proud. But when I pointed them out, he said, “I’ve only opened one of them. They give me a headache. That’s why you’re here.” Then it got worse! I showed him the solution to all of his issues that day, and he kept making excuses why he couldn’t do it. He never took action.

That’s when I realized training and coaching were the keys. So, I started a coaching program. Now, the customers who bought the packages have coaching to help them implement the curriculum!

But one more problem emerged.

A single coach simply isn’t enough. When you consider the five areas of business, which are leadership, marketing, sales, operations, and administration, and the seven areas of life, you realize you need more than one coach. I also learned that we need others around us who are going through the same thing, so I then developed a phenomenal community of coaches, trainers, experts, and business owners.

The results have been beyond phenomenal. I discovered that my purpose is to help business owners reach their life goals. As a result, I have been completely overwhelmed by the transformation of our clients’ business and personal lives.

In addition to business growth, I’ve seen marriages saved, families restored, and many of our clients find their purpose. I’ve even seen people restore their spirituality. I’ve seen cultures change and members grow into phenomenal leaders. What’s most impressive to me is how our community members support, encourage, and love one another. It is truly unique.

My why is to help others determine their why

My why is to help our coaching community members have more freedom to spend more meaningful time with their family, friends, and faith; to help them get out of debt; to help them become stronger leaders; and to help them build a phenomenal dream team. Members can soar with their gifts and not be bogged down with stuff they hate to do and, frankly, aren’t good at.

The first book I wrote was “7 Secrets of a Phenomenal L.I.F.E. (Living in Freedom Everyday).” No freedom comes to those who live in servitude to their businesses. Being broke and/or in debt offers no freedom. Not living out your purpose provides no freedom. My purpose became helping small business owners have more L.I.F.E.

What is your “why”?

Do you have a phenomenal dream? A phenomenal dream is different than a “big” dream. A dream just needs to be meaningful. It needs to make a difference in people’s lives, and a personal dream isn’t wrong either. It just won’t fulfill you. The pursuit of happiness is an American right, but it doesn’t fulfill.

Only when you find your purpose will you be inspired. And when you see the fruit of your purpose, you will have joy, which is completely different from happiness. Thought leader John Maxwell once told me, “When you get a taste of significance, success will never satisfy.”

I call this “The Cause Question” because one would answer that question with “Because…. What is your cause?” Why do you want a phenomenal dream team that can run your company for you? The reason most business owners aren’t turnkey, even though they know it’s a possibility, is because they don’t have a vision for what they would do if they didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, as I mentioned in the previous article.

Someone once said, “When you find your why, you’ll find your way.”

Growing a phenomenal business requires massive action. But as my coach said, “All growth happens outside the comfort zone.” Change is required. People only make extraordinary changes through desperation or inspiration. The problem with desperation is that we tend to slip back into our comfort zone as soon as the pressure is relieved.

Inspiration is key to moving up into the success zone. Nothing will inspire you more than a big why.

Michael E. Gerber, best-selling author of “The E-Myth,” the book that uncovered the mystery of a turnkey business for me, became my friend and mentor. One of the things I learned from Gerber’s book “Awaken the Entrepreneur Within” is two kinds of dreams exist.

The first one is what he calls the “personal dream.” For me, that is the house on the beach. The second one is called the “impersonal dream.” That is the dream that will make a difference in the world, has meaning, and has a meaningful BE-CAUSE.

I acquired my personal dream, and it is truly phenomenal. However, I realized through leading my coaching company that my lifelong purpose is helping others get what they want.

Leadership expert Dave Anderson said, “Make sure your dream is big enough to include your team.” My right-hand man, Santiago Arango, started with me when he was just 17 years old. He is 41 at the time of this writing. When he was in his twenties, he was going to school part-time to be an engineer. When he saw the life change happening to those in our coaching program, he decided to join the mission.

The best part is that when you build up people, a win-win-win is possible. Obviously, I am winning, and obviously, our coaching clients are winning. But Arango has become a master coach, master trainer, and is the epitome of a phenomenal human being. He is a man of faith, a family man, a physical beast, smarter than most people I know, prosperous, and has a lot of fun with his family. Arango is living his dream, too!

When I think about Arango, one experience sticks out more than anything: The day he became an American citizen. When he came to this country as a mere 17-year-old, a drug cartel had run him and his mom out of Columbia. A Columbian refugee with nothing but the clothes on his back reaches the ultimate American dream.

That is my “why.”

What is yours? And why is it important?

Howard Partridge

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