“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Celebrity author Simon Sinek wrote a revolutionary book called “Start With Why”. He says, based on complex research results, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He further adds – “those who know their why are the ones who lead.”
The Golden Circle:
Simon came up with what he calls The Golden Circle. Three circles – a circle within a circle within a circle. The outside circle is “What”, the second circle is “How”, and the innermost is “Why”.
Simon further says go from the inside out instead of from outside in. Start with Why.
The Why: it’s your core belief, which inspires you to do what you do
The How: the specific actions you take to convert your Why into reality
The What: the tangible results from your action, which people see as proof of your acting on your Why
Simon cites Apple as an example. He says Apple starts with “a purpose, cause or belief that has nothing to do with WHAT they do”. Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about the challenge of differentiation. They don’t think of themselves as being like anyone else and they don’t have to ‘convince’ anyone of their value. They are different and everyone knows it. They start with WHY in everything they do.
Take Apple for example. Apple says: “[The Why] In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. [The How] The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. [The What] And we happen to make great computers.”
How Do Accounting Firms Express What They Do?
Most firms’ websites show a curious commonality in explaining what they do.
From Audits to Tax Strategies to Consulting & MORE
We promise our clients fast answers, professional advice and personal support.
We’re experts at providing financial, strategic, organizational and operational management solutions to businesses and individuals. But what we do best is listen.
Meaningful, well-organized financial records ensure that your business…..
We provide a full range of cost effective accounting services including the following…..
We are a CPA firm specializing in small to medium sized businesses and the … In addition to providing traditional accounting and tax services, we can…..
I guess most businesses and individuals have this in their minds “Financial Statements and Tax Returns = CPA (firm)”. So the “What” seems to be fairly understood by the market. And hence, the real differentiator between firms is “How” they do it (compared to others) and more importantly “Why” they do it – if one has to believe what Simon Sinek believes i.e. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
The Golden Circle of Accounting Firms
I pondered over what could be the Golden Circle of Accounting Firms. What could be the Why of Accounting Firms?
Let’s take the Apple example again:
“[The Why] In everything we do, we believe in ____________________________. [The How] The way we ______________________ is by ____________________________. [The What] And we happen to ________________________________________.”
Arguably, the most difficult part to articulate is the “WHY”.
After talking to tens of hundreds of accountants over the years, what I believe is that the accountants believe this:
THE WHY of Accountants: “In everything we do, we believe in making financial lives of our clients better.”
As an Accountant, do you agree to this WHY?
More challenge comes next. How do you define your “How”?
Here is what I thought:
“We make financial lives of our clients better by analyzing which financial decisions of clients were wrong and which financial decisions could have been better and recommending such actions for each client specifically that will help clients taking better decisions in future that make the most financial sense for them.”
As an Accountant, do you agree to this HOW?
And the WHAT
And now comes the outer circle – the WHAT. How do you define your “WHAT”, based on the “Why and How” above?
Here is what could make simple sense.
“And we happen to provide great Accounting and Tax Preparation (and Audit or…..) Services.’
So the Accountant’s Golden Circle, Starting With Why, could be:
“In everything we do, we believe in making financial lives of our clients better. We make financial lives of our clients better by analyzing which financial decisions of clients were wrong and which financial decisions could have been better and recommending such actions for each client specifically that will help clients taking better decisions in future that make the most financial sense for them. And we happen to provide great Accounting and Tax Preparation (and Audit or…..) Services.”
This is NOT the end. This is not the best. This may not be even good. This is just the beginning – the beginning of a thought process to make you think about your why. And articulating it clearly to your market.