Defining Your Why: Why it's important to get to the heart of your business


Are you a creative looking to springboard into business?
Are you already IN business but feel in a rut?

Let me ask you a question, have you taken a moment to really think about why you do what you do? What problem you want your business to solve? Have you thought about who your ideal client is? What they do?

As a creative business owner, there are so many things to consider as you’re getting started. Chances are you got to that point because there was a hobby, or a passion that you’re pursuing that you thought would be a great way to make a side (or hell, full-time) income. However, as creatives, most of us know nothing about what it takes to own and operate a business. There are so many things at the surface that seem obvious—think of a name, create your product, register a domain, find some way to keep track of your money, that’s it...right?


Owning a business is so much more than just being creative all the time. Owning a business involves sales and marketing strategy, social media savvy, and business visuals. You didn’t sign up for that when you decided to take your passion full-time!

When you know why you’re in business and who you’re speaking to, everything else becomes that much easier. It paints a clear picture about the journey you’re on as a business owner and the story that you want to tell. Telling a story and connecting with your clients is one of the most important parts of having a business. Consumers love to make connections with brands and feel like they are part of it. The more you know why you’re in business and the clients you want to connect with, the more authentic your brand becomes.

So what questions do you need to ask yourself?

When I start working with new clients, I have them fill out a very detailed questionnaire to help get to the heart and soul of their business. It covers how you see your business, how you see your clients, and your long-term goals. I find that by having clients go through this process, it helps throughout the design process and we get to the true root of their brand.

I have turned that questionnaire into a downloadable worksheet to help you break down the why of your business so that you, too, can get a clear picture of the story you want to tell.

In this worksheet you will be able to reflect on your brand’s story in the following ways:

  • In five adjectives, how would you describe your business?

  • What are your short and long term goals for your business?

  • What sets your business apart? How are you solving a problem in a unique way?

  • If you had to define your ideal client in five adjectives, what words would you use to describe them? Who are they? What do they do?

  • What do you stand for as a brand and what values are important to you as a business?

The questions in this worksheet are meant to help get your brain thinking about how to make authentic connections with your clients. Sure, you could be a business that “just sells things,” but wouldn’t it be more fun to be a business that makes real relationships with their clients? As a business owner, I love being able to connect with my amazing clients throughout their design process. To me, owning a business is more than just a transaction. I love to learn about my clients and connect with them on a deeper level.

As an example, many of my clients deeply connect with my Designing for Good initiative. As a designer, it’s important for me to give back to my community and my clients also appreciate that. I have heard from many of my branding clients that they “love” that I’m giving back to organizations that need it most. I also work hard to go above and beyond to provide little extras to make my client experience more unique and personal.

Leighwood Paperie: Defining Your Why

If you’re looking to give your business a clear vision, be sure to download the Defining Your Why worksheet to help guide you to what your brand truly stands for. Post it on your wall to serve as a constant reminder of your values as a business owner and your long-term goals.

And don't forget to celebrate when you hit those mini-goals.
You earned it!