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The 7 Critical Questions Every Business Owner Needs to Ask

Who? … What? … Why? … When? … How? … How much?  Where? … As a business coach, I ask clients these questions all the time.

Of course, the exact nature of the questions changes somewhat depending on whether someone is just starting a business or they’ve been at it a while.

Let’s break it down.

Who are you?  What talents, knowledge, skills, and areas of interest set you apart from the crowd and make you special?

Who are you here to serve?  Write out a detailed description of your ideal client.  That’ll help you literally visualize and relate to them.

What?  What do you have to offer your customers or clients that will provide them with life-changing benefits … benefits they’ll be willing to freely pay for?  And what will those benefits be exactly?

Think in terms of real, bottom-line payoffs.  Hint:  They’re often emotionally oriented.  Peace of Mind.  Freedom from pain.  Relief.  A clear and exciting sense of direction.  Certainty.  Fulfillment.

But, having talents, knowledge, skills, and an interest in a subject area and an ideal client in mind doesn’t mean you have a compelling reason to go into business.

Why?  Why do you want to start … or grow … or redirect … a business?  In my case, over the last 20 years, I redirected from being primarily a life coach to being a business coach to adding in more executive coaching and training.

To make money?  That’s a good reason … a fundamental reason for most people.  But is that enough to keep ya goin’ when the goin’ gets tough?

Maybe not.  In fact, probably not.

Most of us need a stronger motivation than just money to get us started in the first place and to keep us driving toward our desired outcomes … come what may.

Why MUST you do this?  Nothing short of MUST will do.  Write it out.

“I must do this, because _______________________.”

“He who has a why can bear almost any how.”  Nietzsche

When?  Now?  Once you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row?  Once you’re financially secure? Someday … one day?

The stronger your why, the more now will feel like the right answer. 

Are there good reasons to delay?  Of course.  And there are lame reasons, which usually serve to reveal the truth … that the initiative you’re undertaking just isn’t important enough to you.

My own why was strong.

As I say in talks I give to groups …

“When I left my job with the city to start my coaching business, part of me thought, ‘This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.’ But part of me knew, just knew, that this is why God put me on this earth, and I had to make it work … not just for me, but for all the people I’m here to serve.”

There will always be reasons to hesitate.

“Not enough time.”  Phooey.  You have the same amount as everyone else.

“Not enough money.”  It’s true, ya never want to be undercapitalized.  That’s killed many a good business.  The flip side of that is that if you wait to take the leap, you might wait … hmmm, I don’t know … forever.

Bad economy?  Come on.  Some of the most successful businesses, such as GE and HP were started in the middle of depressions.

Start by listing why you shouldn’t or couldn’t start now and then apply the BS meter to those assertions.  Weigh the truer ones against your MUST.

How? This is exactly what I help clients with … with a special focus on marketing and sales.  There are strategies that work and strategies that don’t.  Is it good to strategize and plan?  Absolutely.  Planning the work intelligently and diligently working the plan = success far more often than not.

AND … there are times in life and business where you just don’t know how you’re ever gonna accomplish something specific you want to accomplish.  In those cases, don’t worry so much about how.  If your why is strong enough … the universe will provide.  Trust that you’ll figure out a way.

How much?  As in how much should you work at this and how much should you charge?  Answers:  Full time … and not a penny less than you’re worth.

Where?  Ah, the beauty of the digital age.  You can work from anywhere … in person or online.  What works best for you and your peeps?

Now, go figure this stuff out.  The world needs you!

Warmest Wishes,



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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!