The 7 essential questions you should ask yourself as an entrepreneur
Self inquiry is one of the most effective ways to manage your business. Here are 7 essential questions to regularly ask yourself.
Self-inquiry is a developmental method of regularly asking yourself the right questions to help achieve awareness, clarity and focus. When applied to your business it can help you better navigate the emotional ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur you have to consume and process an incredible amount of information with the hopes of interpreting it in a way that leads you to make the right decisions. There is a lot of noise — internal and external influences — that you must traverse so you ultimately get to where you want to be.
Self-inquiry will help you discern the information that’s most relevant, the influences most useful, and the decisions most impactful to you and your business. It’ll lead you back to the essence of why you do what you do and empower you to ignore or discard anything that’s not essential.
In both the good and challenging times of business ownership, I’ve always been able to rely on a set of meaningful questions to help me stay connected to my work, my clients, and my vision. I want to share with you a list of seven that have been particularly useful in steering me in the right direction.
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What is my purpose?
What matters most to you and why? Is this desire ever-present and clearly reflected in the work that you do and how you go about doing it? Do you see yourself in your business?
Do you harbor any prototypical images about what a business owner or entrepreneur should be? Do these images align with how you see yourself? If not, what new archetype can you find that is more empowering?
As an independent business owner, you are your business and your personal growth is essential to business growth. So how might you develop yourself and become more aligned with your life vision?
Why does my business exist?
Take some time to reflect on your business mission and consider, at the core of it all, what it stands for. What do you want your business to accomplish, when and why?
More specifically, why is this important to you personally? Why is this important to others — your family, your partners, your clients?
Think back to when you came up with the initial idea. What pushed you to realize this idea? What was so special about it that you decided to turn it into a tangible thing that many could benefit from?
Who does my business serve?
Who is your perfect customer? What do they look like and act like that? How do they spend their time? What are their deepest needs and desires?
How can you make space to better serve them authentically? What can you do better to draw them to you?
How does my business add value?
What core need are you meeting, problem you are solving, or desire you are fulfilling? How does creating this value help you generate wealth for yourself?
What are you uniquely qualified to do? What’s special about your approach that has the potential to stand out, even if there are many others doing what you do?
What should I start, sustain or stop?
Evaluate your activities, habits, processes, beliefs, etc. Which seem incongruent or inconsistent with your mission? What shift is required so you can be even more attractive to your perfect customer?
Also, consider what needs to be cleared and decluttered (literally or figuratively) to make space for more efficient and effective activities.
Now, which critical task can you take inspired action on because you believe it will move your business forward?
What am I grateful for today?
Momentarily shift your thoughts to the areas in your business that are going well and where you feel positive, hopeful and abundant.
Acknowledge your accomplishments as well as any situations that appear to have been failures or goals that you've not yet achieved.
What have you learned from the big wins and setbacks? How have they (or will they) move you forward?
Lastly, identify any signs showing up in your business that indicate your pending success — now anticipate it with thankfulness and joy.
What don’t I know?
Write down challenges within your business that you don't know how to solve right now. Now imagine, what might be possible if you release control and be ok with not knowing?
Today welcome any interruptions or distractions to your normal way of working on your business. Does the difference stir up any new thinking or ideas that weren’t there before?
Finally, think about who you can ask for help on something you are stuck with. Who might be in the position to support you so you don't have to go at it alone?
BONUS: What is my intuition telling me?
Do you hear that still, small voice inside? What is it trying to tell you? What does it want you to know? What can you do to hear that voice more often and run your business more intuitively?
In addition to considering this question set, craft a few of your own. What are three or four questions to regularly ask that will help you become more discerning as an entrepreneur?