Developing a Business Plan: Finding Your ‘Why’

In “Ogilvy on Advertising”, David Ogilvy famously notes that one of his best pieces of writing was one that he had been paid nothing for. Why was it his best? Because, at the end of the testimonial that he had written for Reader’s Digest, he signed his name. He would go on to admit that if every advertising agency would sign their names as the bottom of their advertisements, that each one would be their best advertisement because their reputation was dependent upon it.

But Ogilvy wasn’t so much making a point about money as he was trying to educate us on the notion that money wasn’t everything. As he would write, once his ad agency (Ogilvy & Mather) stopped worrying strictly about making money, they were able to make more money. By instead focusing on developing more effective, creative and ingenious advertising campaigns for businesses, Ogilvy & Mather was able to grow and become one of the most successful advertising companies in the world. In fact, Ogilvy was never afraid to drop a client that they found was difficult or took away from their essential business goals. In turn, it allowed their business to focus on what they felt was truly important: To develop world-class advertising that is creative, and effective in spreading the message of its respective clients. To follow through on their ‘why’.

The man behind some of the most brilliant advertising in the world.


Money Shouldn’t Be The End Game

Of course, it’s easy for any business to state that their ultimate goal is to make money. That, by selling products or services, they will be able to grow, and sell more products and services. Then they’ll open another location or two, and sell some more products and services. Etc. Etc. Etc.

But, as Ogilvy — and many other entrepreneurs, including the likes of Steve Jobs — argues, any good, effective business plan should be rooted in a greater idea that is far more resonant than merely making money. After all, making money can easily become a tiring, empty experience.

A real business plan addresses far more crucial matters than simply the issue of making money.

Finding What Compels Your Business

What drives any extremely successful business plan is a core idea or value that finds its way into every aspect of that business. As many have argued, it’s finding the answer to the question “why?” That is, why make products or provide services to people? Ultimately, the answer to that question is what separates moderately successful companies from hugely successful companies. Apple is far more successful than Dell not only because they want to make computers, but because they want those computers to be life-changing products in people’s lives, and the people that work for Apple believe that, too.

Weaving That Throughout Your Business

Upon finding that answer, it’s important that that same motivation weaves its way into any and all things that any business is involved in. Whether that be marketing through social media, or hosting an event at a local charity, or a new product launch, all of these different things should be motivated by that one essential goal. A business should love what they are doing not because it makes them money, but because it makes them and the people around them happy, or it makes their lives easier, or it changes the world in a positive way.

Ultimately, discovering that why and being motivated by that is far more powerful, for any business, than just aiming to make money. With a strong, core idea motivating it, sales will come. As Guy Kawasaki, writer of “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Heart, Minds, and Actions”, states, “do what you love and the money will follow.” 



Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.