If you have an idea and want to start a company: Start with why.
Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. Every single day you are running straight into darkness with no clear finish line in sight. There are bright days and there are days that make you question everything. No matter what day is ahead, all you can do is keep running and it makes it a lot easier to do that if you know why you are doing it in the first place.
The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is the fundamental teaching point of Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. The Golden Circle helps us find order and reminds ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why.
Why: Your Purpose
Very few people or companies clearly explain WHY they do WHAT they do. Starting with why means being purpose driven. Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care? Understanding WHY you do WHAT you do will give you a clear framework for every decision that you make.
Company Why vs Personal Why
Our business started because of Robinson’s (my co-founder) struggles as an emerging fashion designer. The main problems we identified were finding resources and a reliable manufacturer, building a team to make up for your weaknesses, and having an audience to showcase your work. In the beginning of FITS, everything we did was to support emerging fashion designers.
Robinson is a fashion designer. Therefore, everything he does within this company is to support his younger self. I am not a fashion designer and I would say that I am not particularly passionate about fashion. However, I learned how to use FITS as a trojan horse for my mission.
Back in 2017, my friends and I had an idea. We wanted to create a clothing brand that would make a societal impact, but we were yet to find our purpose. Then came along the two words that changed the course of my life.
It encapsulates the idea that we live in a world where talent and hard work alone cannot guarantee success. The idea that those who truly deserve are stifled by the uncontrollable and unfortunate realities of our society. We believe everyone has their own Power Struggle. Be it race, income, gender, sexual orientation or anything this world holds prejudice against. From this, we created Power Struggle t-shirts to empower people to overcome their own Power Struggle, whatever it may be.
4 year later, I found myself raising my first round of funding for FITS, a process that carried an abundance of stress. I was forced to reflect as to why I lived, aspired and so desperately needed to be an entrepreneur. I realised that I want to build future businesses for the same reason I started my first business. I believe in the bright minds and talented people that have been constrained by the cards they were dealt. Through education and new businesses, we can empower a world in which people can truly create economic opportunities for themselves. That is why it is my mission to fight our power struggle by educating, inspiring, and building platforms for creators* to prosper.
Creator: a person that brings something into existence.
FITS is a business that is designed to fight our Power Struggle by empowering individuals to become creators. We live in a world where people are denied success by other people. Whether that is applying to college, being in clubs like the Stern Venture Society, or even when applying for a job: someone else has the power to be the gatekeeper to your success. I believe in the world of the creator because creators can’t be denied success. When you are a creator, your work eclipses everything else. Your talent and hard work is brought to light and nobody can deny you the opportunity to Create Your World.
I wake up everyday and keep running in order to open up a pathway for creators to eat. This gives me a baseline for everything that I do and every decision that I make when it comes to our business. From there, it is much easier to come up with new product ideas or content ideas for our community because I know what the point of everything is in the first place.
You may not have your why figured out completely, but I will challenge you to think about why you are doing what you are doing because your dream idea is a long road ahead and that why is going to be the only thing propelling you through the darkness and uncertainty of the journey ahead.