Templates Updated on: 30 September 2019

The Golden Circle’s three questions to find your purpose


How do some of the most successful businesses motivate their employees, grow a base of loyal customers, and dominate their competitors?

Two words: trust and inspiration.

But how can you use these two simple words to cultivate trust among your employees? To get a customer to trust you with their time and money? To inspire your employees to join your journey? And to out-manoeuvre your competitors?

These questions can be solved by answering three simple questions: why, how and what.

These why, how and what, are the three pillars of Simon Sinek’s innovative Golden Circle concept that business leaders around the world are adopting. 

The Structure of the Golden Circle

By identifying the why behind why we’re doing something, we make it easier for people to want to buy from us, as well as distinguishing us from the competition.

Thought leader Simon Sinek created the Golden Circle concept to explain how some companies are able to rise above many others in the same field. In his popular TED Talk, Sinek proposes that the reason some companies develop strong and healthy relationships between themselves, their employees, and their customers is because they are purpose-driven.

This concept is the basis behind the Golden Circle, a visual map consisting of three concentric circles. The center and core of the Golden Circle is the WHY. It is the most important of the three questions. Why are you doing what you do? What is your purpose? Answering this can be a soul-searching process that might be difficult and time consuming. However, it makes all the difference. Once you can answer that, you can begin to gain loyal customers who identify with your why and want to be part of your journey.

The middle circle focuses on the process of HOW you do things. The outer circle is the easiest: WHAT you are doing.

The Golden Circle is a great strategic tool that you can use to help guide your view on innovation and consumer messaging. 

Remember why you started

WHY are you in business?

Many companies know what they are selling, without really knowing the why. The importance of knowing this cannot be understated. Your employees and customers can see what you produce. They can calculate its monetary value and usefulness. What these calculations do not do is drive behavior.

Think about people who love what they do, those who’ve found their purpose. Their passion is motivating and inspiring. Their enthusiasm inspires like-minded individuals to follow them on their journey and believe in the mission. When a company has a purpose it leaves a unique imprint on what they are producing, and we can’t help but want to support their mission.

If you’ve ever had a go at composing a Unique Value Proposition, you’ll notice similarities between the two ideas. A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, and it can turn a prospect into a paying customer. The difference is the Unique Value Proposition is one succinct line of copy, front and centre on your website. Whereas the why, is everywhere. Lying beneath every photo, every product, and every line of copy on your website.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe”
– Simon Sinek

When you are aware of the reason behind your product or service, you can influence people’s reasons behind their purchase. They will feel that sticking with you is the right choice for them.

At the same time, internally your relationships between you and your employees will be strengthened when you can share common goals. Even the act of collaborating on identifying your Why will be an opportunity to bring everyone closer. 

HOW are you different from the rest?

Now you have answered the why behind your actions, your raison d’etre, the next step is to answer, HOW. How are you different from your competitors? How do you create a bond with your customers? These are the actions you take to achieve the why.

Taking the time to answer these questions will help you understand the unique platform your business is built upon. This will help shape your branding, help you craft unique messaging and marketing materials that’ll prove effective when customers are shopping around. 

This also sets a framework of systems and actions your employees take, by becoming part of a purpose driven mission they can move forward with.

WHAT do you do that matters?

What products or services do you offer? Many companies manufacture cell phones, yet most people refuse to purchase anything other than an iPhone. 

Why is that? It’s because Apple produces a product that customers believe in. Simon Sinek explains it’s all due to their messaging: “Here’s how Apple actually communicates. ‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.” he says. 

Ready to develop customer loyalty?

The Golden Circle template is a fantastic tool to use to find your business purpose and improve the relationship amongst your employees and customers. Once you’ve found your why you’ll feel rejuvenated and inspired to work harder towards your goal. 

The first step is to invite your co-founders, team, or business partners to a collaborative brainstorming session. Send them the link to Conceptboard’s Golden Circle template, which allows everyone to collaborate in real-time simultaneously.

Starting with What (it’s the easiest) use the sticky-notes tool to note down WHAT exactly it is you do. These are the products or services you sell.

Next, focus on the How. These are the things that set you a part or make you special. These might be related to your brand, your staff, your products or operations.

Lastly, it’s time to identify your Why. The purpose, cause, or belief that guides your business. The reason for going to work every day (and no, it’s not to make money!). Try to keep this as business focused as possible, rather than based on individual purposes.

Hopefully you’ll be able to come up with a strong purpose that will help you guide your branding, marketing and Value Proposition. For more inspiration, take a look at some great examples of businesses finding their purpose here.

What are you waiting for? Try it for free now!

The Golden Circle template

Feeling inspired?  Check out the full Template Gallery, where you can find other free resources such as 10 Steps To Effective Teamwork With The Team Canvas and Using Agile Methods with Conceptboard.


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