Could vs Why

Many aspiring entrepreneurs immediately complete the paperwork requirements of being a legal company. Some will even press-on developing a strategy to scale their company’s infrastructure to enable rapid growth.  Then, they sit back and wait to come knocking on their door!  At this point, these folks have reached the “could” phase of your business success. They “could” be successful. However, to actually be successful, they must answer “why” they will be successful. .

This is the “could versus why”dilemma. When Government Contracting Academy founder, Randy Wimmer, launched his first company, he rapidly attained “could” status. He used to love daydreaming while mowing his lawn about his pending business success. He’d fantasize about going to a business networking conference and meeting an executive in a large company who would need his precise capabilities and knowledge.

Of course, this large company would want him to immediately support them. He would then negotiate a subcontract that he would rapidly grow and diversify over time. Before he got to the backyard, his thoughts would shift to buying a small Caribbean Island with the millions of dollars that were sure to come his way!

Of course, all of this “could” theoretically happen, but “why” would it happen? The large company probably had people on their staff who were just as knowledgeable as Randy for anything they would need. If they didn’t, then why wouldn’t they just hire somebody like him? And what value would his company, with zero qualifications, no past performance, and non-existing infrastructure provide a company like Lockheed Martin? Although luck is frequently an essential ingredient for success, most successful entrepreneurs realize that manna does not fall from the sky.

Over time, he learned to rely on the “could versus why” mental tool to assess the reasonableness of his business strategies. “Why” will this approach be successful? Rarely, he had doubt that it “could” work, but “why” will it work with a high degree of confidence?

Answering the “why” question forces a dramatic shift in your perspective to the deciding authority’s viewpoint. What are their requirements and how do you address them? What are the benefits that you are providing them? What unique attributes do you bring to the table, making you stand out from the rest of the world?

The “could versus why” tool led Randy down a path where he realized that he needed to differentiate his company from his competitors. Randy realized that his company not only had to be “legal,” it also had to be competitive! This is where a bit of “tough love” comes into play. Although the Small Business Set Aside Program is a great deal, it’s not a hand-out. Business is a contact sport, and you must beat your opponent.  You must be better, faster, cheaper, better communicated, more accessible, more something than your competitors to give your potential customers the answer to your “why” question.