Steve Drury
Steve Drury

With the arrival of allergy season, inevitably the other day I sneezed. My business partner said, “Gesundheit.” I hadn’t heard that term in quite some time and it struck me as a bit odd.

The next thing I knew, I put that odd word together with business and wondered, “What do people say when a business sneezes?”

What does it sound like when a business sneezes? Is it the sound of all those balls everyone is trying to keep up in the air crashing to the floor? Is it the sound of doors (of opportunity) slamming? Is it the wild, maniacal laughter of the business owner going off the deep end?

It could be any of these things or a hundred other sounds. It’s the sounds that come from the undivided focus on handling the next crisis or demand, the beast that never quiets no matter how much you feed it. It comes from a lost “why.”

The “why” of a business is lost under the demands of the day and under the never-ending quest for revenue. Yes, we’re all in business to make money, that’s a given. But there must be more than money to drive the quest.

What “wakes up” a company in the morning? What keeps it firing on all cylinders? What gives it meaning? What gives it life?

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Each of us needs our personal “why” and our businesses need “whys” too.

In my work with business owners over the years, I’ve heard many business “whys.” A few examples:

• We align our clients’ wealth with their purpose.

• We deliver tools to teams that help them work together more effectively, for their own fulfillment and for the benefit of the business.

• We provide ways for our clients to make more money, increase safety and improve the environment.

• We deliver great service and support innovation in our clients.

• We provide health options that aren’t typically available to employees through health insurance today. By supporting employee health and wellbeing, our clients thrive.

• We provide really good jobs and develop people and teams.

• We treat our employees right and they treat our customers right.

• We tell stories that need to be told.

Has your “why” been lost in the shuffle? If so, here are a few ways to discover your “why” anew.

• Ask your clients why they work with you. This will give you some great hints at your “why.”

• Ask your employees/team members why they work for your company.

Ask yourself and your leadership team:

• What drives the company (besides money)?

• What drives our decisions?

• Why do clients do business with us?

• Why do repeat clients come back?

• Why do I work for this company?

• Why did I/we start this company?

Gather the information you’ve collected and review it with your leadership team. Brainstorm how to articulate your why. Make it short and simple. Then share it. Share it with your team. Share it with your clients. Share it with potential clients. Make it a guidepost for decisions. Align your marketing with it. Align your internal performance with it. Use it.

Gesundheit is the German word for health. Gesundheit to your business.

Steve Drury is a business advisory board host, business coach and strategist as well as the president and owner of The Alternative Board based in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at or 719-301-9313.