Whatever business you’re in, your work involves asking a LOT of questions.
We do it constantly, whether we realise it or not.
It’s one of the ways in which business intersects with ‘real life’. Because as biz-owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers, our businesses truly are extensions of ourselves.
Just as we ask ourselves ‘life questions’ – who do we want to be with, where do we want to live, what should we do at the weekend – we also ask ourselves ‘business questions’:
Who do we want to serve, how can we solve a client problem, which app or tool or resource should we spend money on next?
Pretty much every business started with the question: “what if..?”
Asking the right questions means we’re more likely to find the right answers.
When we don’t ask enough questions we become stuck. Change tends to happen TO us rather than BECAUSE OF us – again this applies to business, but also to life in general.
So, how do we know which questions to ask?
Sometimes it’s instinctive:
Running your own business means you’re smarter and more self-reliant than the average bear. It means that every single day you have multiple decisions to make – some big, some small.
So you ask questions to help you figure out the best option.
Some are practical or straightforward: how much should I charge? Where should I advertise? Should I take this on or am I too busy? Is X material better value than Y?
You ask questions of your colleagues, your clients and customers. You ask what your competitors might do, and you ask yourself questions, constantly.
Most of the time you do this instinctively, and you barely notice the questioning skills you’re deploying. But they’re there.
Sometimes it’s learned:
You read books, follow experts, attend workshops, invest in courses and qualifications. You Google stuff.
You learn to ask better questions about specific elements of your work, and that helps you get better at what you do.
The result: your products and services improve, and your customers benefit. You can raise your prices, or expand, or be more selective about who you work with.
Sometimes it can really help when people ask you questions.
When you’re asked a question you’ve not asked before or forgotten to ask recently, you’re likely to learn something new about yourself, your business, your customers.
But if you only ask the questions YOU want to ask, you risk missing out on a lot of answers.
When someone else asks you questions, you think differently: sometimes more deeply, or about options you’d not considered. You realise you know some of the answers, and you’re able to access new knowledge, thoughts or feelings.
Some answers don’t come right away, but the questions bubble away in the back of your mind and the answers reveal themselves slowly, over time.
And some just lead to more questions 😉
Ultimately, only you can find your answers. But it helps to know where to look.
Over the past decade I’ve learned directly from a number of amazing consultants and coaches, all with different processes and purposes. The one thing they have in common is that they’ve all helped me by asking sometimes difficult, but always useful questions.
And one of the most rewarding parts of my work has been asking clients searching Q’s about their lives and businesses in turn.
We’ve used questions to achieve some real breakthroughs: to better understand how they can position their products and services, to help develop new ones, to find new customers… but also to better understand these biz-owners’ deeper whys.
Whether it’s a short-term impact like being able to craft a better sales message, or a longer-term impact like gaining a better understanding of the work they do, there’s been value in both outcomes.
Now I’m ready to share this impact with more people…
If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer and you want to ask better questions so you can have breakthroughs of your own, I’m developing a new way to help you do that.
It’s coming in March. If you’d like to be among the first to hear about it, subscribe to my email list below and I’ll let you know.