Tips to Increase Profits – Spend a Week Asking Why?

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

My favourite question is “Why?” It gets right to the heart of things – even those things that you take for granted. Kids ask it all the time – much to the irritation of their frazzled parents, who suddenly question the basics in life again! Sadly though, it’s a question you don’t hear enough in many businesses and it is often drummed out of new people without anyone realising the positive impact it can have on a business.

For the next week, I challenge you to ask “why” to every situation you are faced with in your business. If you hear someone say “because we’ve always done it that way”, ask why? If your customers complain, ask why. If a staff member leaves, ask why. But this isn’t just about the negative things – use the question to help you understand the positives too. A satisfied customer? Why? A new sale won? Why?

Be prepared to be like a stuck record and keep asking it – and don’t just settle for the first answer. For example, take that complaining customer:

  • Why are they complaining? Because the service was poor.
  • Why was the service poor? Because there was a long queue and no one helped.
  • Why was there a long queue? Because the person serving was stuck on the computer too long?
  • Why was the server stuck on the computer? Because they don’t get onto the computer until they are dealing with live customers?

And so on.

If you keep doing this, you get a very different level of understanding than you would normally get and you may be surprised what gems you uncover that you simply did not know about.

During the week, if the answer is frequently about a company policy, process or routine, it’s time to shake things up a bit. The answer should be about the important things like quality, service or profit – not about a process which has lost its real purpose.

And finally, use the week to ask yourself why too. Why are you in business? Why do you work so hard and why do you want to succeed? Why do you stick to the same routine every day in the office? Why are you doing that activity rather than one of your team? Be honest with your answers!

By the end of the week, you may be surprised by what you find out about yourself and your business, including what the supposed fixed things are within the business. Most importantly, seeing you ask why about everything will do wonders for your staff too – and may make them realise that it’s a brilliant question to ask.

This week – just ask “why?” over and over.

Want help improving your business results? Click here for a free report – 52 ways to Boost your Profits! Kate Marsden is founder of Ignition Key Ltd and has 20 years business experience working at Director level for a number of well-known organisations. Kate provides businesses with advisory, support, coaching and mentoring services to enable them to step change their performance and results. For more information visit

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