At some point in your research and reading, I’m hopeful that you’ve come across a school of thought that says you earn or achieve according to your ability to provide solutions. The ability to provide answers to problems. In the quest of business and success therein you will endeavour to provide answers. Sometimes success doesn’t come even when we are answering questions and this is because the questions matter more than the answers.

See, it’s not just about answering questions, it’s about answering the right questions. The quality of the questions you answer is what will determine how well you do. After all, all human beings existing on planet earth today are answering multiple questions on a daily basis. The difference between “How can I pass the time until bedtime?” and “What’s the best thing I can do to move me towards my goal?” is the difference between success and failure. Yet when asked both questions will receive answers that are likely to be acted upon.

So what does this have to do with entrepreneurs? A lot. The same concept can be used to explain why some businesses have failed to take off were others which are seemingly similar have succeeded. As solution providers, entrepreneurs start businesses to answer burning questions. Just make that firstly it’s a question that other people are actually asking and secondly it is actually a burning question.

Many times we see young entrepreneurs try to launch a business on the back of great technology. We see a lot of this in our landscape where people attempt to adapt an idea that has worked very well in foreign markets but can’t seem to make it work in Zimbabwe. You’ll get remarks such as “Zimbabweans are not ready” or “they just don’t understand“. You built the business on a great answer but to a question that nobody was asking.

Better businesses answer better questions. This is not just in relation to the business as a whole but in smaller parts of the business. One can sit there and ask “why don’t Zimbabweans shop online?” while another person in the same position would ask “How can we make Zimbabweans shop online?”. Both valid questions but clearly one is moving towards motivating better answers. Better quality questions will lead to an improved standard of life.

Change your questions. Are you asking yourself the best questions? Or are you going with the motions? A lot of stress and busyness emanate from focusing your mind on questions that do not yield value even when we have answers to them. My favourite question in many situations is “What is the most important thing I can do right now?“. It focuses my mind on matters of important rather than just what needs to be done. Think about the questions you ask yourself on a daily basis. Make a conscious effort to improve your questions. Your business is an answer too but what is the question? Is that the question you want to be answering?