gaining clarity
Picture of Tom Clairmont

Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

3 Critical Steps to Gain Clarity For Your New Startup Business

Defining Your Dream

“If your dream doesn’t make you uncomfortable, it isn’t big enough.” Kary Oberbrunner

Every day, more people are using the internet to start a side business, full time self employment or create a new revenue stream. There are always problems in the startup process. Issues that crop up that we didn’t expect, in addition to the problems that we did expect. But the solution isn’t more time or money, the solution is more clarity. 

Clarity is power. When you have clarity, you multiply your time because you know exactly what to work on next. When you have clarity, you conserve money because you know exactly where to invest it. When you have clarity, you can work through any issue that comes up and have the motivation to keep going forward without being sidetracked.

I want to encourage you to be a learner but also a DOER. Action cures fear.

“Clarity comes with a marriage of movement and meditation.” by Mike Kim

STEP 1- Determine Your ‘Why’

Few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. I’m not talking about making money, everyone has that as their reason ‘why’, but that’s really more of a result than a purpose.

Why will you get out of bed in the morning? Why will you be doing what you want your new startup business to do? Why will your company exist?
A little later, we’ll determine What to do, and then How to do it, but we all need to first start with WHY. People don’t buy what you do. There are a lot of others doing the same thing as you, but people are more drawn to Why you are doing it.

When a company tries to sell us What they do, they communicate from the outside, in. When you start your message with the reason Why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re communicating from the inside out, which is a message that will reach people’s hearts and minds; this method will be more effective.

“Knowing your Why is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility.“ Simon Sinek

How do you determine your individual Why factor? Do you ‘go with your gut’?

The Clarity of Why

If people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it, then it’s of utmost importance that if you don’t know why you do what you do, how will anyone else know?


Time to do a brain dump on the ‘Why factor’. Just write down the initial reasons you have and don’t over think them. This is why teachers tell their students to go with the first answer and don’t change it. Your ‘gut’ answer is statistically the correct one. 

So, let’s go over the initial questions again:

Why will you get out of bed in the morning?

Why will you be doing what you want your new startup business to do? 

Why will your company exist?












How did I answer the Why questions?

Why will I get out of bed in the morning? 

Why will I be doing what I want my business to do? 

Why will my company exist?

My Story

Born and raised in upstate New York, I grew up in a small town where photography, tennis, pool and ping pong were my main interests. At a time where modern computer technology was new, I went to school in New Jersey to pursue a career in IT.  

Working deeper and deeper into the technology roles I had, I found that training and public speaking were assets that helped me develop into other roles that were eventually coming in my future. 

I made the leap to self employment in 2002 where I was able to gain key insights and experience with the myriad of small business development issues including services for startup launches, sales, marketing, promotion, public speaking and training.   

There was a Non-profit organization that needed help with their website, operations, marketing, message and fundraising and asked for my help. I was able to coach the Executive Director one-on-one and make a significant impact in these areas. This was the initial confirmation message for me in pursuing small business coaching.  

Small business coaching was a natural fit, given my passion for people, processes, technology and helping others to turn their dreams into reality. Rather than me ‘finding’ coaching, coaching ‘found’ me.

After moving to Virginia in 2018, I continued to assist people with their small businesses or NPO development and serve as a catalyst for small business launches or later in life pivots to self employment. 

I truly enjoy this type of service to people and find real satisfaction in knowing that I can help them navigate through the startup process quicker and easier.   

This is my ‘Why’

“Don't let your vision outpace your blind spots.” Kary Oberbrunner

What is at the heart of what you should do? The following three questions will help you to gain more clarity. My personal business coach Mike Kim helped me work through these questions:

STEP 2- Determine Your ‘What’ 

Q1. What ticks you off?  

A. This is the injustice you see in the world. 

Q2. What breaks your heart?

A. This is the compassion you have for people, organizations or causes.

Q3. What is the big problem you’re trying to solve?

A. This is the niche you need to determine for yourself.

Where these three circles converge is where the core of your future business resides. 

How did I answer these questions?

Well, after working through the startup process originally back in 2002, I saw how many issues there were and how complicated it could be. Back then, there were people that would give advice through the local SCORE Chapter (Service Corps of Retired Executives) but it just wasn’t the kind of focused, step-by-step process that was offered, with the clarity that I needed. It was always generic advice.

I knew a simpler way had to be established and that if a process was developed that brought together a lot of the loose ends, it would be a huge success.
I also saw how others went through the process and knew that the time for creating a better way, was now.

So, the Dream, Plan, Execute process that I’m developing will help those that are looking to fast-track their startup process so they can move on to the things they do best, save time and money, so they can begin making money sooner.

These are my answers to the three clarity questions:

Q1. What pisses you off?
A. The self employment startup process was incredibly complicated and confusing for me when I first started out.

Q2. What breaks your heart?
A. There are a lot of people that just want to launch their startup faster but they either:
• Hit a wall because of complications,
• Feel that they have to spend a lot of money for assistance through these issues,
• Have to jump over hurdles which slows them down or discourages them, resulting in either delay or failure to launch.

Q3. What is the big problem you’re trying to solve?
A. Streamline the startup process to make it quicker and even more enjoyable so people can get on to what they love to do and make money faster.


Time for you to do a brain dump on how to answer these three questions. Write everything down that pops into your head. Don’t filter your thoughts at this point. This will help you to get to the heart of what to do. 

Q1.   What ticks you off?




Q2.   What breaks your heart?




Q3.   What is the big problem you’re trying to solve?




Remember, clarity is a marriage of movement and meditation.

As you think about these questions and work out the answers for your situation, you’ll start to develop the focus and simplicity you’ll need so that you can go forward with the startup process smoother and faster. 

Clarity is power. 

STEP 3- Determine Your ‘How’

Strategy / Tactics

The two concepts are: strategy vs. tactics.

The legendary military strategist Sun Tzu said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

In a nutshell, strategy is a “how” … not a “what.”

To be the best in your niche is a goal, not a strategy.

To serve people with honor and integrity is a vision, not a strategy.

Putting keywords into your blog post to optimize SEO is a tactic, not a strategy overall.

My personal example is on the right.

goal strategy tactic

So now it’s your turn.

Work through the process of determining what your overall goals are, but to determine and document your various strategies and tactics will be as you launch your small business.

Determine a few strategies and then how you will perform it with the tactics.

Time for you to do a brain dump on your Goals, Strategies and Tactics. Be creative, but focused on the core purpose of your business while being consistent with your message.

Goal: ____________________________________________________________________
Tactic: ____________________________________________________________________

Goal: ____________________________________________________________________
Tactic: ____________________________________________________________________

Goal: ____________________________________________________________________
Tactic: ____________________________________________________________________

I hope this article was helpful to you in determining your ‘Why’, your ‘What’ and your ‘How’ and that it will bring clarity of thought and purpose for you on this journey your going through to pivot and launch your new small business.

If you’ve already launched your business, GREAT! Congratulations! This information may still be helpful to you in gaining focus and clarity.
If you’re in need of further one-on-one coaching, let me know and we can talk about our schedules and what works for us both. My email is:

I’d be interested in getting your feedback on this information as well and if there are ways to improve the message.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
If you need coaching for your startup idea, or assistance with a specific service that I offer, please email Tom directly at:

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