How To Fuel Your Entrepreneurial Fire
Nov 17, 2015 | Posted by etc | comments (0)
Youth, enthusiasm, and a little bit of knowledge are powerful narcotics. Without the energy of youth very little would get accomplished in this world. This high-level kind of motivation is never a bad thing–not even if it is the self-interested kind. But when it comes to sustaining a small business, self-interested kind of motivation is of less value. Such energy will get a business launched, but it will never sustain.
Many new enterprises begin with youthful exuberance. Entrepreneurs are anxious to be in charge of the whole show and have it their way. They talk of a desire to make the customer happy. But the customer’s happiness does not necessarily come first.
Motivation in business is a balancing act for sure. No one will sustain business for long if they hate the work, even if people beg them to do it. But even if you love love love what you are doing, and even after you have shelled out your life savings for your startup investment, no one has to love love love your product. Just because you build it does not mean they have to come. There has to be a good reason for them to come. And that is where self-interest can back-fire.
Plain and simple, you will never sustain business if the customer does not come first. The best customer service happens when we stop long enough to figure out–not what we want–but what the customer wants. Which would mean you have to stop thinking about your own plans for a minute and start thinking about someone elses plans. Which would mean you would have to start thinking about how fortunate you are if someone, anyone, walks through your door in the first place. It is called gratitude. Yes, Gratitude is the best foundation for sustained business.
Which is why I have a bone to pick with some of the motivational programs out there. I remember going to a few conferences and paying good money for some of this less-than-stellar advice. I have been in rooms packed full of entrepreneurs and managers and leaders when all of a sudden the trainer’s voice gets all sing-songy. He instructs us to close our eyes and imagine ourselves on a beach, lying on a comfortable chaise lounge. We have our favorite beverage with the little twirly umbrella in our hands. We are to imagine the waves lapping at our feet and feel the imaginary sand under our toes. It is a good imaginary life. I have no problem with goal setting. It is good to know what success looks like and feels like and even smells like. Visualization has been an important technique for a very long time. You have to be able to imagine where you want to go before you can get there. So I am not against using imagination, except where it is self-focused. A self-focused technique causes you to imagine that your business is all about you and what you want. Believe me, it is not.
Without a vision to make life better for someone else, you will see each customer as only a means to an end, and as fuel for your personal economic engine. You will forget that they, like yourself, have dreams and plans to sit on a beach as well. You will forget that it is your job to design the perfect product for them–not to make your world convenient for you. Without customer focus, you will discount those who do not automatically recognize your product’s high value and worth, rather than accept responsibility for the perception. If the product’s value is not obvious, you have not done your job, either to a) make it all it claims to be, or b) to make the value obvious. Without customer focus, you will forget that your customers have something to give to you besides their money. They have things to teach you. They will teach you how to conduct a better business. If you listen to them, they will help you improve your product. They can even become your friends–if you will only stop to see them as something more than big data.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, making your business all about me is one of the quickest ways to find yourself disillusioned with business. Your employees will be disillusioned as well. They will figure out all too quickly that production is the only measure stick of their worth. Employees who feel appreciated as persons will work harder for you. Customer service will come naturally to them because they will desire to understand the mission.
Gratitude will improve all your business relationships. Making your business all about others is the only path to fulfillment in business. Rich and lasting satisfaction comes from creating relationships, from building an idea that is bigger than yourself, and from creating a vision that will outlast you. If people come first, and a valuable product second, profit will follow naturally as a result. If the order is reversed, even if you profit financially, you will not truly have profited at all. True Profit begins with love and ends in gratitude.
It seems counter-intuitive. Want to make sure your own fire never goes out? Throw logs on someone elses fire. This Thanksgiving, calculate your bottom line by the number of solid relationships you have built over the lifetime of your business. Find the true mission of your business in serving others with Gratitude.
“The man who gives much will have much, and he who helps others will be helped himself.” Proverbs 16:25
Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies? Because no matter how beautiful we make your visuals, your graphics will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your target, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection you will create with your visual graphics. We want to help you become the best you can be. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.