Who Do We Serve? Who Do We Help?
As a solo business owner it’s easy to work in a vacuum – to believe we’re alone. We may also think we are beholden to no one. So why are we in business? Who do we serve? and How do we help others?
Now, I’m not talking about serving coffee or food to folks in a restaurant setting. I mean, who do we provide our products or services to? Who did we give free advice to? Or perhaps provide guidance that would help some new entrepreneur to become more successful or to grow his/her business?
And did we do it with an attitude of gratitude, and willingness – to help solve someone else’s problem without the expectation of compensation?
I’ve got a few copywriter friends who recently commented on Facebook. Those comments disturbed me a little. My colleagues stated that they do not like to give away their advice or consult for free. They believe that their knowledge, time and effort spent on their prospect’s behalf is worth something, and that they should be compensated for it. Perhaps. But not everyone shares that philosophy.
And lots of business owners – I’m disappointed to say – function with an attitude of “what’s in it for me”. Nothing gets done without weighing the pros and cons of an interaction with or favour to someone. The exchange of a business card is most often with the expectation of immediate business dealings.
On the other hand, I believe that to give guidance, tips and advice with a willingness to share, help and serve others is more fulfilling. It certainly brings great satisfaction to me at any rate.
There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this. Those interactions will not go unnoticed because they’ve been helpful. And in the meantime, it’s an opportunity to begin a relationship with some folks, and become established as an authority in my field. And since business is conducted with those we know, like and trust, it’s beneficial to all involved.
It’s a nice way to help the small-business owner that may not have the big budget to do big things right now. And I’m sure there are others out there who think the same way…
In fact, at a recent networking event, I was fortunate enough to meet Lee Wallace, a local professional trainer, speaker, facilitator and writer. I was pleased to note that we shared many of the same ideologies – his business message resonated greatly with me. I learned a lot from Lee in the short time I spent with him and believe his message is worth sharing as well.
Lee has so much to teach business owners who want to learn how to operate from a position of serving others, with authenticity. And his website offers a valuable report worth reading, with a clear, positive and useful message and advice that you can put into action right away.
On the other end of the spectrum, something very counterproductive is taking place right in my own backyard (so to speak) and it’s maddening. A group of local business owners feuding over parking spaces have blocked passage (from one street to another) through the parking lot by installing a chain-link fence in the middle. This fence prevents patrons from entering by one street, continuing through, and being able to exit (or finding a space) on the other street.
This fence has created a barrier in more than one way. And posed an inconvenience for customers who may have to visit multiple shops in the area – not to mention creating difficulty in turning around in the smaller lot(s), due to the fence.
Patrons now have to get back in their cars, start them up, get turned around in the cramped lot, drive around the corner, find another parking spot, then go conduct their business in another shop – possibly only 25 meters away from the previous shop.
That’s definitely not working together as business owners, not serving each other, and definitely not serving their clients in an effective manner.
What’s The Harm?
Perhaps theses business owners don’t have the business savvy to understand that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Perhaps they don’t know about conducting business from a place of serving and helping. They’re certainly not working at solving anyone’s problems – not even their own. In the end, their businesses will suffer. I hope they can learn.
Maybe I should give them one of Lee’s business cards.
Now I’d like to know how you conduct your business in a manner that helps or serves other business owners. Tell me (and others) about your story. And, thanks for your feedback.