The 2 KEY Drivers for success for any Small Business Owner (SBO) are:
- a. What do I love to do?
- b. What will someone pay me to do?
Imagine a see saw. If I love to do it but no one will pay me, then I have a hobby. If I love to do it and someone pays me less than I need, then my business is dying. If I love to do it and someone pays me well, then I have a thriving business. Where are you on this see saw?
Today I am thinking about how limiting that perspective is.
Not everything that we do has a direct business value. Here are some examples:
- A coaching client at a Fortune 500 company has to make business decisions that benefit the shareholders of his publicly-traded company. That means he needs to maximize production. And he needs to minimize expenses. The CEO has stated “do not invest in training and leadership development.” The economy is in recession. There are unexpected write-downs. The backlog has decreased. This leader has managed his business lines closely, so he knows that he is under budget. He also knows that if he does not invest in executive coaching and leadership development, then he will lose his top people. The company values state that they need to invest in the individual. So what does he do: does he invest in his people or not? [Thankfully he invested in 15 of his top people for a 12-month contract with me.]
- Charlotte, NC currently hosts 8 Fortune 500 companies, and over 300 have a presence here. However, the biggest local business drama is between Bank of America and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo.) Our neighbor was a VP at one bank and did not like many decisions that prevented him from providing customer service that would drive market share. After 12 years of trying to make changes from within, he retired from one bank. He worked for 10 months as a consultant and did start-up work. But his passion remained in corporate banking. So last month he leveraged his contacts and is now at the other bank. He is realizing that he is seeing similar patterns. Larger companies must focus on maximizing returns, and mitigating risk, by reducing customer services. So what does he do: does he swallow his desire to focus on customer service?
- On a personal note, I have as family history of diabetes. In 2006, while running with a friend (who is a3x all-American ironman triathlete, and an ER physician) we talked about the need to help people have fun and be active outdoors. The US National Whitewater Center had just been completed in Charlotte. These Olympic athletes knew how unique that facility was, but few others did. So, we created the NC Adventure Race Series. Each year since then we have hosted 3-5 adventure races or off-road triathlons. Activities include whitewater rafting, rock climbing, flat-water kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, orienteering, plus surprises. Details are at www.ncars.info. We have raised over $35,000 for the American Diabetes Association and the USNWC. More importantly, over 1,000 racers have gathered from 10 states to push limits and support each other in an unfamiliar environment, in teams of 2-4 for up to 10 hours. Does that sound a bit like your business environment? What a metaphor for business leaders. After each race I give away my book, Passionate Action, and require people to tell stories about their day. Yesterday an engineer from Siemens arrived from Europe. He did not have a bicycle, so he ran the race. And he won the 4-hour race. He stated, “This community of racers is what brought me back. Although I just got off the flight, I wanted to see Doug again. And I wanted to race at the USNWC again, after 3 years elsewhere.” So, why do I volunteer time and expertise as a race director of this series? The direct business return has been small. The indirect value, of serving others and benefiting an important charity has been huge.
So, what are you doing to serve others?
What are the direct and indirect benefits of your work?
Call me and tell me your Real Story of Business Value. 704.895.6479