If you’re involved in any type of business, from running your own thing to working for others, then you’ve certainly asked yourself these two questions:
Where is the money?
And how can I get my hands on it?
In my years of financial pursuit, often failing to make a significant income – I’ve come to realise that the main reason is that I’ve been asking the wrong questions all along. Not only because I haven’t been able to make as much as I would have liked to, but simply because I realised that the initial questions are both highly self-serving and in no way provide value to anyone but myself.
And that is not what business is all about.
Being in business is about having superior ethical and moral standards so that your customers will find it easy to trust you, and keep coming back for more.
It’s about being able to provide more value than anyone else in the marketplace. It’s about finding the joy in solving a problem shared by millions and millions of people from all around the world. Problem solving first, money second. It’s the fulfilment of knowing that your work is making peoples lives better. And most importantly, it’s about knowing that your customer has gained just as much as you have with every transaction. Fairness before anything else.
They say that if you ask then you shall receive.
But naturally, if you end up asking the wrong questions – then you’ll end up receiving the wrong answers. And that is exactly what was happening.
I would spend months working on a new business with nothing but the intention of making money, and in turn that would lead to many failures...
... and disappointments.
Sure, this is understandable, as we are living in a mad world where the amount of money you have is directly correlated to how successful and significant you are in the eyes of society, but take it from me – it rarely ever works.
Noble character and pious intentions of service towards your customers and a bigger responsibility for giving back to your community are much more desirable and marketable traits for doing good business.
Which makes me wonder.
What if instead of asking – Where’s the money?
We were to ask – Who trusts me enough to give me their money?
And instead of asking – How can I get my hands on it?
We were to ask – Why do I, out of everyone else… deserve their money?
What would happen then?
Immediately – you can see that the second batch of questions show a much greater sense of empathy and a purer effort towards conducting business.
Good intentions always shine bright, and honesty is often a by-product of that.
So now, instead of thinking of your customers as dollar bills and credit cards, you get to see them as what they truly are… remarkable individuals who are unique in their own ways, entitled to nothing less than utmost respect.
It allows you to be more in tune with what is most important to them – and you’ll be more able to find better ways to provide value in their lives.
And in turn – they will feel more connected to you and more prone to buy.
Many scientific experiments prove that kindness towards a person makes that person feel indebted towards you. For example – if you were to buy me something as insignificant as a can of Coke.
I would feel a great responsibility to return the favor.
And this can work wonders when it comes to business.
It’s all about how you make them feel.
When you make a sincere effort to care and bring massive value, people tend to notice with an open heart. This is what separates the long lasting businesses that stick around for decades, sometimes even centuries, to the ones that don’t.
And that is why the second batch of questions are so important.
Reputation is indeed everything.
And there is no better way to create a reputation that precedes you than by authentically being in service to those who you want to buy your stuff.
When Steve Jobs lost control of Apple in the 1980s...
... something very weird happened.
The new management extended Apple’s product line extensively, from printers to PDA’s - and by trying to get everyone’s money… they ended up offending their core buyers, the ones that loved Apple and believed in them.
The trust was gone and Apple was in big trouble.
About a decade later Steve Jobs was brought back to Apple.
And by asking:
Who trusts us enough to give us their money?
They were able to avoid the drama of chasing everyone’s money and focus on the few crazy ones who dared to do things a little different.
The passionate creative.
The printers were gone, but the trust was back.
And by asking:
Why do we, out of everyone else… deserve their money?
Steve Jobs made it a priority to design and manufacture the worlds most remarkable products in terms of build, form, and ease of use.
Nothing can even come close to the quality of an Apple product.
Apple is now regarded as one of the worlds most valuable companies with hundreds of billions of dollars in cash, and they show absolutely no signs of slowing down. But I don’t think that the money mattered to Steve.
The money was a by-product of his relentless passion for creating a business and products that people could love. Products they can’t live without.
And it should be the same for you.
So let me ask:
Who trusts you enough to give you their money?
And why do you, out of everyone else – deserve it?