How to Succeed in Business Without Knowing a Thing
I hate business. Perhaps not the ideal, but what it has come to embody and represent. Though, my dislike doesn’t stem from the pursuit of profit. I don’t believe that money is the root of all evil. No, my dislike, and even sometimes disgust, comes from the all too common pursuit of profit over doing what’s right.
My conviction that I would never partake in this practice has led me down what some would consider an unusual path. I run a small hypnotherapy practice, tennis academy and am also an author. I suppose I should call myself an entrepreneur but I can’t bring myself to do it. Truth be told, I wouldn’t even consider myself to be ‘in business.’ I coach people; I help people and generally have a lot of fun doing it. This is my why and the money I make, although important, is secondary.
But why I am telling you this? Surely you’re not interested in hearing somebody who doesn’t know the first thing about business dispense pearls of wisdom.
I suppose I should call myself an entrepreneur but I can’t bring myself to do it. Truth be told, I wouldn’t even consider myself to be ‘in business.’ I coach people; I help people and generally have a lot of fun doing it.
Before you close the page, though, there might be something that you’re interested to know. Despite being a bumbling businessman – I don’t have a website for my longest standing business, I never budget, have never filled out a balance sheet, have barely attended an interview or written a CV, am only just learning about marketing and to my shame, am too often a few minutes late to my appointments – I have been successful both in terms of achievement and financially (well at least enough to support myself while living a life I love).
So if you’re like me and have no time for the politics, backstabbing and the placement of profit before people that can go hand in hand with conventional business, then you might be interested to know what I consider to be the 3 golden rules to succeeding without knowing a thing.
Here we go . . .
Rule #1: Do A Great Job
The product or service that you offer must be of an impeccably high standard. I’m always reminded of a Steve Jobs quote when I think about delivery great quality,
“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back.”
It’s this attention to detail that tends to blow people away and make them take note of the quality you’re delivering. It can be painstaking and draining at times (at my worst, I once spent an entire hour editing a single paragraph of my book) but it pays off in the end. This is because gimmicks will only fool some people for a certain amount of time. If you want customers coming back to you again and again then you have to amaze them with the quality of your product.
If you want customers coming back to you again and again then you have to amaze them with the quality of your product.
Rule #2: Treat People With Respect
Notice that I didn’t just say ‘customers’. This applies as much to your colleagues as it does to your clients. There’s no greater way to build loyalty than to really care about the people you do business with. And I’m not talking about the kind of caring that smiles because it wants someone’s money; this is the kind of caring where you take a genuine interest in somebody’s life.
Ideally, your customers and colleagues should become ‘friends’. Think of it this way, who can’t do with more great people supporting and caring for them? And also, do friends desert you in times of need? Of course not. A friend will be there for you even when you make mistakes and don’t deliver quite what they expect.
To get to this level, you must create trust and respect. When you’re providing a service or a product this translates into putting their interests above your own profit. This might mean answering a long line of customer emails and always responding to someone no matter how busy you get. In my case, I end up giving quite a lot of children I teach lifts back to their house when their parents are tied up and can’t collect them. From a productivity and profit standpoint, this is a disastrous use of my time. However, I never look at it that way. I like the kids and their families and just want to help out.
You must create trust and respect. When you’re providing a service or a product this translates into putting their interests above your own profit.
Rule #3: Give It Time
I’m not going to lie to you, building a business on quality products/service and customer care alone takes a lot of time. It won’t hurt you to combine it with a few other factors like great marketing and savvy conversion tips. However, if you’re like me and don’t really have a clue then rest assured that this strategy will eventually work. The beauty of it is that it gives you two things that are absolutely essential for the long term success of any business; loyalty and word of mouth.
Just be ready for the long haul though. Trust takes time to earn and results can take a while to see.
An Idealistic Dream?
It’s all very well for someone who runs a few very small businesses, over which he has complete control to talk about people over profits, but can it really work on a larger scale?
It shows that you care above and beyond financial return because if necessary, you’ll sacrifice profit for the sake of integrity.
I believe it can! In his global bestseller, Start With Why, Simon Sinek identifies the success of companies like Apple and SouthWest airline as being based on the fact that they know why they are in business. In other words, they know their cause and are brilliant at communicating this message to their customers.
Delivering quality products or service and treating people with respect resonate with this ideal. It shows that you care above and beyond financial return because if necessary, you’ll sacrifice profit for the sake of integrity.
There’s an idealist in every one of us. So when we see a business that is prepared to go to great lengths for us, we’ll support them as if it was our own.
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