(April 23, 2013) When the economy shifted in 2008, I was caught off guard. Weren’t you? The sudden illness of our economy eventually exhausted my career, burying it in what quickly became my past. Layoffs have a way of doing that. It came as quite a shock to one day be the primary income earner in my family, and the next to be sitting at home. Where once our family would give at will, we now told causes near and dear to us “no.” We talked seriously about selling our home. We cut back our spending to a bare bones budget. Something died that day I was laid off: the assumption that things would only and always get better.
G Squared: “Greed is Good”
My assumption was a casualty of a suicidal approach to business and wealth, personified in Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good.” Gordon Gekko wanted us to believe that greed, even for good things, was profitable. It was an assumption based on the belief that things would only and always get better. We believed him. We–you, me, our economy, our nation–bought that philosophy, a side of fries, and super-sized it.
G Squared: “Givers Gain”
Long before we would know Gordon Gekko’s name, a man by the name of Dr. Ivan Misner would coin another phrase: Givers Gain. For him, he knew that if I was to know, like, try, and buy there had to be reciprocity. There had to be trust, relationship, and dare I say it–love.
Two very different approaches to profit. One builds up. The other tore down. One gives. The other gained at another’s expense. Dr. Misner has taught me and thousands of others that if I want to gain influence, help others, and yes, make more money, I must give. I must become important in the life of another. I must live a life of character.
You will run your business from one of those two positions: To Give or To Get. The quickest way to tell which you are is how you treat two groups of people: your employees and your competition.
You might be a “To Get” business if:
- You hire and fire with regularity because you aren’t setting your employees up for success.
- Raises come rarely and randomly.
- You’re in the business of stealing business from your competition.
- You spend time worrying about market position and share.
You might be a “To Give” business if:
- You spend time each week looking for ways to refer business to other people.
- You under-promise and over-deliver to your customers, no matter how small or large.
- You pay your employees better than anyone else in your industry, because you’ve set them up to excel at their position and make your company more profitable.
- You sing the praises of other businesses, even those who are your direct competition.
What would you add to this list?
Most importantly, are you a “to get” business or a “to give” business?
By Blue Ribbon News special contributor Trey Finley of Rowlett, a certified business coach who provides timely advice, strategies, and mentoring to small businesses. Visit his website at rockwallbusinesscoach.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/actioncoachtrey.