It's a cold evening here in Atlanta. The nice and warm conditions indoors after a busy work day are leaving me inspired to write. Let me start by thanking you for reading. We're 3 days into 2014. I'm feeling very excited about the new year and looking forward to many, many great things in the months to come by God's grace.
I thought to share some thoughts on creating value vs focusing on getting paid. I have met many business minded individuals whose dreams didn't quite kick off because they were too focused on making money right off the back. If you're at the beginning of building a business, please avoid making this very common, costly mistake.
Success in business is all about providing value for the customer. Consumers often tend to spend money on products and services that benefit them or capture their interest. The priority of successful business owners is never to "make money"; it is to create value by showing that they have the solutions, that their brands provide answers, that they are the go-to person, with the backing of solid experience to proove it.
Once value is created, money follows. Valuable brands earn the customer's trust and therefore his hard earned dollars. But often we approach ventures the other way round and wonder why there's no traction. I encourage you to focus on building a valuable brand first … you will make money in the process, but most of the wealth will come after the initial value-building work has been done.
Here are a few guidelines:
1- Recognize that it's going to take time and lots of effort. Learn to fall in love with your work and don't be afraid to put in the time needed to nurture and develop it. Take control of your destiny by not expecting somebody else to do the hardwork for you. I remember watching a documentary on how internationally renowned cable news outlet CNN was started. Founder Ted Turner attested to putting in so many hours of work during the early years that he virtually lived in his office. His office couch doubled as a bed where he would retire for short naps before going right back to work for years and years. It was literally 5 years before CNN's books balanced out and about 10 years before the company turned a profit. This goes to show first that that there are no short-cuts to success, and secondly, sweat equity eventually pays off.
2. You must be willing to give away some of your best works for free to gain brand recognition and give consumers a taste of the quality your company provides. Avoid nickling and dimming yourself and customers. Focus on the big picture. The best gains are not always monetary. Exposure and experience gained are much more valuable during brand building than small dollar compensations here and there.
3. You must start from the bottom and work your way up. We're all in business to make money, but it is also important to recognize that whether you're an artist, blogger or network marketing distributor, a huge influx of money is not going to happen overnight. On the journey of success, we go from serving to leading and in leading find ourselves still serving – an interesting cycle, you know. Hence to lead, we must become good at serving, and the ability to serve is best cultivated at the bottom as we earn our way up. Nobody rises to the level of 'boss' or 'star' in one day. We must be comfortable with being on the ground floor, we must be comfortable with being the unknown, we must be comfortable with looking up to others who have more experience and humbly working with them while we grow and acquire the skills necessary to succeed. Ditch the "I'm a king, queen" mentality and become coachable so that you can truly learn and grow.
Here's the domino effect: as you personally develop —> skills develop and improve —> fueling growth in your business —> and consequently, the bank account grows … that's the order. Not the other way round.
Aways remember that you are your business. Business grows when we grow.
Set goals that challenge you to build business muscle.
The value of your brand will always be directly proportional to your financial net-worth.