A group I’m a member of discussed questions about how to go about building a business.
After reading about one plan, I realized that the focus wasn’t on what I believe is the most important part–and so I decided to write about what the most important part of a business is: VALUE.
Now it’s ridiculous to say that everything else can be thrown out as long as a person is giving some type of value or perceived value. I think that no matter what type of business you are wanting to open–whether it’s a hot-dog stand or a custom garage–there are some key factors that don’t involve tools, particularly such as VALUE.
Obviously you can’t have–as Wallace Wattles says in The Science of Getting Rich–an ice cream stand in the middle of the desert, where there are no customers–it stands to reason that you need to be where there are actually people who can buy.
Also, each different type of project or business requires a different set of skills, knowledge, timetables, and the list of variances goes on and on. However, as my friend Doug is often fond of saying, at the end of the day it all boils down to one thing. In this particular case, it’s value.
My Experience With Value
Now I’m no expert, guys and gals, so don’t take me as such. I’m just a guy who’s seen and experienced a LOT of what doesn’t work and it has all led me back to a starting point where I could’ve and should’ve seen, accepted, and integrated the answer already. After much wasted time, frustration, and burned money, I have slowly (too slowly!) learned the hard way and am now starting to get serious.
It’s quite simple, direct, and easy, actually.
So why do so many people NOT do it or have trouble making it a habit? Well, let’s take a look.
I think that in order for people to succeed in providing value, they need to keep three things in mind:
Let’s look at each of these in detail and then see how they relate to Value.
Method is essentially the WAY in which we do something, the manner in which we conduct ourselves, the style which we utilize, or even the angle at which we attack.
If form wasn’t important, then coaches wouldn’t be necessary for anything except motivation, right?
Here’s an example: when I used to play basketball, baseball, track, or whatever in school, the coaches would instruct me on how and where to stand, which way to look, what position to hold my head, arms, or even back in, where to step and where not to step, what I could or should do, what I couldn’t or shouldn’t do–and the list goes on and on.
There were a few reasons for this coaching.
You have to follow the rules closely or else you can be penalized, and penalties have the power to either make you lose ground, lose a match, or even lose face! Good coaching makes us aware of these rules so that we can avoid such losses.
- Efficiency is often the name of the game and those players who examine their stances, swings, forms, grips, etc, and listen to their coach’s observations, analysis, and instructions will no doubt improve their abilities to reach their desired output and even surpass what they thought was otherwise possible, assuming their coach knows what he or she is talking about!
- Coaching reveals the flaws in our game or the holes in our methods. By pointing these out and filling them in, we become stronger and better–more equipped to reach the desired destination and/or outcome.
- It also teaches us that simple power or force alone aren’t enough to overcome all obstacles. Finesse is often required, even in situations where it seems like the opposite would be true. If you want some good examples, just take a look at some of the greatest athletes of all time and just why they are famous. It’s not their strength that is hailed as much as their commitment to form which has come about by adherence to principles which are tried and true–much of them, if not all, from a coach.
Please allow me to now show you why “hard work” isn’t on my list above.
I would like to tell you something that’s a bit personal for me, about my relationship with my dad.
I’m now in my 40s and my dad is knocking on the door of 70. From my childhood up, I have never enjoyed what I would call a “great” or even “healthy,” if not “good” relationship with him. While I do love him, I have just never been able to connect on a level with him like I always wanted, no matter how hard I tried.
The summary of the situation is that I felt let down in practically every area of our relationship as I grew up, but the main thing I always wanted from him was acceptance for who I was–which has never happened to this day.
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me “Is there something really positive that you can say about your dad? Something that he did well?”
It was a difficult question for me to ponder because, as a dad myself, I have a standard by which I feel a man or woman must meet in order to be considered a good parent. There are several areas a person needs to address in life–such as relationships, career, personal life, spiritual matters, health, etc–but initially I couldn’t think of any area where my dad truly shined.
However, as I considered it, I finally realized where my dad was definitely #1 and, in truth, went too far.
He was always a very hard worker.
Yeah, even though my dad never kept one particular job for long, he definitely did work very hard and for many years.
However, this alone didn’t make him great and won’t make anyone great, for that matter–at least, not hard work alone.
My family as a whole could never be considered anything close to wealthy and, as I’ve been able to travel more, I’ve come to realize that the truth of the matter is that we were poor.
But we weren’t just poor in money–we were poor in mind.
So many in my family were similar to my dad: sweat, overtime, low pay, utilities cut off, creditor calls, repossession–the list goes on.
The fact that I’m showing you here is that hard work alone doesn’t solve anything and in reality can actually cause a person to stay stuck in a perpetual, ongoing cycle of poverty and struggle.
Now what if my dad had taken the time to consider his methods? What if he had actually gone to the trouble of finding someone who was knowledgeable in such things or, at the very least, had spent some time reading, studying, or somehow learning about the ways (methods) in which others were able to gain the best results from their efforts?
This is actually one of the areas where my dad and I have parted ways–among many others, actually. From the very first days that I did some work for him and others, I realized that I hated working for others. Working with people is great, but being at their ongoing beck-and-call has never been for me, and as a result, I have always thought about how I could do things differently and live the life I want.
Sadly, parents don’t usually teach these to their children because they simply don’t know, which is the premise for the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Neither does the school system meet this severely lacking need, and therefore we suffer, along with society and our future children.
At least, until those like you and I start to examine and change our methods.
Here’s a great analogy that I like to tell sometimes — first, I’ll ask you a question:
If you practice golf every single day, will you become better at golf?
Really consider this question. Everyone I’ve asked this question to responds–a little too quickly, I might add–with “Yes” or “Of course!”
The correct answer, however, is a resounding NO.
Do you understand why? The answer, again, is simple from what I’ve learned:
If you practice golf every single day, then you will become better at YOUR style of golf, not golf itself. The same goes for anything else you do often: you will assuredly, definitely, and increasingly become better at those things which you do with regularity, but it will be directly related to the way in which you do it.
So, as you can see, by going out to the golf driving range often and focusing on clobbering the ball–as I used to do–I became better at that. However, what I didn’t improve was my ability to keep it on the fairway, out of the trees, or out of “the drink.”
You get the idea. Method matters.
As it relates to providing value: Ask yourself “What am I providing my customer?”
If you’re not really sure, then it’s obvious that you’re just trying to make money and haven’t given any thought at all to what value you’ll actually be providing. Once you get a good idea of the value you’ll offer (or if you already have knowledge of the value you offer or will offer), then you can begin to define, clarify, and implement a strong method in order to provide it.
From there, it’s just a matter of consistency.
Some would actually call this “hard work” but I think that that wouldn’t be accurate.
Hard work is something that can be done sporadically (sometimes) or at specific times, and it doesn’t always have to be the same type of work, right? So, if you work hard but change your focus a lot, then how will you ever truly get anything done?
Here’s a simple way of looking at it:
How do you feel when you have a HUGE mess to clean up or organize, such as a room like a garage or attic–nightmares–and you walk in and flick on the light. Perhaps your first thought is “I don’t have the time to tackle all of this now, so I will wait until blah blah blah time/happens/etc.”
The truth of the matter is that the perfect time is always now for there is always only “now.” Think of the future as not existing yet and the past as no longer existing.
The only way that you can improve anything is by doing something now, and if you hope for a “future now” to be better than the “present now,” then you most definitely need to select the appropriate methods and apply them immediately–now–and consistently in each ongoing “now” moment possible.
That attic or garage won’t clean itself, and the customers won’t build your business for you.
Rome wasn’t built in a day–correct? Neither was anything of great value. After you’ve identified which correct and best actions to take, then go for it methodically and in an ongoing manner until it is the way that you envision it to be.
The interesting thing is that many projects we wish to accomplish–whether in business or in our personal lives–go undone and/or incomplete for years and years. This causes a lot of grief, regret, and feelings of failure.
However, by simply committing to knocking out a piece of these projects, week by week or day by day, we can assuredly reach and accomplish our goals over time, leading to relief, pride, and feelings of success. Furthermore, our efforts will no doubt display a real value for those around us, from family to friends and even customers.
Once a degree of success is attained, then consistency supplies a great benefit for those who would do business with us.
They come to appreciate and even expect our quality–and would be shocked if we didn’t meet it. For some this may seem daunting, but for those of us with a high standard, we welcome it because it has become who we are–a true characteristic of our consistency married to method.
Once we have established our methods and are regularly producing, moment by moment, based on those methods, the next thing we must have–especially as independent entrepreneurs or business people–is patience.
Results come very quickly for some things and feedback is often even given when it’s not desired.
However, where the rubber meets the road in business is where the profit is seen and when the money isn’t happening people have a tendency to assume the worst, doubt their methods, change their systems, and become completely inconsistent in the process.
As a result of their impatience, they completely destroy everything that they’ve built before it has a fighting chance to prove its mettle (worth). If we have truly paid attention to the methods and are applying these principles religiously, then we have every reason to believe that success is near at hand.
However, because people nowadays so closely connect perceived success with results or obtained objectives only, lack of sales or slow growth is often viewed as failure or bad methods.
This, however, isn’t necessarily the case.
It’s especially and often untrue–from what I’ve experienced and learned from others–in the situations where people have diligently put forth the effort and time to learn and consistently utilize good methods. Just because the hoped-for results don’t happen in the guesstimated time frame doesn’t mean that they are wrong.
In truth, that actually may indicate that the plan is the best. I can give you an example.
Recently I was watching a video by a couple of my favorite internet/website entrepreneurs, Jim and Ricky with IncomeSchool.com. They were talking about how they normally go about deciding whether or not to buy a website that’s for sale.
During this video, they mentioned how some of the websites have recently had, over the past several months, a large increase in traffic and therefore profit. To them, this is a type of red flag because they don’t know exactly how or why that increase occurred, if it’s sustainable, and how it might affect the website’s ranking in the future.
These penalties have the power to essentially kill a website and it can be very difficult to recover, which is why I and people like Jim & Ricky do pay closer attention to both companies’ TOS (terms of service) and internet rules and regulations.
So, I could actually sum-up what they said in the video as “Slow and steady wins the race.”
People who work feverishly to finish something are often procrastinators, and people who give up before seeing results are often impatient.
By integrating patience all the time and at every level of your business or even personal life, you can rest assured that you have looked at each item closely, conquered tasks meticulously, checked-off each item from your to-do list, and created a value within a given space which no one else has likely taken the time and effort to accomplish.
And this, my friends, is why patience is so desperately needed!
It’s a combination of things, as you can see, that patience is needed for:
- Waiting to see the results which we desire, hope for, or expect
- Working on each item or detail, from one task to the next, week by week, day by day, or even moment by moment
- Seeing everything through to completion in the proper way and in the proper order–with never-ending consistency
- Believing in the research and methods that we have integrated and not giving up
- Not allowing the discouragement of (unsuccessful) others to dissuade us or change our course
- Reminding ourselves that success is, by pure definition, not just about the HAVING, but also the DOING that’s required beforehand
Now, let’s wrap all of this up, shall we?
If you perused all of the above, then you should know now why it all pertains to Value and its primary importance in having a successful business, relationship, etc.
Customers are attracted to value, as mentioned above, whether perceived or genuine. When you provide that, then you will undoubtedly gain customers and, along with it, their trust, loyalty, and kind words of free advertisement.
Be different from those who establish their businesses with the primary goal of making cash. Be a creative value to society and to humanity.
There’s nothing wrong with any tool–even if that tool is money. The important point is to remember is this:
While a good business is able to turn a profit, a truly great business provides ever so much more, providing not only the benchmark by which similar businesses will be judged, but also cementing its name alongside the very service or product it provides, and adding more value to the lives of any and all of its customers.
For now that’s about all I really have to say and I really hope this helps you somehow! I would like to add one last ‘bonus’ thought for you.
I was born and raised in Louisiana and, while my French and even Cajun knowledge isn’t great, I do know a little bit of useful or even interesting things–and I’ll share one here.
Years ago, Mark Twain wrote about the experience he had with “Lagniappe” in Louisiana, which basically means “A little something extra,” and people would give this added value to their customers. He loved this concept and told about it later, of course.
I personally believe in this concept but sadly have forgotten about it sometimes in my own business, focusing instead on the question that most people consider: how can I increase my profit? Of course, I’ve learned by experience–as I’ve mentioned already–that this isn’t the way to go.
Being competitive creates a ladder for me to climb but only for me–and this ladder can be knocked down or even out from under my feet.
Being creative and adding value creates a way for me and everyone else to climb up, and this is the way to be great. This is what I desire for me, and for you.
Have a great week and thanks for visiting WrenchGuru today.