What is a Practical Business Person?
In business it is commonly held that you need to be self-centered and even ruthless to get ahead. I win, you lose!
But what if there was a way for everyone to win in business or at least everyone connected with your business. Would that be practical? Would a business that acted like this actually work and make money? And how would such a business function? Are there laws of practical business that exist but are, as yet, not that well known?
I maintain that there are “laws” of practical business and here are a few of them.
The Customer is King
To the practical business person this is not a glib metaphor but is central to the way he runs his business and conducts his affairs.
For example here at Trans4mind, when we were designing our marketing, we shared our online offering with about 30 people. When they were exploring our marketing website, I sat beside them and said absolutely nothing. However I did take notes.
I noticed where they hesitated, where they were confused, where they asked me questions. And after they had finished looking through our site I then went over all I had observed and in the discussions I learned things that only a customer could tell us. Things like - Where do I pay for this? How do I begin? What does this paragraph mean?
To someone building a web based business such feedback is invaluable. Then at the end of the session I took all my notes and emailed them to my Director of Online Resources and set up a meeting to discuss the findings. Then the next day we looked to see what could be learned and then modified the design. And this happened at least 30 times before we settled on the final structure, system and navigation for the Trans4mind website.
For us the customer really was king because we put them in charge!
I Win and You Win as Well
There were times developing our business when we had to negotiate how things were to be done and what things would cost.
One of the most challenging times was when our presenters really did not want to continue presenting the workshops. Up to that point, as Directors of the business Peter and I had been writing the scripts for our video workshops. Now these scripts were good and we loved them but the presenters were not happy. They said “We like your scripts, but we don’t want to present them because they are not authentically ours.” The Presenters then put a case for them to write their own scripts.
Now this was nearly double the work and they wanted nearly double the money, but we agreed because we both had the same goal - we wanted these scripts to be as authentic as possible. And indeed that is how the video workshops turned out - totally authentic pieces of work. Everyone was delighted with them and when we did our customer trials all of them except one passed with either 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
A neat side effect of this decision was that Peter and I could focus on leading the project and were less caught up in all the fine detail. I win and you win as well!
Generosity Creates Wealth
As part of our large scale business strategy we plan to plough some of the profits of the business into creating a website on personal development specifically for teenagers, complete with coaches for teens and all free at the point of use. Indeed we have already done preliminary research for such a site and done a prototype design for its home page.
Many people wondered why, when we were setting up our business, we chose to put some of our energy into something that appeared to be a net cost to the business with no apparent benefits.
Now we find ourselves taking the business to market and because of this service aspect, something wonderful is beginning to happen.
For example I was sharing our corporate business - Trans4mind Corporate - with one of Ireland’s leading executive coaches. The agenda of the meeting was to explore if he would be interested in opening doors for Trans4mind in the corporate world. As part of the discussions I shared with him a presentation on the Trans4mind Project in its total form.
At the end of the presentation I came to the slide entitled “One more thing”. I asked him, if we were serious as a company about our vision of making the human heart visible in community worldwide, what age group should we focus on? He said the teenagers. I rolled the slide and there was our Trans4mind Teens project. This executive coach was fighting back the tears and offered to not only to open doors for our corporate project in Ireland but to do so free of charge! Generosity creating wealth!
There are the laws of business as taught in business schools across the world and then there are the "laws" of business as practiced by discerning business people on every continent. These "laws" rarely feature in academic books on business but they are laws that if followed, allow business people everywhere to not only build successful businesses, but to form business friendships that can last a lifetime and to advance their business by using some of their resources to further the common good.
And this is practical business.
If you would like to develop the skills and awareness to be a practical business person in this way I invite you to Learn about the Training.