Archive for September, 2010

My Declaration of Interdependence

In the course of human evolution it becomes necessary to acknowledge that we are interdependent beings living in a complex and interconnected world. I’ve learned that we move from dependency to independence to the awareness and appreciation of interdependence.

I hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all people are created equal, that all men and women have the right and the responsibility to use this equality and their talents to better themselves and their fellow Earthlings.

No one is an island unto themselves. We need people and they need us. We’re all valuable and important in the grand scheme of things.

Everything I do affects everything else—even though I may not know what my actions, beliefs and presence will ultimately influence.

I therefore declare myself a free yet interdependent man.

I commit to doing my best in making my life, my family, my community, my country and my world a better place.

I promise to value and acknowledge the contribution other people and organizations make to me, my life and my mission. I pledge to regularly thank and appreciate everyone who adds value.

I will focus my talents and resources in order to effectively help people to increase their performance, profits and potential.

I vow to be a life-long learner. I pledge to seek out the teaching in every person, event and experience—to learn and to share my learning.

I commit to optimizing the hard-earned freedoms we enjoy—and often take for granted—in order to fully realize the dream of our founding fathers. I will do all I can to promote and secure our God-given, inalienable rights for all members of “Spaceship Earth.”

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor.

Profit is Not the Purpose of Business

Profit is Note The PurposeMost people think that the purpose of a business is to make a profit. I don’t agree.

Profits are part of business, for sure—a very important part. But if profits are looked upon as the main reason for being in business, it’s unlikely there will be much in the way of earnings—at least not in the long haul.

I see profits in business being akin to eating in life. Eating is important to sustain life. But it’s not the PURPOSE of life. You can go without eating for awhile, but eventually you need to fuel your body or you won’t be around to fulfill your purpose.

In my own life and in my business, I’ve found that when I’m focused mostly on income or profits, they have tended to be much more elusive—sometimes nonexistent.

But when we focus on adding value, solving problems and truly serving our customers, the profits come almost automatically.

If you want to earn a lot of money, then find ways to add a lot of value.

Now, if you have a really flawed business model, you can provide good value and still not make a profit. You have to be smart about it.

And there have been times when I was so focused on my passion, my dream and my cause that I didn’t pay enough attention to generating sufficient profit to maintain the engine of business. There has to be a balance.

In these difficult financial times, it’s easy to lose focus and concentrate too much on financial performance. As we strive to survive, we can lose sight of providing the real value that brings in the business.

As customers become more careful in their buying decisions, it’s more important than ever for us to give them enough value for them to see it being greater than their seemingly limited finances.

I’ve seen way too many business owners blame their customers for not patronizing them like they have before. There’s almost a sense of entitlement.

It’s like the Scott Trade commercial about the stockbroker losing clients to the discount brokerage house. He has an expectation that they should continue to do business with him regardless of the changes in the market or his competition. Instead of looking for ways to add value to his services, he thinks business should simply be like it was.

No one owes you their business. You have to earn it every day.

You have to be aware. You have to innovate. You have to serve. Because they get to vote—and they vote with their feet.

And that’s why I think service and value is the purpose of business.