If there is one thing I have learned from successful people and businesses, it is that they are constantly giving. The key word here is "constantly." They give their time, talent, expertise, encouragement and insights. They give much more than they take. They give and give, and their lives and businesses overflow with prosperity.
They give from their hearts and are very genuine. Their intent is always authentic without hidden agendas, strategies or manipulation. They simply try to add to the good of their fellow human beings. They don't expect anything in return, but it comes to them anyway in many different forms.
"Give and you'll receive" is a fundamental natural law that creates business success. To lead a great business, you need to give first and then receive.
The good news is you usually reap more than you sow. Giving a little more than expected is a good way to get back a lot more than you'd expect.
Why does this principle work? Let's ignore the obvious answer that it might be the "right" thing to do and look at some possible practical benefits:
* Builds knowledge. Sharing free samples, service, advice, workshops and information will help educate your target market, demonstrate your expertise and position you as a resource when they are ready to buy.
* Builds influence. People are hardwired to feel indebted for receiving something of value and are more likely to respond favorably to future requests. We've all felt pressure to say "yes" to someone who's done us a favor, even if the request is not something we want to do.
* Builds relationships. People buy from those they know, like and trust. Giving away something of value allows them to know you and decide if they like and trust you. People are more likely to like and trust you if you've given them something without obligation.
* Builds connections. People who are always trying to help me with my business and reach my goals are considered "connectors." These are the people who have moved to the top of my list of people that I want to help and hang out with.
* Builds word of mouth. What goes around comes around. Word of mouth is like gold for small-business owners, and happy customers who are getting more than they expected are the biggest driver of positive word of mouth.
Most of the people I know got into their own business because they wanted to help people. Money was secondary. If they were suddenly wealthy they would still use their skills to solve the issues they address with their business.
By giving above and beyond, we have the chance to do what we want to do anyway -- and for all the right reasons. We can legitimately give and make money -- they're not mutually exclusive. Using this win-win strategy, good things can happen.
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org