One of the various famous quotables attributed to Zig Ziglar is, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This is a statement that has launched many an entrepreneurial journey into a dragon’s lair with no hope of survival.
A good entrepreneur should offer goods or services that fulfill a need. A great entrepreneur is looking to solve a specific problem. All entrepreneurs are looking to help other people in hopes of those people helping out the entrepreneur by handing over their money, but how does this really work?
And who does an entrepreneur needs to help?
Begin With Having The Ability (And Resources) To Help
Another famous quotable repeated universally by airline pilots and flight attendances across the world is, “In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” This quickly reminds anyone who might attempt cabin decompression heroics that these isn’t much you can do for anyone but be a burden if you pass out. The same reasoning applies when you decide to hang your shingle across a shop door downtown without the means to produce the goods or services you think could help the masses, and earn you a living. Your product and service, as stated above should at least fulfill a basic need and should aim to solve a real problem of a real customer.
Karma Is About Caring
For a moment, we need to back away from the sales aspect you offer a potential customer and just focus on the value of helping. You always need to help those who can’t help you. Even if you don’t believe in concepts of karma or ‘higher powers’ keeping tabs on us puny humans, there is a power that comes from sending out good energy. You don’t have to give indiscriminately, but you do need to give to people with little to give back to you that you believe are worthy–and can capitalize on–whatever help you can possibly provide. If this sounds a lot like charity, that’s because it basically is. You know how much publicity a good show of charity can generate?
Reciprocity Is The Word
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with helping a person that can open doors and grant you access special access. Having the ‘universe’ eventually pay you back for your efforts is great. Even better is having a real person for can offer real useful stuff due the ‘Law of Reciprocity,’ which kind of states a mutual exchange of privileges where a person who receives is compelled (by the universe, need to keep their ledger clean, guilt, whatever) to return the favor eventually. Reciprocity does not demand new retail value, but something that inherently useful. Assuming you have offered up something inherently useful to begin with. Just make sure to pay your park back when the Law of Reciprocity is played on you.
Provide Unseen Help For The Unseen And Needy
Offering up help to those unseen is not the hardest to do, but it is very difficult to score for both business and personal concerns. Think of a ‘Pay-It-Forward’ line at a Starbuck’s drive-thru or feeding parking meters in front of City Hall (which is actually illegal, and will cause more trouble than it is probably worth if you get caught). Why would you offer up hard earn stuff to the ether to not even know if it gets used possibly? Mostly, just because. Because you can, because it feels good, because the opportunity just arose at the right time. Because you got stuck doing it and didn’t want to look like a jerk, which is what you look like if you break a ‘Pay-It-Forward’ chain. You have every right not to give to the questionable those, but be prepared for a short bout of public shaming.
How Much Help Are You Offering To The World?
Think about the butterfly effect, the thought that a butterfly flapping its wings in Detroit can eventually become a dust storm in Phoenix (a haboob!) The thought about free and cheerful giving by one single person snowballing into world peace is a pipe dream for sure, but having the ability and willingness to give a little back in gratitude for all that you have been given not only makes sense for you as a person. It can add up to real, tangible dollars as a business owner when word of your generosity spreads between grateful and impressed customers.