Altruism and Business Ownership
Entrepreneurs today want a purpose in their business which goes beyond just making money. Reminding clients of that purpose is a vital way we are often called, as advisors, to deliver value to them.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello. I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. I recently ran across a quote from the Dalai Lama who said, “Idealistic as it may sound, altruism should be the driving force in business, not just competition and a desire for wealth”. Well, the Dalai Lama was in many ways kind and maybe even cute to some people. But what does he know about business? Quite a lot. I think if this quote attributed to him is accurate.
Let’s think about what altruism means. One definition I found calls altruistic behavior, a desire to benefit someone other than oneself for that person’s sake. Some will read that definition and claim that fulfilling such a desire is impossible in business. Those people would be flat out wrong. They’ve either never run a small business, not spent much time around business owners, or their experience in business is scarred by knowing the worst possible examples of business owners. In the latter case, the ones who are almost sociopathic in their disregard for others.
I work with and regularly talk with a wide variety of small and medium sized business owners. I have that privilege because of the pricing and other business advisory work that I do. And I also regularly interview a wide variety of guests as part of my work in the North Fulton Studio of Business RadioX. Between the guests I’ve interviewed myself and the guests of the shows we produce, we’ve had over 2000 business owners and leaders over the past almost seven years and counting.
So, my sample size is quite large, you might say. And I’m no wide eyed, idealistic novice either. These business owners span a wide variety of demographic categories. Some have always lived a life of entrepreneurship, and others started their businesses later in life after a career in corporate. One thing I have found over the years is that the overwhelming preponderance of business owners I’ve encountered have a purpose for their business, which goes well beyond the profit and loss statement.
There’s a bigger idea in mind. Maybe they’ve got a cause that’s important to them they want to contribute to. They’ve got some difference they want to make in their community. It could be rooted in their faith. Sometimes they want to establish a charitable legacy which lives on after they’re gone. For some, they’re simply motivated to be of service to everyone they meet, and that service just happens to be found in their business. They see themselves as servants to their employees, clients, vendors, and their community.
I was with a client recently and we were heads down together on several pressing issues. At one point, the conversation shifted toward purpose in his business. He restated that purpose. One I’d heard many times before and one that’s larger than himself. And he observed that if that purpose wasn’t the objective, then dealing with the problems we were talking about just wasn’t worth it. In a recent interview that I did with a personal injury attorney, he talked about the practice of law and his fundamental desire to help people. If it’s all about money, he said, you’ll never be satisfied with your business.
I see and hear altruism in small and medium sized business owners all the time. This theme is just part of the world that we live in today. People want purpose in their business or they don’t want to be in that enterprise. Here’s the thing, though. A business doesn’t have to get exceptionally large to start having a complex set of issues. If you’re a solo or small firm professional services provider, you work with a variety of small and medium sized business owners who are dragged down by the day-to-day problems and just the plain old crap that’s involved in running a business. All those issues can obscure the larger goals or make them seem far away.
Sometimes your job is simply to help your clients raise their vision, to remind them of why they’re dealing with all the junk they have on their plate. You don’t necessarily have to deliver brilliant insights or solve all their problems. You just need to bring back that vision of service they had when they got into business. When you reinvigorate their spirit by reminding them of what’s behind today’s clouds in their business, you are offering tremendous value. And that’s an honorable calling that you have as a professional services provider.
I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. If you’d like to know about this series and some of the work that I do, you can go to pricevaluejourney.com. You’ll find there a link back to the show archive of this series. And if you’re not already subscriber on your favorite podcast app, I’d be honored if you would do that. You can find the series on all the major podcast apps. When you go to pricevaluejourney.com, you can find a link where you can sign up to receive more information on my upcoming book, which is called The Price and Value Journey, Raise Your Confidence, Your Value and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using the Generosity Mindset. If you’d like to email me directly, you can do so at John@johnray.co. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire, and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,700 podcast episodes.
Coming in 2023: A New Book!
John’s working on a book that will be released in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset. The book covers topics like value and adopting a mindset of value, pricing your services more effectively, proposals, and essential elements of growing your business. For more information, contact John below.