Don’t believe in business karma? OK, so just consider the PR power of having a positive reputation out in the marketplace.
My name is URL
Last month I received a call out of the blue offering me a new project. The project was from a major company that I hadn’t worked with before in a category where I don’t have much experience.
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There was no need for a pitch or even a formal proposal, just a query as to when I would be available to start. So what was my secret?
Well, it turns out that the newly appointed marketing manager was someone I had met a few years previously for a casual chat and coffee. She had approached me on that occasion for some advice, and apparently what I suggested had proven useful to her in some way.
I remembered her name, but had long since forgotten our conversation and the details of what I may have said to her. She hadn’t forgotten however, hence the call and invitation of the new project.
Without coming over all new age here, I do believe that some kind of “karma” operates in business as it does in life.
I think that if you are prepared to give of yourself, openly and without always expecting something directly in return, then in the long run you will see the benefits.
And as an added bonus, you may just find that you enjoy yourself more along the way.
I contrast this philosophy with that of an old business acquaintance who I recall chatting to a few years ago, shortly after he had set up his own consultancy. He was telling me how he ran his business purely based on the principle of “billable hours” – whenever a client called him up, he would bill them for his time.
To him, the concept of taking an hour out to have an informal coffee with someone who was not an immediate business prospect would have been deemed “unproductive” – he just wouldn’t contemplate doing it.
(Interesting to note that a year or so later he returned to the corporate world, having discovered that his consultancy was neither as lucrative nor as enjoyable as he had hoped it would be. Can this be just a coincidence?)
Now, I accept that everyone is busy and it is sometimes hard to find the time to schedule all your essential appointments, let alone anything extra. But I would encourage you to find an hour a week to meet speculatively with someone who offers no immediate business benefit.
Meet with them willingly and be free with your advice and thoughts.
If you try hard enough, I’m sure that you can find a spare hour a week – and besides, just think of the benefit of having 50 new people each year walking around and talking about how generous you were with your time and input. In the long term, such positive PR is bound to have some kind of payback.
Why not give this business karma approach a try? In the short term you will certainly feel better about yourself, and in the long term I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t also end up improving your bottom line.
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Michael writes: I agree with you Sean, there are too many operators out there who are just in it for the money. I quite recently worked with a company that whenever we used to go to social events the boss would criticise me for talking to people that weren’t potential business prospects – “they’re worth nothing to us” they used to say. There is a lot to be said about promoting good will both with your clients and with your staff!
Beverley Pinder writes: Sean, I am 100% with you. I have built a very successful business through doing whatever it takes and for whomever – without first comtemplating “WIFM” (what’s in it for me?). In essence, the whole world works off the notion that “you will always reap what you sow”. I am a true believer and will be this way, business or no business – revenue or no gain – but simply by spreading goodwill. I have not had to advertise for new work in 23 years!