No, I am not talking here about love for your business. Love for your business is a definite requirement but here I am talking about traits that you need to show in the conduct of your business. This overall trait of “business love” has probably never been presented to you before so here goes.
Business love is patient. Boy do you need patience while running a business.
- You need patience with your customers whom you think are driving you crazy and are apparently never going to pay you.
- You need patience with your suppliers who seem determined to ruin you with poor delivery and defective products.
- You need patience with the federal, state and local governments who appear to be bent on having you fund their entire operations and gradually depress you to the point of giving up.
and, lastly and most importantly,
- You need patience with yourself. There are only 168 hours in a week and a third of those should be spent in slumber. That leaves 112 waking hours. Work hard but realize you can’t get it all done immediately. Be patient with yourself.
Business love is kind. What the heck does kind really mean? Well my Webster’s says that kind is “of a sympathetic, forbearing or pleasant nature.” Hey, that doesn’t sound so bad does it? So be pleasant, even if it hurts!
Business love does not envy. Now I know that this can be tough when you see businesses around you similar to yours apparently much more successful than yours. However, don’t waste your energy in envy (remember you only have 112 hours per week) but use your energy to learn from them. Make changes, change course, move that rudder! Do what it takes to improve your own business.
Business love does not boast. Boy, this has been a tough one for me. My nature tends to be one of boasting for as long as I can remember. It has been especially hard for me to change this nature. However, every time my business showed some success and associated monetary gain, I could be guaranteed of a soon-to-occur setback right after I boasted about such a success. I finally learned that you don’t boast just like you don’t “tug on Superman’s cape” or “spit into the wind.” Feel happy about your success but keep your mouth closed.
Business love is not proud. There is a thin line between being pleased with your business success and being proud. In this case, we are warning about pride becoming arrogance—you know, walking around with your chest pushed out. Be thankful for your success and accept it with humility. It is difficult to see where you are stepping when your chest is pushed out.
Business love is not rude. How many rude business people have you run into in your life time? I know I have run into more than my share. It makes you think “Well why are these people even in business if they have to be so rude? Apparently they don’t need my business at all!” Remember how it was to be treated rudely and don’t do it. Probably the most likely area for you to turn rude is in collections when one of your customers owes you money and it is past due. Don’t you dare be rude during collections (Please see my blog on “Collections”) or any other time for that matter.
Business love is not self-seeking. Once again Webster defines this as “seeking only to further one’s own self interests.” You cannot have a selfish motive in your business dealings. Of course you’re in business to make money and you should. But elevate that purpose to a higher plain, at least one level above the one on which you are standing. The biggest impediment for me in the conduct of my business has been my ego getting in the way. I have always had the tendency to take things personally and that is wrong. Make certain that you separate your ego from your business dealings.
Business love is not easily angered. Sometimes it is difficult to not get angry somewhere along the way in the day-to-day battle of running your business. Someone makes a stupid mistake and has no excuse for it. That mistake may cost you time and money. It was not your fault yet here you are cleaning up the mess. Money goes down the drain. You feel your blood pressure rising and your face is getting red. You just want to lash out at someone or something.
You may start to write a hate and discontent email. Go ahead, write it and sign it. Get it all off your chest, don’t mince any words. Say how you have been low-bridged unnecessarily and courting stupidity is not how you like to spend your time. Go ahead, make certain you say everything that is on your mind…..just don’t press “SEND!” Let the E-mail sit in “DRAFTS” for 24 hours and promise yourself you will review it then. I can just about guarantee when you read that E-mail again in 24 hours, you couldn’t imagine pressing “SEND.”
This exercise will help you when anger wishes to raise its ugly head. Something else that really helps me is when I make that stupid mistake and the person on whom I inflicted it treats me with courtesy, understanding and patience. That is what I call a great learning experience!
Business love is not a keeper of record of wrongs. Now here is another tough one. I believe that the spirit of this trait is that we don’t hold grudges against others in our business dealings. Holding a grudge is a negative emotion that only saps your energy and serves no real purpose. Keeping track of a customer’s payment history is simply good business and should be treated as a normal business function. If someone steals from you then care should be taken on how you deal with this person in the future. Remember to keep your ego out of the business.
Business love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Make your business as honest a venture as possible. Always give your best support and value to your customers. Give them the benefit of the doubt and go the extra mile for them. This attitude will prove profitable in the long run.
Business love always protects. Treat your customers as if they were your children. Guide them and watch out for their money. In some respects, you need to nurture and grow your customers in much the same fashion as you do a child.
Business love always trusts. Work hard in your business and stay as informed as possible in all its facets. If you do this, you can trust in yourself that you are making the right choices. Trust that your suppliers have your best interests at heart. If this proves to be not the case, then make adjustments regarding who your suppliers are. Trust your customers as you would a close friend. If time proves that they cannot be trusted, then make adjustments in how you deal with them.
Business love always hopes. If you truly love your business, never lose hope that you are on the right track and that success is in your future. Work hard, work smart and never lose hope.
Business love always perseveres. To me this is the ultimate key to the success of the solopreneur. If you truly want to be a solopreneur then you must persevere. You must figure out a way to overcome all obstacles. I had to make course corrections throughout my 35 years as a solopreneur. I did not necessarily enjoy them but they were things I needed to do to preserve my business. No one can lay out your route for your business, only you can do that. Lay out that course and be ready to move that rudder if you need to; just keep the propeller turning, never stop! Persevere!!
Well, you have probably seen through my “Business Love” thing by now. All of these traits were written almost 2000 years ago by a guy named Paul to the people living in a town called Corinth which was located in what today is Greece. The words can be found in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 13:4. This passage to me is the perfect definition for love. Go ahead, apply these words to your personal life as well and see how you score. I don’t think there is anything wrong in applying them to your business life too, whether you are a Christian or not.
Remember, love never fails!! Give it a try and let us know the results in the comments section…