What do the world’s richest have in common?
They are serial entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They understand that if you never let the money flow out to allow fresh ones in, it becomes stagnant. The African mantra is, get what you can, ‘can’ what you get and sit on the ‘can’. But money is fluid; it’s always healthier when it flows.
Williams had to cancel all his previous appointments just so he could keep this very important one with Mr George, his mentor and friend of 7 years. He had called him to confirm his availability for a lunch hour chat at a fabulous restaurant on the Island. For Williams, this was the opportunity he had solicited for several weeks ago. Georgie, as he is fondly called by his friends and associates is a brilliant elderly man who owns two major gas stations, a shipping company and a big warehouse in the city. He had started the shipping business first, with a loan he took from his mom a few years back and went on to build his other businesses. His mum discovered his business acumen early in life and supported him.
Williams arrived a little early recalling that his mentor had a knack for promptness and punctuality. He recalled some of the lessons from his mentor that punctuality shows your sense of value and buys you respect and favour in the marketplace. He knew he had to be early for this appointment at least to show he’s picking up some good lessons from him.
As soon as they had settled at the table, Georgie asked him, “Why do you think I have all these businesses?” While Williams was reflecting on an appropriate response, he continued, “Every business person must learn to be generous. Are you familiar with the scripture that says generosity begets generosity?”
Georgie continued, “I only wanted one successful business but I have a few of them now. I realized when I maximise an opportunity, a few new ones showed up again and that gave me more opportunity to help a few more people. For me, business is about adding value to people’s lives. First, for the people who work with me and for customers who patronize our business.”
Looking intently at his watch, he continued, “Until you consider your business as an opportunity to be a blessing, business fulfilment is an illusion. Every successful business has a compelling and enduring purpose; a purpose for which they exist. It is beyond its name, logo, website and those brand items. It is about people and an opportunity to add value; money is only a reward for that effort. Businesses should not exist solely for making money, it must impact the lives of everyone connected to it on the inside and outside.”
He smiled at Williams and took a sip of his drink then he continued, “As I said before, the money is only a fringe benefit for a problem solved”. He paused, allowing the message to sink in. Then suddenly, he asked, “why do you think the billionaires are giving out monies after a while?”
He told Williams to go and find out, they would discuss it during their next appointment. At this point, it became clear to Williams that he had setup his business for the wrong reasons; he could obviously see his own greed at work.
Is your business about your personal finances alone? Or is it also about helping people connected and solve a problem? Money is a fantastic motivator when seen as a reward. Pay your staff well! Generosity triggers a series of activities at the reward centre of our brains, making us “high” and happier.
As an influencer and a socially responsible entrepreneur, you must be deliberate about this culture of generosity. Go ahead, shift the focus from yourself, direct the energy of your team and the organization to loving and serving people.