What “Business” Are You REALLY In?

by Andy Wood on June 17, 2013

in Ability, Consumers, Conversations, Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase

(A Conversation)

InterviewDon’t confuse your business with your delivery system.

What do you mean?

Your “business” is the value you bring to people. Your delivery system is the way you deliver it.

Okay… I’m still not sure I get what you’re saying.

Okay, let illustrate it.  Let’s pretend it’s the year 1900, and you own one of the dominant businesses of the day – a railroad company. What’s your business?

Railroads?

AAAANNNNK!  You lose. Twenty years from now you’ll be out of business and replaced with trucks.  Anyway, who gets up in the morning wishing somebody would give them a bunch of steel and cross timbers?  Let’s try it again.  What business are you in?

Uh, transportation?

Good.  You may survive this after all.

Okay that makes sense, I suppose.  But I’m not a business owner.

Of course you are.

No way. I’ll let somebody else manage that headache.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever done a service or given a product for someone and they gave you money for it?

Yeah, it’s called a paycheck.

Then you’re a business owner of “Me, Incorporated.”

Yeah, well “Me, Inc.” just went out of business.

No, you just lost your delivery system.  You’re still in business, if you choose to be. The problem is that most people never really understand what business they’re really in.

What do people thank you for?

So how do I figure that out?

Start with what people thank you for or what they need.

For sixteen years they thanked me for showing up!

No they didn’t.  They expected you to show up.  That’s delivery. What did they thank you for?

Insight.

What?

Insight.

What do you mean?

People would come to me to make sense out of things. You know, like changing regulations or new technologies. Stuff like that.

So what did you give them?

Answers to their questions.

Awesome. So that’s part of your business DNA. You provide answers to people’s questions.  What else?

Well, for the last several years I was a trainer and I really enjoyed that.

So what did you give people that they thanked you for?

Shortcuts.  Skills.

Okay. You’re in the business of giving people new or better skills. Do you have to work at your old job to do that?

No, of course not?

Are there any other people that may pay for someone to help develop their skills?

I’m sure there are.

What do people compliment you for?

Okay, next question…

What do people compliment you for?

Well, I don’t know how to turn this into a job, but people appreciate my integrity and honesty.

Okay, what else?

Oh, sometimes people say I’m good in front of a crowd.

As a speaker?

Yeah. I try to make the training fun and interesting.

Okay. So you’re in the business of delivering insights and training with integrity and fun.  Can you think of more than one way you could deliver something like that?

(Wheels turning…) Yeah, as a matter of fact, I can.

What would you do for free?

Good. Here’s one other question to help guide your thinking.  What do you love doing so much that if money weren’t an issue you’d do it for free? OR, what do you hate so much that nobody could pay you enough to do that?

That’s easy. Kids.

What about kids?

I hate kids.

Well that may be an issue, since you have three of them.

No, I mean, I wouldn’t want to work with kids every day.  I love my own, but would go crazy with somebody else’s.

So being a third-grade schoolteacher is out?

Absolutely.

So what about stuff you love?

Well, I’m crazy about golf and would play it on any day that ends with a “y.” But I’m certainly not good enough to be a golf instructor.

Okay, keep going. This is art, not science.

I love firearms. I love hunting and range shooting and actually have a few friends through that.

Great. What else?

I really love encouraging people. Letting them know it’s going to be OK or getting them to believe they can do something.

Who said it had to be a job?

Bingo. There’s your business. You give people insight, skill, and confidence.

So how do I turn that into a job?

Who said you had to?

What? I thought that’s what this was all about!

Maybe yes, maybe no.  What if you could get paid something you had the skills for, but on the side did something that delivered in the arena of your true business?

Sounds exhausting.

Yeah, because you want to enjoy your work, yada yada.

Well wouldn’t you?

Of course.  But millions of people practice their “core business” every week, year in and year out, for free. They volunteer at churches, nonprofits, or in the community. Or they do it with their families.

Hiring a new boss.

That sounds nice, but it doesn’t solve the immediate problem. I need a paycheck.

Fine. You just need to hire a new boss.

And how am I supposed to do that?

By focusing on what value “Me, Incorporated” will give to him or her.

You mean treating a prospective boss like a business would treat a customer?

Exactly. To the end consumer, you may be in the business of giving insight, skill and confidence – and they’ll pay you for that. But if you work for somebody else, you need to think of what the organization or the boss needs.

I would think they need somebody who can do it right the first time.

As in, excellence?

Yes. And a lot of them are looking for solid team players.

Does that describe you?

Absolutely.

And they’re looking for somebody who can help make them successful.

Are you OK with that?

Yeah, in the right setting, with the right people, and the right standards for success.

So if I don’t hire you…

I’ll bet you’ve never been on a job interview like this one, have you.

Never. I almost forgot a couple of times that I was being interviewed.

So… one last question… If I don’t hire you, what will you do?

I will continue to look for new delivery systems for my real business.

And what is your real business?

Providing skill, insight, and confidence to adults with integrity, fun and excellence.

I’m impressed.

Thank you.

I think I’d better make you an offer before somebody else does.

You mean, I got the job?  I mean, delivery system?

Yeah, let’s do some business.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando June 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Love it! Fun to read and so insightful, Andy!
Blessings!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Love and Grace

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