This morning, my daughter asked me “What soup is this?” and I thought she said “What’s a business?” We laughed at my mistake and I told her about the soup and then she said “So, what IS a business?”
Hmmm, how do you explain that concept to a 4-year-old…and then I had it. “A business is when someone or a group of people decide to make something that helps people. In order to do that they might have to make phone calls, go to meetings, make something, perform, write, travel – but everything they do relates to making something that helps someone.”
I realized as I was talking how often we lose sight of this simple fact. If our businesses aren’t helping people, they won’t attract buyers. You don’t get to earn a living doing what you love just because you love it. You have to find a way to make it help your clients.
For the past 20+ years, I’ve been earning a living doing what I love in a market that has grown increasingly competitive. Technology has simultaneously lowered the bar to entry and reduced the perceived value of professional training. With this new definition in mind, I’m changing the framework I use to evaluate my business.
Instead of trying to top competitors in an over-saturated and shrinking market, I’m taking a good long look at my customers and prospects. Who needs what I love to do? Who values my expertise? Who can I help the most? What are people struggling with that I can make easier? By figuring out who my audience is and what they need, I can design a business that will truly help them and, along the way, allow me to do the work I love.