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IT‘S DARN HARD to start a business.

depressionI was speaking with a gentleman this week whom I had met a couple of months ago.  He had an interesting and unique business idea, but has been struggling to gain traction.

So a couple of weeks ago, he had to go get a full time job.

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WE’RE ALL FALLEN, INSECURE, DOUBTFUL.  It’s a fact of life and part of the human condition.

HopeYour business, whatever it is, can supply hope.  For you, for employees, for partners, even customers.

I mean this in a deep way, not just as an element of your marketing messages.

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THIS HappyIS PERHAPS the wrong question.

But we’ve been telling our kids for generations now to do what makes them happy.  “Follow your bliss,” we say.

The problem is that happiness is an emotion, and it’s fleeting.  Read the rest of this entry »

FINDING LoveYOUR DEEP VALUES can be like falling in love.

Love is elusive, one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” type of things.

What I’ve described as deep values also can be elusive, because it starts with what you live and breathe every day.  For me, I’ve decided that being of service is crucial to my life and my business.  People generally have two reactions to this:

OK, I’LL ADMIT IT: Sometimes my own foundation feels a little uncertain.  Despite the fact that I’ve been building this momentum for 15 years now and have been seeing considerable success in the last year, I still have my moments of doubt.

I think it’s part of the human condition.

EarthquakeWhat do you do when you’re starting to doubt your values and principles?  Read the rest of this entry »

LAST WEEK’S post When do you change your values? has generated some discussion.  I try to get people to add comments to the blog posts, but some end up in LinkedIn or Facebook or as personal emails to me.  C’est la vie, I guess.

It is quite possible that you’ll be faced with a fundamental decision.  You tried to build a business out of the idea of benefiting a particular needy group, but after three years you just haven’t been able to figure out how to make the company sustainable.  If you don’t have enough revenue, the business will eventually die.

And you certainly aren’t benefiting yourself OR that needy group if it’s not sustainable.

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WHEN YOU communicate a set of values out to your customers, some of them will reject your message.  But then again, others will be attracted to it.

This WILL polarize your customer base.

But that shouldn’t scare you off, because this kind of thing happens all the time.  If I have a restaurant which targets the affluent, it’s going to turn off those people who are cheapskates like me.  But another restaurant which highlights affordable meals for the masses will be looked down upon by those who believe it’s beneath them.

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JONATHAN RAYMOND wrote a powerful article recently called The Power of Caring over at the E-Myth Blog.  They do great work over there.

His observation is that customers make most of their decisions based on emotions rather than logic.  I find this to be absolutely true – even in surprising cases.

My background is in engineering, so I’m a pretty hardcore analytic.  Read the rest of this entry »

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