The world has changed. We want to run, work in, and buy from businesses that care about us – in tune with our values and in balance with our lives. Welcome to the era of the Soul Trader…a new age of business with a heart.
The desire, ability – and often necessity – to be your own boss is at a high. The USA was built on the spirit of enterprise. Meanwhile in the UK, where I am based, over 99% of all businesses are small businesses with under 50 staff. Most start with just one person’s dream – just like yours. The problem is that most fade as their founders lose passion, focus, and sight of their customers, life balance, and loved ones. In all this noise and marketing spin, you can forget business is simply about relationships; about people and meeting their needs.
Running a business from the heart is now a necessity. We’re sick of businesses that don’t care about us and just about our cash. Unless you love you, what you do, and those you serve, your health, home life, staff/ supplier relationships or sales will suffer.
Fortunately, a new generation of entrepreneurs are emerging; running businesses ethically, consciously, collaboratively – in line with their values and lives. You may be one. In my new book I call them ‘Soul Traders’. Here are my 7 heart-centred principles from it that will help you build a business that you and your customers will love. They’ll help you cut the financial and emotional costs of starting and growing a business.
Who are you? What are you really passionate about? What do you want to achieve in life and business?
Unless you are clear about your vision, mission, purpose, and product nobody else will be – your staff, customers, and suppliers. Once your skills, values, and vision are aligned you will have the motivation and momentum to move forward.
Now it’s all about your customers: Who are they? How do they see the world? What do they really want and need? Do they actually want what you are providing or something else? Too many start ups fail to find ask and find out – and too many big businesses eventually fall by not listening to their customers – and as we’ve seen in this internet and social media age even large business and bosses can be toppled if they take their customers – and their cash – for granted.
Whether you’re making jewelry from home, providing therapies in health centres, running an online business virtually, or producing products from a factory it will involve challenges, effort, and courage. Follow your heart, trust your instincts, and build your business from your mission and values. These will boost your courage and make you unique. Adopt the attitude of an athlete; master your craft, study your field, and learn from the race lost as well as won.
Many small businesses get stuck – or fail to start by not co-operating.
- What kind of help, support, and advice do you have and do you need?
- Utilise and build your network – help each other – swap skills and expertise – seek out others who have differing styles, strength, and skills but shared values…become more resourceful
- Punch beyond your weight – collaborate, work with associates, work with partners.
Once you have a good product, customer conversion is dependent on the right customer conversation. Everything is a conversation from your website to what you say at a meeting, pitch, or presentation. Ensure that all communications are clear, crisp, concise, customer-focused, and compelling.
Know yourself. Know when to work and when to rest. Understand where, when, and with whom you work best and which things drain you. Re-connect with nature to give you clarity and energy and easy your stress. Seek out the tools, techniques, and technology that works for you, your customers, and your business. Take time out to review and improve yourself and your business.
What’s love got to do with it? Everything. Unless you care about you, what you do and those you serve, the journey will be painful and pointless no matter how much money you make. This chapter helps you ensure that you truly take care of business and create one that is truly loved.
Change: Nothing has or will ever stay the same. You, your circumstances, and aspirations will change. Your customers will change as will their needs. So will technology, the economy, and society. Be alert accepting and aware of this so you can anticipate it, flow with, and sometimes shape it.
Rasheed Ogunlaru is a leading life coach, speaker and business coach and author of Soul Trader – Putting the Heart Back into Your Business
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