One of the most rewarding benefits of growing a business is having the opportunity to help others achieve their goals and dreams. I can remember very clearly the many people who have helped me along the way. I’ll never forget their kindnesses and generosity of spirit, and I try to keep that in mind as a guide for how I can help others.
While this sounds like a nice thing to do, you may be wondering why I would choose this as being important from a business perspective. Helping others is not only personally gratifying, but it also bears fruit that impacts your business. When you are helping employees achieve their dreams, their satisfaction levels and loyalty directly benefit the company. When helping people external to the company, you are strengthening relationships and will almost always find that these individuals will move mountains to return the favor when needed. I can’t count the number of times I’ve won business because someone I helped referred a client to me, or even better, became a client when they had the ability/budget to do so.
When you take the time to help others, you’re sharing your experience and resources in a way that you may not have been able to do without your business journey. That, friends, is a privilege. What an honor to be able to help someone else—be it as a mentor through your work, your network, or other setting. When you participate in helping someone else achieve what is important to him/her, you are acknowledging his or her value as a person—and how much he/she means to you. When you do it in the workplace, you are using your position and/or company's privileges or assets to advance someone else, which also validates the person and his/her goals. At the end of the day, we're all people pursuing our dreams. We're not just web developers and salesmen and architects and plumbers—we're people with families and aspirations.
Think outside the box. Make it your business to find out what is important to those around you. When you do, not only is it appreciated by the person(s) you’ve helped, but others can see that you take a genuine interest in those with whom you associate, and they tend to have a far greater loyalty to you. Helping others doesn’t mean large, monumental deeds. Here are a few simple ways to help others that are probably doable for you:
- Could you make time to do an information interview with a college student or colleague who is between jobs and considering entering your industry? Could you go one step further and help him or her get an additional interview with one of your colleagues that he or she could not have gotten without your help?
- Would you be willing to mentor someone who is just starting his company or who is a young professional joining the field?
- Can you help an employee achieve one of his/her goals by providing flexible hours or creative scheduling to enable him/her to pursue additional education, training, or certification, or to compete in sports or artistic competitions?
- Might you provide discounted or pro bono services to an area non-profit organization or serve a term on its Board?
- Could you utilize an intern in your office?
- Would you be willing to let someone between jobs use an empty desk in your office? (Often it is motivating to get up and get dressed, leave the house, and “go to work” finding work.)
- Do you meet from time to time with others in the GMA or the Chamber—people you know in the community—to find out what they are up to and how you might be able to help them?
I’ve found that it is impossible to out-give your blessings professionally. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. The more I take the time to help others achieve their dreams, the more my own business prospers. I challenge you to try it yourself and hope you will let me know how it works out.