How is your business helping someone?
Never before in the history of humanity have there been a time as this when the whole world seems to be realizing
finally, the very intent and purpose for creation – collaboration. The stiff competition that often characterized the industrial age is gradually giving way to this new age where passion thrives and information rules.
Businesses are beginning to awaken to the fact that unless there’s something SIGNIFICANTLY unusual about their business, there’s no way they are going to remain relevant.
It is increasingly becoming obvious, that the businesses that will thrive in this new age are those who are consistently willing to touch a heart before asking for a hand – being helpful.
No longer will the market tolerate businesses that are out to get before giving.
No longer will the market tolerate businesses that are not different and making a difference.
No longer will the market tolerate businesses that are not unique and being useful.
No longer will the market tolerate businesses that don’t stand for something.
No longer will the market tolerate businesses that are not contributing to the success of their customers.
In this new age, the law of exchange which states that; ‘to get, you must first give’ is the standard on which every business that aspires to grow must be built.
Every site I visit is now giving away something, mostly an eBook in exchange for my email. Everyone is sharing something, whether it’s a link on Twitter, a video on Youtube or a picture on Facebook. The whole world seems to be in the business of helping someone.
To thrive in this new age, being Helpful must become your new business model. Woven under the very fabric of your business must be a strong desire to help. Your business must be built on the principle of helping someone accomplish a particular goal or objective as a result of coming in contact with the product or service your business offers.
Creating a business model
Looking at this concept, two words come into play, business and model. For better understanding, I am going to separate them and look at each individually, ok?
The Meaning of Business
A business is a social institution that provides a product or service to a particular group of people known as customers or clients for a particular agreed fee or price.
The first word in the definition that I will like to talk about is social institution. A business at its core is purely built on social interaction. Meaning, everything in the world of business revolves around people. Your employees are people, so are your customers and your suppliers and bankers and lawyers and partners or investors. There’s no way you can do business outside of people. So what does this suggest to you?
It clearly means that to succeed in business, you cannot avoid dealing with people and when people are involved, the golden rule must apply; “do unto others how you would have them do unto you.” Underlying the golden rule is the law of exchange [giving before getting] at work.
Going back to the definition, you would see the law of exchange at play again. How do I mean? You would notice that the definition of business clearly states that a business must first provide [give] products or services to a particular group of people who would then pay an agreed fee or price [get].
In other words, you are not permitted to get until you give. Therefore, business is a discipline that involves dealing with people through the provision of goods and services that attract payment in return.
The meaning of a Model
A model by itself is the interpretation, representation or simulation of a theory in real life. It’s how we mentally try to imagine or portray what a theory, principle, concept or idea will look like in practice.
According to Dr. Phil Walker,
“Models are used to help us understand how things might work in real life. They are the mental representation of an outward reality. A good working model must be exact enough to give us answers to how things will work yet flexible enough to allow for adjustments and changes.”
In case all of the grammar in the definition above didn’t sink, here’s one that might sink. I’m sure you are very familiar with models, they come in different categories; we have beauty models, fashion models and role models. Picture a fashion model for example, what do they do?
They basically portray how a particular design of an apparel or clothing will look like when worn in real life. They are in other words, the representation of what the cloth will look like on your body. Merely looking at them gives you a clue of how it would look on you even though you haven’t actually worn the cloth or apparel yourself. A model works basically in the same manner.
Looking at another example, role models, we all know what they are meant for. They are the physical representations of what we would like our life to look like when it is finally done. They give us a clue that when we lead our life in a particular way just as that of our role model, eventually we’ll be just like them. The same again, is how models in business work. They give us a mental clue, representation or interpretation of what a concept, idea, principle, thought, philosophy etc. will look like in reality.
What is a Business Model?
In the words of Seth Godin;
“This classic MBA phrase describes how you set up a business so you can get money out of it. A business model is a machine, a method, a plan for extracting money from a system. Without a business model, a company can get publicity, hire employees and spend money, but it won’t make a profit.”
Below are some sample business models extracted from Seth Godin‘s groundbreaking manifesto “the bootstrapper’s bible”. See if you can guess which company each comes from:
1. HIRE THE WORLD’S BEST ATHLETES AS SPOKESPEOPLE. Buy an enormous amount of advertising. Use the advertising to get every sporting goods store to carry your products. Make your product overseas for a very little money. Charge very high prices.
2. FIND LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT CARE ABOUT THEIR EMPLOYEES. Offer them a free water cooler if they allow you refill it. Earn money by making deliveries on a regular basis.
3. CREATE THE OPERATING SYSTEM that runs every personal computer in the world. Then use the power you gain from knowing that system, which controls the computers, to create software, web sites, online services, even travel agencies.
These are the business models of NIKE, POLAND SPRING, and MICROSOFT.
Permit me to add a fourth one; I’m sure you would love this one.
4. CREATE A SOCIAL UTILITY that will allow people to socialize by connecting and sharing things with family and friends online for FREE, then make room for businesses, celebrities and organizations to also do the same, but charge them a token for this in form of advertisement to those who use the platform for free.
You must have probably guessed right, FACEBOOK’s business model.
Therefore, a business model is the way a company has decided to setup and portray itself in such a way that it is able to attract money [get] by providing specific products or services [give].
It basically serves as a framework, blueprint, or prototype that attempts to describe or capture the underlying, thought, philosophy, idea, concept, principle, or mindset that will drive or guide the operations of a business in real life in a way that will allow it to be profitable.
It’s an ideal representation of what the operations of a business would look like in reality woven around a particular mentality or philosophy. That is, it gives a clue about how your business should be done in the real world. A business model is not the same as a business plan.
A business plan is a strategic course of action. Meaning, it basically outlines several action steps a business should take as regarding different aspects of its operation.
A business model on the other hand is not a list of action steps, it is not as tangible or concrete as a plan, but rather, it’s a conceptual or mental projection of your business when it is ready. It doesn’t present action steps as a business plan does; it presents the actual picture of the business when the action steps have been executed for maximum results.
The business model is what is underneath the business plan. Meaning, a plan is built on a model. So without a model, a plan cannot be created. A model is what guides the creation of a plan. It is the business model that gives a business plan its inherent meaning.
Creating A Plan Built On The Desire To HELP
The desire to help must underlie everything your business represents and does. You can have the best business plan in the world, if it is not built around a strong ideology or philosophy of helping others [those you’ve targeted to be your customers], then your plan is as good as useless.
Your business must be built on and around the desire to sincerely provide help in the form of product or services to those it serves. How you create, communicate and deliver this help is totally up to you, but the key thing here is to understand that help is the new business model.
That is, helping people is the new way of looking at and doing business, unless, you don’t want to succeed. Therefore, only those companies who are in the business of providing help will succeed in this new age.
So What then is the Meaning of HELP?
Help in the context of business and in life, means the same thing. A business provides help so do other non-profit making organizations concerned about certain aspects of life too. While a business provides help for a FEE, non-profit organizations provides help for FREE. Whichever way you choose to look at it, they are both in the service of providing help.
Help means Value. Let me be more precise; help is adding Value. Value is anything that is capable of providing satisfaction or gratification in one way or another to an individual or group of individuals. Value is something that is worth something to somebody. Value is anything that can be measured as a unit of satisfaction or gratification irrespective of personal preferences. If it can be quantified, then it has value.
How to make HELP Your New Business Model
1. Definition of HELP:
The first step to making help your new business model is to sit down and define what you want to call help in your business. Every business cannot provide the same kind of help, so it’s highly important you define your own kind of help because this is what separates your business from all others who are in similar industries or providing similar products or services.
So what kind of help do you want your business to provide? In other words, what kind of value do you want your business to be adding to its target customers? Your first task as an entrepreneur is to identify and define the value [help] your business is offering or bringing to the world.
2. Creation of HELP:
The second step in making help your new business model after identifying the kind of help [value] your business wants to offer the world is to ask yourself; how do we create this help? That you have identified your company’s definition of help [value] doesn’t mean your company currently possesses or provides that help.
After all, you cannot possibly give what you do not have. So the next step is to create your own version of help [value] which you’ve decided to offer the world in exchange for money.
3. Communication of HELP:
No one will ever know that your business has identified and created something of value to the world if it never comes out to proclaim such a thing exists. There are a million and one people in the world who are in need of the kind of help [value] your business has identified and created, it is the responsibility of your business to make the existence of such help known to the world.
This is the place of communication. You have to announce the existence of your company’s rare kind of help [value] so that those in need of it can come for it while giving you money in exchange for the help your business provided.
4. Delivery of HELP:
The final step in making help your new business model is the actual delivery of the help you have identified, created and communicated to the world that your business offers. In delivering the help [value] you want to be sure that it is exactly as you have communicated.
You certainly don’t want to over promise and under-deliver. So make sure you deliver on the same quality and quantity of help [value] you have previously communicated. Doing this makes your business indispensable in the eyes of the world or those you serve.
Over to You
So over to you my dear reader, how has your business been able to define, create, communicate and deliver help [value] to the world?
I just love this line: “consistently willing to touch a heart before asking for a hand”.
It’s that touching a heart that REALLY makes a business stand out! I keep hearing the saying, “People buy from you because of the way you make them FEEL” and that’s precisely where touching their heart comes in. What a way to add real value and meaning in this world! 🙂
This is something I want to focus on more in my own business – touching hearts in a way that leaves the world a better place and truly adds value and helps those I come in contact with.
Thanks for the inspiring article!
Thank you for sharing your views about being helpful to those we serve as business owners. In the words of Simon Sinek, “Start with the why”. Nothing really can be truer. People don’t buy ads until they first identify with the why behind all our ads. The why is the help we have set out to provide.
Tito – I love your style! You not only offer up an idea, but you provide the the full meeting; ensuring that your point comes across nice and clear … and it does. I took find it necessary to provide a backbone to help drive my messages.
I love what you have shared and I agree 100%. I think in order to receive, you must first give. You have to set seeds that cultivate into a wonderful crop. Setting the seeds is giving back, the crop is the reward of a successful business.
A business model that is built off of a blueprint of serving (or helping) others will gain the respect and trust from customers and prospects alike.
I know that I’m a very small fraction on this earth – but I’ve been assigned with the a huge purpose to help others first. Through this, I’ve been able to make a good income; which allows me to give back even more.
It’s all about giving value to others.
I love the direction of this Tito – great job!
Thank you JK for this awesome comment.
“I think in order to receive, you must first give. You have to set seeds that cultivate into a wonderful crop. Setting the seeds is giving back, the crop is the reward of a successful business.”
That was a very creative analogy you gave with the seed and crop. Brilliant.
+1 to JK. Tito, you are a great writer and you cover everything up in your posts! I love your style.
Help. That is most important word according to me. Me and Shirley started Blogging With Success to help other bloggers and now, I have another project in labs that’s aimed to help. When you know who you are going to help, you already know niche audience and half your work is done!
It’s good to see how you and Shirley have been able to use help as a business model to grow your blog and also replicating the model to create other projects. When a business us known in the eyes of those they serve as contributing to their success, nothing will stop such business from reaching the top.
Thanks for all the encouraging words. I appreciate them.
You make some really great points. The way to “getting” is often by giving. Building trusts and respect with your customers is one of the only real ways to build a long term relationship. Anything short of that will simply get a sale now…but perhaps at the cost of ever receiveing future sales.
Glad you could join the discussion here too. Business is really a long term venture, the more reason why entrepreneurs should get their priorities straight and stop thinking of cashing out fast by focusing only on what they can get in the short run. I like the way you put it, you can make the sale today, but what about future sales? That’s always the unanswered question. Only when you are truly helpful can future sales be guaranteed.
Thank you Steve, I appreciate your input.
Awesome post bro. You must be willing to give before you receive. Also you must build a reputable relationship with your customers in order to get the best from them. Thanks for sharing. Have fun.
You are right about building a reputable relationship with customers. When customers notice you are more interested in helping them out than just seeking to get more money from their pockets, they value the business relationship you are trying to build with them more.
Thanks for letting us know what you think always.
Very nice job my friend. Helping others should be the focus of all businesses and companies. It is crucial to know what kind of help we want to offer and the value we want to impart on to people to help them change their lives for the better. We have to help before we receive. Thanks for sharing my friend 🙂
Thank you for joining us and contributing your own thought on this topic. I appreciate your input. It’s Businesses must seek to be helpful to their customers, only then will they remain relevant to the customers.
Wow, nice stuff Tito.
I think it all comes down to help the one we have next to. That’s also how people get interested on ourselves and the way we do things.
What do you think, Tito?
Dude, your name rocks!
Yea, it’s good helping the person next to us. The best place to always start, is your immediate environment. When those around you have felt your impact it would be easy for outsiders to be open to you when you offer to help.
Thanks for the compliment about my name, I didn’t see that coming, 🙂
wow This is a very good share, i like the way this post has been crafted, Keep up the good work going. Promoted this share, Thanks.. Keep up the good work going
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I appreciate your support.
Amazing work, Tito. I thoroughly enjoyed this article and agree with everything you stated. And I love the articles with questions at the end for the readers! I love to answer them.
Haha well, I’d have to say I’m trying to define my business as “out of the box” kind of internet marketing help. I want to work really hard to find some really effective internet marketing strategies that are not so commonly found on other blogs or other sites.
Honestly, I’m doing it by providing real life experiences I’ve had in internet marketing so that others can learn from my mistakes. I’m also going to really crank up my research skills and dig down really deep to find some of the best info out there to give to my readers.
Through my writing (and crazy future videos), I think I’m doing a pretty good job at communicating the help I have created. Social media sharing also really helps A LOT, especially when others want to share my stuff. I love it!
I know that my help has bee delivered when people say that they have been able to use one of my free gifts or any of the free methods I explained. When someone says, “Yes, Elise, I understand!” I think that proves that I’ve gotten something across to people. And it’s an awesome feeling!
This was an excellent article. So many people who get started in business are wrong in thinking that business is all about them. It’s not! It’s all about the audience and people out there. Embracing collaboration, like you said, is the way to do it!
Your Comment is just so terrific, you brought in your own side of the story and it made the whole discussion very practical. I am happy you have taken the time out to think through this very necessary phase of your business. I am already a beneficiary of your helpfulness thus far 🙂
Thanks so much for this wonderful input!
Well what a full, informative article. Too many people say “I am going into business” OK, what is your business, your customer profile, your goals, your plan. You ask these questions and people look at you as though you have 2 heads.
Without clear goals and proper planning, good chance you will fail.
I don’t think you will be falling into that category Tito.
Thanks for your comment Pete!
Wishing you a happy holidays!
Hi Tito! I’m recently trying to create a business model to help people. I’m creating two non-profit foundations: one to help kids in Brazil and one to help kids in Angola. I still have much to learn on running a foundation. I’m sure your business tips will be very helpful along the way.
Thanks for your insights. Loving blessings and may you have a magical holiday season.
Two non-profit foundations is a major project. WOW. That is so great of you. Here is a great book i will like you to read, “Managing the Nonprofit Organization by Peter F. Drucker”
A very great book, I have a copy myself since I also plan on having one in the nearest future.
You can always inbox me anytime you need an extra helping hand ok?
Thanks for sharing this with the community!
I have become a fan of your tips on business. Your articles have really helped me redefine my ideas i have for helping our young generations become effective as individuals and great as an institutions. I will also like to say that your message is universal and timeless.
This is an awesome article. Particularly liked the part that said that ‘without a business model, your business can spend money but not be able to make a profit’.
I am in the IT services industry. With the rapid pace of disruptive innovation and low price competitors, my business model is no longer relevant and my services have becoming commodotised.
It’s important to keep reviewing your business model every few months to see whether it’s still relevant.
For example, Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadela, quickly identified that their traditional software business model is no longer relevant because customers do not want to own software and rather prefer renting software.
Thanks for the insightful example you gave about Microsoft, really helped to improve the conversation here. And I do agree with you about the importance of constantly reviewing ones business model. As we live in an increasingly changing world, entrepreneurs can’t survive with the notion that they are untouchable. What worked yesterday, may not work today!