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Business success is putting people before profit

Business success is putting people before profit

For small business owners to succeed in New Zealand there is a cultural requirement to be altruistic, and the difference between success and failure is based on whether you are interested in helping yourself, or helping others.

Business coach – and author of the small business book Business Mechanics, a nuts and bolts guide for small business owners ­– Jerome Jacobs, believes a survey which found Kiwis think the world is getting worse also sends a clear message to business.

The online survey of 1,000 New Zealanders by Australian firm Lonergan Research released this week, found that Kiwis think the world is getting worse because “people were more self-centred and greedy”.

“We don’t need evidence to tell us that Kiwis favour the underdog, that they have a very strong sense of fairness and they actively dislike the idea of exploitation – greed, self-centredness and a pre-occupation with money are not appreciated in New Zealand, and its often the reason why business gets a bad rap.

“People before profit is not a philosophy, it’s an expectation that the public have. For some business owners this is a difficult concept because they want to make money. The irony is that putting people first can actually be profitable.”

Jacobs says a business can move to putting people before profit by creating a mission, or a singular business philosophy, based on the key benefit of whatever service or product you sell.

“You are in business to solve people’s problems and to give them what they want. In exchange they give you money. In other words, ask yourself how your business helps people, and then seek to achieve that solution in every transaction.

“For example, if you sell ice-cream the purpose of your business is to make people happy. If you sell accounting services, the purpose of your business is to provide people with the information they need to make sound decisions.”

He said if a customer is unhappy for whatever reason, give them their money back – no argument.

“You would think it's a no-brainer, but so many business owners resist the idea because they see it as a loss or, ironically, as an unfair exchange in value, which misses the point.

“Business focussed on delivering the benefit you promise, not the bottom line, will end up with a healthy bottom line regardless,” he said.


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