written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Carl Nordgren
Be Generous: A first time entrepreneur might not fully appreciate the importance of Being Generous until you ask yourself: Why would the marketplace ever be more generous with you than you are with the marketplace?
One of my first entrepreneurial successes was a company called Cellular One, the first cellular company in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, and one of the first cellular companies in the country. At the time the cellular industry standard for billing would round calls up in full minute increments—a 1 minute 1 second call was billed as a 2 minute call (per minute charges were steep back then.) In the formative meetings of our company, the senior leadership team addressed a series of decisions like this one, decisions that are often treated as if they are simply financial or administrative. But these decisions can be creatively entrepreneurially strategic and when treated that way, begin to reveal the generous nature of the company’s entrepreneurial spirit —shaping the company’s story.
Even though it was not industry practice at the time, we choose to bill in the smallest increments our billing company’s software allowed—ten second increments. We acted with the confident belief that Generous care was the best message we could send to our customers and to our employees who, as service employees, would reflect that behavior in their dealings with customers. We did this with the confidence that our Generosity would be reciprocated with the markets’ reward sooner than later.
The result: When Providence Journal Cellular and its Cellular One markets were sold seven years later the acquiring company, GTE Mobilnet, found we had a 60% to 65% share of each market, and our minutes per customer and revenue per customer were higher than the industry average. In addition our customers were rating the quality of our cellular systems higher than they were.
Many in the small business community feel they must never leave a dollar on the table, that in order to grow they must grab everything they can. This type of thinking can be flawed. A Generous behavior is met with a Generous response, most of the time, and when customers appreciate your Generous acts they are most likely to respond Generously, referring new customers and staying loyal.
Don’t expect your employees to be more generous with your company than your company is to them. A company’s creative ambitions mean they need commitment, not just involvement, from their employees. In order to be effective, that commitment must include the ability for employees to benefit from the value they are creating with an appropriate and fair financial reward. You must show them that they aren’t just cutting stone for you, but helping you build a cathedral that they will be honored in.
Generosity of Spirit
Be Generous with your ideas and the ideas of people around you — support one another in creativity. So often the earliest forms of the best ideas are the most fragile. Be willing to help others nurture and grow their ideas by having a generous spirit and allowing people the opportunity stumble before they get it right.
If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can implement these Creatively Entrepreneurial behaviors to grow and prosper email firstname.lastname@example.org
Individuals looking for detailed instructions and practice exercises to aid them in their efforts of becoming Creatively Entrepreneurial will find Carl’s new book, “Welcome to the Creative Populist Revolution.”
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