I live in a pretty ‘full on’ commercial world. We aim to make money in business – otherwise there’s little point – we aren’t a social enterprise or a charity. We chase profit (remember turnover = vanity, profit = sanity) everyday.
But sometimes it’s not about the money. I need to earn enough fees to pay the rent and my staff – and hopefully have a bit left over to pay the mortgage and keep my wife and kids in gruel and water for a bit longer. But some of the things I do don’t attract a fee account. Some of the people I come across are more like business friends than fee paying customers.
But some of the people I come across don’t always get it. A few weeks ago I met someone who was so keen (desperate?) to do business that it became a blatant ‘if you show me your clients I will introduce you to some of mine’. It was mildly threatening as if I was going to miss out on ‘his client’ base if I didn’t come round to his way of thinking – and give him some work.
As someone said to me a couple of weeks ago, “he didn’t know how to be”. I love this expression and think it is very perceptive.
I think that there is an art to all of this. All of those people I know in my little network I regard as trustworthy. I figure that if I am nice to them and helpful, one day they may reciprocate. It’s not something I expect or ask for. It’s not a pre-condition. My experience is that people are more likely to business with you once they know you. That’s not to say I can do business with anyone – I can’t.
But sometimes the first bit shouldn’t be about the money – it’s about being yourself – or more fundamentally knowing “how to be”?