(I originally posted this in my LinkedIn Pulse postings, but the message seemed appropriate to the Listen to Life audience, too. Enjoy.)
Ed sat in on the meeting. I was there to discuss ways that I could help a local nonprofit in its efforts to help special needs populations in myriad ways. Imagine Enterprises does wonderful things. So does Ed. He started his own business. He is proud of it and loves it.
Ed created Ed Shreds, a business that will shred a file box of papers for ten dollars. When he describes the process with limited vocabulary, he overcomes the challenge with big smiles, ten fingers held up, and a sense of pride that is uplifting. His message speaks to all of us.
- Do What You Can Do Ed shreds because he can manage it. Have you focused on what is within your skillsets and/or resources or are you trying to start with a pie-in-the-sky, blue-sky vision? Years ago a retiring chamber executive told this then-young man that I had a bright future, but that I needed to learn to not only look at the visionary things, but also at the stuff on my desk. Vision and dreams are great, but in the moment you have to focus on doing what you can do. Everyone has impediments of some type or another. We can learn to work around them, and we learn which ones to avoid based on realities. You might want to “change the world,” but perhaps that is not your true calling, or perhaps it not yet your time. Do what you CAN do.
- Take Pride in What You Do Ed had a little plastic bag with a bunch of business cards. His sister asked him what he had as an encouragement to have him tell the people at the meeting about his business. His pride engaged us all. I think of how many times conversations at networking meetings are factual and informational, but not enthusiastic or proud. Be proud of what you do, whatever it is. Understand your work’s purpose and value.
- Do Something of Value The rewards of doing something of value extend beyond revenues generated. No matter what service you perform or product you sell, consider the value that you provide. We live in a world of abundance and great opportunity. Of all the options that you have to do something and charge for it, choose those with real value. Ed saves people time, provides them security, and offers convenience. What is your value proposition? That is what customers pay for.
- Be Clear About What You Do and Your Prices Simplify, simplify. Clarity beats obfuscation every time. Be clear about what you do and what it costs. Ed shreds. The service costs…ten fingers.
- Smile All Along the Way Whether people end up buying your product or service or not, give them something for free….a smile. It will change their day, build bridges and make you memorable. Too often a slick sales pitch takes on an Eyore tone when things don’t go well. Don’t be Eyore; be Ed. Smile.
If you are considering starting a business, it is easy to get caught up in market analysis, business plans, pro-forma budgets and more. Before all of that, it would serve you well to consider the five lessons from Ed. I know I will.
(Ed can be reached at EdShreds@icloud.com. He offers free pick up in the Clear Lake area of Houston)