Elevating Your Business Practices: When Building Yourself Means Building Others
by Daric Gill
Let’s Get Personal
Most of my articles are written through an art-centric viewpoint. We are all mutually looking for little rays of business positivity in an otherwise grey sky. Today I hope to contribute to the sunlight. We have an unprecedented opportunity to re-envision how we as artists, entrepreneurs, community members, and even corporations operate from the ground up. The following article spells out the single most important (and possibly the only) real bit of wisdom I know. By sharing this, I hope people can apply it to both their personal choices and professional business practices.
The One Truth I Know:
For a relationship to flourish, be it professional or personal, each party has to have the other side’s best interest in mind. If you take care of me and I take care of you, the needs of both are met. However, if one side doesn’t do their part, the road is one-directional. All benefits are weighted to one side which leaves the other side exhausted and starved for balance. This is how I measure my personal as well as my professional relationships. If you’re looking to elevate your business and yourself, these are a few questions you could ask:
-Am I the kind that protects myself, my bottom line, or my motives over others?
-Are they the kind that protects themselves, their bottom line, or their motives over mine?
If you answered ‘yes’ to either one of those, the road is one-directional. One party will be the taker, benefiting off of the work of the giver. If this is you, I encourage you to find ways to elevate yourself beyond this and perhaps consider how you could change going forward. If it is the other party, it is not in your best interest to engage in this partnership.
Another way to look at this through a business mind is, “Before entering in this partnership, deal, or arrangement–“
Are they more people or profit oriented? (Profit could equal financial or other type of self-seeking gain). Align yourself with businesses that focus on their people first. Profit is the side-effect.
There’s been a vast shift in the consumer mindset recently, where we passionately back companies and entrepreneurs who showcase sincere commitment to the wellness of their employees as well as their customers. This mindset champions that the best business practices don’t merely rely on an end-product profit margin, but rather a whole transaction of internal and communal reputation as well. If there’s any silver lining to be seen when things look so dim, it’s that there is a surge in this people-first model. We are actively supporting those that equally support us back– my definition of a positive relationship.
To highlight some examples: In the past few weeks, I’ve seen some true heroes pop up in the world that exemplifies the very apex of mutually beneficial human partnerships. NYC-based technology manufacturer, Adafruit Industries, have re-aligned their services to distribute/make some PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as face shields. There are no layoffs for 130+ Adafruit team members.
Additionally, countless businesses around the world are rebuilding their models to become more flexible, mobile, and uniquely people-based. Among so many examples: musicians are holding live concerts, museums are giving virtual access to their exhibitions, artists (like myself and many others) are providing free resources or critiques, and food vendors are becoming mobile and centered around the fundamentals of standing for and by their community. If you’re anything like me, you are watching these leaders very closely and vowing to spend the next round of money on those businesses before anyone else.
In my city, Middle West Spirits (makers of OYO Vodka, Middle West Whiskey, and Vim & Petal Gin) are using their unique distilling process to make hand sanitizer for frontline responders, including EMS and shelter staff. This is a massive undertaking and should be reciprocated by support. On a smaller level, Staufs Coffee Roasters are constructing an ice cream shop styled pick-up window out of a former entryway/pay-phone stall so that people can enjoy their great coffee outside, with less risk for all, and with greater ease. This will be both beneficial to their bottom line as well as the good of their customers. It comes as no surprise, as Staufs has a reputation for community engagement that reaches outside of the needs of a simple cafe.
Globally, we see people finding unique ways to sing, show movies, and romance their ways into better lives. This week I’ve had friends from all over the world check in with me, just to say hi and connect. It is the artists, musicians, health care professionals, grocers, truckers — and all those tuned to human nature that are getting us by. And it is exactly the sort of shared partnerships we can bring back into the business world. If I look out for you, you will look out for me.