Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Billy's Fourth Law: Success is the intersection of the Rational and the Passionate

Love what you do and love those for whom you do it

You've got to be able to see the beauty in a hamburger bun!
Ray Krok McDonalds

What I have just written may not seem consistent with the previous law.  The truth is that there is a time for love, and a time for objectivity.  (Wasn’t that in an old Byrds song?)  The key to succeeding in business is truly believing in what you do – and truly believing that your customers get their money’s worth.  Without this, it is hard to look yourself in the mirror in the morning. 

Passion is powerful.  Passion often drives behaviour.  I read Steve Jobs biography by Walter Issacson.  The book is filled with example of  behaviour, often inappropriate, exhibited by Jobs in order to get the exact product he wanted.  Passion is not rational, but drives us to greater things.  Sports fans are...well fanatics. Their passion for their home teams can lead to riots in the streets, as they did in Vancouver in 2010  after the home town Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup final.  Passion is powerful, and successful entrepreneurs are passionate about what they  do and harness that passion.

What you do can be great or humble – but you need to see the value in it before you can sell that value to the customer.  Do you clean houses?  Then know that cleaning has huge value to the customer.  If you make computer games, then make sure that they are the most fun and challenging on the market.  If you are in consulting, you must truly believe that your customer gets their money’s worth from your counsel and advice. The first person who must be sold is you!

JJ Bean is a coffee retailer and roaster based in the Metro Vancouver Area.  Unlike many of the West Coast coffee shops, JJ Bean is a little different.  John Neate, the founder of JJ Bean is a third generation 'coffee-man'.   John's Grandfather founded Neate’s Coffee. John's Dad (John Neate Senior) helped build the company in to one of the two major restaurant coffee suppliers in the Vancouver Area.  I knew John back in my university days you will never meet a more passionate guy.  John is not only passionate about coffee, he is knowledgeable about coffee.    He grew up with coffee, understands beans, roasting processing and all of the other things that make coffee great.  He learned from his Dad, who I am convinced knew everything about both coffee and the restaurant industry he served.  This is a perfect example of the passionate meeting the rational.  The result...a highly successful business.

Sometimes you will fail.  Somebody won’t like your store, your product, your service, or your advice.  When I started doing seminars, I poured over the evaluations.  I looked for the negative things.  I didn’t care about those who loved the seminar, but rather I got upset about those who did not.  I wanted everybody to like my “product”. 

The truth is that not everybody will like your products.  Successful entrepreneurs listen and learn...they anticipate customer needs before the customer knows they know they have a need and rationally and profitably meet that need.   

This week’s quote comes from Business Week magazine:

I love children.  They are my customers.  I have to be informed about what they want to nibble, what they think and what language they speak.
Hans Riegel
Owner of Gummi bear maker Haribo, Who died on October 15, 2010

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