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Starting a Business Without Having a Business Philosophy Is Like Wandering in the Wilderness.  Develop Your Business Compass in the Beginning.

How do you conquer your fears?  By focusing on others.  Fear is almost impossible if you are focused on something other than yourself.  That is why developing your business philosophy is critical.  You need to know the foundation from which you are building your internet venture.

It is possible to have variations in business philosophies among successful businesses.  There is no absolute philosophy that applies to every business everywhere.  There are, however, guidelines that you would be wise to consider.  The first being that you must develop and understand your own philosophy and adhere to it.

Here are the guiding principles that form my personal business philosophy.  Read over them and then form your own.  

Business Philosophy: What Is The Core?     Business Philosophy Core

The core of any business venture is service.  Not making money, service (see Mark 10:42-45).  When you start your business, you must look out for number one.  The catch is this: you aren't number one.  Number one is the representative customer or client you are going to serve.

You don't try to use them to make a buck.  You try to serve them by providing them with what they need and want.  You develop the products and provide the services they specifically want.

In general, 80% of your profit will come from 20% of your clients (Pareto's Law).  Figure out the characteristics and profile and desires of that 20%.  Then, figure out how to serve them to the best of your ability and thier highest satisfaction.

Since it is much more efficient financially to serve and sell to existing customers than to try to recruit new ones, make service to your existing customers your top priority.  But, customer attrition happens in any business.  Continually be looking for new ways to bring new customers through your "doors."

Just remember, business begins with and ends with service.  Make sure you understand that.  Be ready and willing to serve.  That is a motivation that will last.

Business Philosophy: How to Start?     Business Philosophy Start

How do you start a business?  Choose a niche.  Face it: you can't compete with Wal-Mart.  You can't compete with General Electric or Kraft Foods or any of the other mega-huge business entities.  So, don't try.

You have to choose a niche.  Find an opportunity and fill the need.  If you are an expert on something, consider that field.  I'll delve into this topic much, much more subsequently.  But, in summary, this is the bottom line: specialize into a niche with variety.  It has to be specific and targeted enough to draw people to you.  But, it needs enough variety so that you don't get bored either.

Business Philosophy: Why Have a Business?     Business Philosophy Why

So, why does it matter if you have a business?  Why should you worry about financial matters?  What is going to be the purpose that drives your efforts?  Here are a few things you may want to consider.


Having a profitable business that generates income for the owner through providing value and service to others opens up even more avenues for helping others.  It is hard to give money if you have no money.  It can allow for the demonstration of righteousness through inheritance (Proverbs 13:22).  It can help provide for one's family (1 Timothy 5:8).  It can help you plan so that you are a blessing to, and not a burden on, your children in your old age.  It can help both a mother and father spend more time at home loving and training children.  It can do a lot.


You will end up dying one day.  Social Security will go bankrupt.  Medicare will go bankrupt.  Congress raids the trust funds each year and the Treasury replaces the funds with non-marketable IOUs.  Who is going to pay?  Contrary to popular belief, the government is not God.  If you depend on the government, you have some serious disappointments coming.


Consider also that you are dependent on others for your income.  This is always the case.  It is better to be employed by thousands of "employers" (customers) than one employer (boss).  If a boss fires you, you are done.  If a customer fires you, you are still heavily employed!


Business must profit to survive.  The production of goods and services meets needs and helps people.  The businesses that do this best create wealth as they serve.  Your business philosophy will determine how you use that wealth.


I once read that the definition of wealth was "more opportunities to buy for the number of hours worked."  I like this definition.  However, my philosophy guides me to not buy opportunities for myself with wealth.  When you are wealthy, buy others opportunities.


In other words, give.  I recommend people give away at least 10% of their income.  If you give to a non-profit institution in the U.S.A., it is tax-deductable.  Because of this, it is a good idea to give 10% of your gross income instead of your net income.  Consider this:


Let us assume an income of $100,000.  If you give to a church or other non-profit 10% of that gross amount, you will give $10,000 away.  The tax man take a percentage of what is left.  Let's say he takes 30% of what is left ($90,000).  That would be $27,000 to the government's coffers.  You get to keep $63,000.  If you are going to give a percentage and don't give from the gross amount, the 30% tax on $100,000 would be $30,000.  That would leave you with $70,000, and giving 10% of that would be $7,000.  You end up with $63,000, just like before.  So, what is the difference?  $3,000 is the difference.  If you gave 10% of your gross, you got to direct where the $3,000 went.  If you gave out of your post-tax net, you gave an extra $3,000 to the governemnt.


Would you rather give extra money to a cause near and dear to your heart or the government?  If you'd rather give to the cause, give pre-tax on your gross income.


The bottom line is this: be in it to bless others.  Provide needed goods and services.  Give from the wealth generated from the business.  Don't let it be about you.  Give to people in need.  Give to your children.  Buy opportunities for those who can't buy them for themselves.

Business Philosophy: Operating Procedures     Business Philosophy Operating

It is also important to understand and develop your business philosophy so that you understand how and why you operate.  I believe the best philosophy is service.  So, I set this site up to reflect that.  I chose the free-site model because I want to reach as many people as I can.


My best stuff is here for anyone to benefit from, totally free.  Even if I never made a cent from this service, I believe it is worth doing for free.  Ask youself this: would my business idea be worth doing even if I never made any money from it?  If the answer is "yes," you likely have a good idea.  Now, if it can't be made profitable in some way, it may not be practical to do for you, but you at least have a benchmark.


This attitude can also help you get established on the internet.  Serve a group for free.  Serve them for free until you can add a premium product or service to sell to them.  My initial premium product was offering this site in a more compact, ad-free form: a downloadable PDF file.

Business Philosophy: Getting Money     Business Philosophy Money

Your business philosophy also should incorporate what you believe about acquiring money.  Again, I believe that money is earned as a by-product of effective service.  Since income is a by-product, your primary goal should be to serve a group to the best of your ability, not to get rich.


It is also important to remember that value is a subjective measurement.  The value of information or ideas should not be dependent on the form of delivery (electronic delivery or delivery in paper form).  If you will be selling things online, there is no need to automatically discount your knowledge or information or ideas.

Business Philosophy: Self-Evaluation     Business Philosophy Evaluation

You must also evaluate yourself before you start a business.  This could be a challenge!  If you've never thought about what it is you believe and why, work on figuring it out as part of your business philosophy.  Do this BEFORE starting the business.


Know your political and economic presuppositions.  You need to figure out if you are a free-market capitalist or a centralist socialist at heart.  Have you been more influenced by Adam Smith or Karl Marx?  Do you believe people are and should be free to choose subjectively the value of products and services and voluntary exchange for them?  Or, do you feel guilty allowing someone to pay you for your service or product, even as a voluntary act deemed mutually beneficial for both?


If you have reservations about using your website/blog as an income generation tool, or being paid for a service, or trying to serve as many people as possible for the maximum amount of mutually-agreeable compensation, think twice about starting a business.


Before starting any kind of business, you need to decide whether you are mentally tough enough to hack it.  If you have adopted Marxian collectivist and anti-capitalist mindsets about things, you will be crippled by assumed collective guilt as you try to serve people and are compensated for it.


That guilt will hold you back and cripple your venture before it ever gets started.  Either dive in to making your site/business profitable, or don't expect it to be profitable at all.  If you are going to monetize your site, go all out.


If you are going to use ads, put them where they will be seen.  If you are selling products, really try to sell them.  Use advertising copy.  Learn how to market.  Create or acquire high-quality products that you believe in and show your visitors how they can benefit from them.  If you ask for donations, don't hide the link at the bottom of the page.


If you want to be successful, you had better be able to either throw off the politically correct corporate guilt trip (recommended), or learn to be a hypocrite as you work as a capitalist in spite of it.


I believe that if you provide a genuine service, you deserve to be compensated for it on whatever terms are mutually and volunarily agreed upon.


Figure out what your own business philosophy entails early in the process.  You will put a lot of work and many, many hours into your website and/or blog.  I know I have.  It takes a lot of "sweat equity" to produce valuable content for the benefit of others.  I believe that it is completely reasonable to earn income from that labor.  The way my site is set up is in accord with my philosophy.  If you don't think you have received any value, you pay nothing.  That, to me, is very equitable for everyone.

Business Philosophy: Final Warning     Business Philosophy Evaluation

A final warning: if your singular goal is to make obnoxiously huge piles of cash, you will probably fail and be miserable doing it.  The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).  If you aren't doing this for a reason other than the money, re-think your motives.  Don't chase the money.  Let the money chase you.


If you don't believe that what you are doing is worth doing for free, you probably shouldn't do it at all.



Copyright © 2009-2010, Issachar Knowledge, LLC: Business Philosophy


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