Dedication, commitment and loyalty. If you have these three things in your life, your personal and professional lives will take care of themselves.
Whenever someone asks me how I view my life, those are the only three words that enter my thoughts. In my opinion if you invest those simple, yet, incredibly difficult words you never have to worry about bad things coming your way.
If anyone of you knows me in my personal life, I have a very small circle of people that are close to me. This is not a mistake, yet by complete and udder design. I kind of look at it like this; when a person comes into, or already is, in my life they are almost instantly leveled. They can fall into three categories: the lowest level is the “C” level. Basically these people are more of acquaintances. They are most likely good people that I can laugh with but have probably zero or none of the qualities that I cherish. The next category they may fall into is the “B” category. These individuals are the people that I consider friends that I probably see from time to time, maybe once or twice a month. These individuals have probably two of the values that I find so important, but probably cannot invest 100% due to other commitments like marriage, kids, jobs, etc. Then there is the “A” group. These are my people!! These are who I completely cherish in my life. These are the people that I would fight for, sacrifice for, these are the people that I love!!
I have had a few individuals in my life over the last 3-4 years that were on the “A” list that unfortunately for one reason or another violated those characteristics, and violated the effort that I placed into them as valued friends. And, if you know me, that is often times an unfixable violation of our friendship. I am a pretty good communicator of feelings and the majority of the time, everyone in my life knows where they stand with me. I am very clear and concise about how I feel about you and the expectation is that any investment I make into you, it should be and is expected to be reciprocated. If that cannot happen, then it better be communicated clearly (back to me) as to why. If that does not happen, don’t expect me to invest into you any further. I tell everyone I know, and this is something that I hold dearly to my heart; only invest into people that invest an equal effort into you!!
These words are equally as important in business, and I am always shocked why people struggle with this. All of my current clients became clients out of relationship building. All of my customers know that I invest into them. Believe me, I will take a client that does not have the same value on relationships that I do, but both of us recognize that it will probably be short lived, not as productive as it could be and eventually cost more money because of a lack of communication.
Right now, I (personally, not the company) only carry two clients. Is this risky, sure; however I firmly believe this is how I can grow in a manageable and more effective way. Those two clients however have been with me for a minimum of two years, and the cool part is based on the two-way direction of dedication, commitment, and loyalty the scope constantly expands and evolves for a more productive relationship for both parties. Since I have taken on these two clients, it has allowed me to hire four additional employees and invest into their projects. It also has allowed me to predict that over the next two years, it is very realistic that just from these two relationships, I will be able to hire additional eight employees. That is what makes business important and fun. That is what makes me want to continue to find groups that value the three things that I do in my life, because it allows me to continue to grow my core by allowing additional opportunities for my current employees, it allows me to invest into other families who will in turn, invest into their communities. This is the beauty of relationships in business. It’s a win-win.
The moral of this story is simple. Know your “A” people and companies. Give all you have to them. Invest every ounce into them and allow them to invest back into you. Love them, take care of them and enjoy them. At the same time, ensure that the investment is returned, and if not, do not be afraid to make hard decisions…….and always, always, remember; only invest into people that invest an equal effort into you!!