I just read an article on Wikipedia called “The Cycle of Poverty”, while it gave some outstanding information, I could not help but think of how it related to business as well as people in general.
The basic premise is that people in Poverty stay that way (check the article for the reasons for that) and it takes an external force to alter that situation. It seems the big thing to cause a break in the poverty cycle is education and finding ways to alter the values and beliefs people in poverty have.
I then thought about businesses being that way. Let’s jump in and see how things fit.
- Inflexible – Some people see the way forward and up wards and outwards, while others see the way forward as staying the same. That’s okay unless the line of business you are in alters. An example would be typewriters; if you are still trying to sell them you might find the market for them to be incredibly small or non-existent. You might want to lay blame on someone or something but the fact is the need for the item has gone, and you are trying to ‘flog a dead horse’. Those who saw the writing on the wall probably adapted and got into computers while you stayed in a ‘stuck state’.
- Comfortable – “I just want to earn enough to be comfortable” which can be a useful guideline, however I often find people have no real concept of how much ‘comfortable is’. Without knowing the actual amount how can you set a goal to achieve it? Perhaps change the word comfort for security, perhaps then you might realise you might be better off in a job rather than in business.
- It’s a job – You probably went from ‘working for the man’ to ‘being the man to work for’, yet you still end up being in a job, not in the role of a business owner. As a business operator you end up working long hours hoping for the best, only to realise you may well end up earning less and at the ‘beck and call’ of customers. You get stuck in the business with nowhere to turn, put simply you don’t know any better because you haven’t been taught any different.
- Exposure – If your family was in business as you were growing up, chances are most of what you value and believe about business is based on that set of experiences. Hopefully the exposure you had has been truly positive and inspiring and you are surrounded by family with a solid knowledge base and the willingness to assist you with the business. However if the opposite is true watch out as you may believe business is a tough lifestyle, full of drama and challenges where you end up time poor and wondering where the next $$ will come from. If you are being educated in business in a more formal way you had better hope the level of information you are being exposed to/educated about is sufficient to allow you to create a truly successful business. It’s all about what you are exposed to and or influenced by.
- Resources – Some people are in a position to build a business from a solid financial and other resource base, while others want to build the business on the ‘smell of an oily rag’. Both can be successful it’s a matter of being able to leverage whatever you have to get a solid result, in the case of starting with nothing you will probably pour lot’s (if not all) of your earnings back in to the business to build a solid foundation. On both counts you would be building on the resources to earn more so you can do more, be more have more. In the end it’s about growth so you can move away from a low income start to that more ‘comfortable’ position mentioned earlier.
- Where are you? – If your business is aiming for high level clientele, don’t be in a low level clientele area. High quality providers generally cluster together, sure they pay more rent, but their income is expected to be bigger. Ask where do I want to be and what do I need to do to get there.
- I have to but I can’t – Is a simple cycle people find themselves in too often “I have to build my business but I don’t have the resources to do so”. Might be one of those statements people say in their head and keep them in a ‘stuck state’ mentally. Those who can break this cycle generally find some form of escape, or a slight skew to the situation to break the cycle. Find people to help you find the resources you need to succeed.
- Plan – No plan no action, a solidly growing business has an action plan of some kind as a guide to getting results. It spells out what to do when, it has a strategy behind it, solid values and beliefs to ensure everyone in the business is on the same pathway to success.
This is probably a starting point to exploring business and breaking the poverty cycle. Learn more, implement your ideas well, improvise, adapt and overcome to make sure your business success can leave a solid legacy others can follow so you can be sure to break the poverty cycle of business.