Do you live in a world of abundance or in a world of scarcity?
Really. The answer effects just about everything you do in business including how you make money, how you grow your business, how you serve your clients and employees, and how you impact the community around you.
If you live in a world of abundance, you fundamentally believe you will get yours by helping others get theirs, because there is plenty to go around, and the generous will do well. Profit comes from serving others and focusing on getting better, not from eliminating competition.
If you live in a world of scarcity, you fundamentally believe you will get yours by getting it before the greedy guy does, because there is only a limited supply to go around, and the bad guys will get it all if I don’t get mine first. Profit comes from grabbing the scarce market before the next guy gets it, and eliminating the competition.
Companies that live in a world of abundance operate differently. I was in Nordstrom’s once and they didn’t have what I wanted. They called their competitor in the same mall, found the product at a lower price, had someone go down and buy it for me, brought it to Nordstrom’s while I finished my shopping, and gave it to me at the competitor’s price.
Many examples of both abundance living and scarcity living exist in the technology world. Abundance living is demonstrated by Linux and other open-source software that is available for all to build on. Google built their business on “do nothing evil” (some say they are wavering on that lately). On the flip side, in 1997 I was given a confidential document that showed a three-year plan by Microsoft to drive Novell out of the market. The focus wasn’t on how Microsoft could get better, but how they could eliminate the competition so they wouldn’t have to get better.
Markets are indeed limited. It’s counter-intuitive, but in the long run you will almost always get more of that market by living abundantly, not be grabbing everything you can up front. Scarcity living might give you a first leg up, but will create a reputation you don’t want long term.
Put helping your clients above your own desire to sell them something. I dare you to help your competition be successful, too. Or if you can’t get your arms around that, at least focus on getting better instead of eliminating the other guy. You’ll make more money in the long run, create loyal followers, and develop a legacy that will carry the company forward.
Do you live in a world of abundance or in a world of scarcity? The answer will affect everything you do in business, and will go directly to the bottom line.