Generous with Time
There are many successful people who are known in their circles as people, who although busy, are ready to give their time to help others succeed as well as for charitable purposes. Many of us might feel that such ones are now in a position to do this because they are successful. As a result, they can create the necessary space in their diaries by delegating work to others.
The truth of the matter though is that they have most likely been generous with their time from the very beginning of their business journey. Has their generosity played a role in the success that they have had? Let’s think about that for a moment and see how many today are setting out on their business journey using the principle of giving to grow their business.
Why should you help others?
In one way there is a huge non-financial benefit to giving. You might well know the Bible statement that “there is more happiness in giving than receiving” and there is proof that this is true. Your own experience tells you of the joy that you get when you give a gift to someone, whether that is time, money or goods. Science too has researched this and found that people who are volunteers (givers) do lead more fulfilling and happier lives than those who are just “takers”.
Of course, if everyone were equally generous we would all be equally benefiting. Therefore, to some degree, if we took a selfish view and turned that into a positive view we could say that if people were really concerned about themselves in the long term they would become generous!
In business, you need to develop good business relationships with others. This is not just with customers but also needs to extend to suppliers, staff, partners, and others that can help you with your business. Good relationships are built on trust and knowledge of each other and one of the best ways to build trust is by helping someone else.
It is true to say that most people who have received help look to return the goodwill to those giving it. We feel almost to some degree indebted. How can we pay back that generosity? It might be done by buying something from the business, becoming a more loyal customer or recommending our friends to become customers too. In other situations, a supplier might well offer more favourable terms to someone that has been generous to them but also will recommend the business to others.
People who are generous with their time do get something back. It might take a while before results start to appear but they will come. I would though like to make a point. Our generosity in helping others needs to be genuine. If it is or looks like an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” type scenario that is not generosity it is a business deal. Such deals are fine as long as they are approached in that way. However, do not replace real generosity with these deals because all you will ever do is get a one for one fairly equal deal and the results achieved will be limited.
Of course being generous takes time so how are you going to manage your time?
Managing your Time
Clearly, we all have a limited amount of time. If you don’t sleep you have 168 hours but we all know that sleep and many other important things need our time. You will, therefore, need to have a good schedule and also when you are helping someone to make sure that you use the time wisely. If a person only requires a 2 or 3 minutes and a chat over the phone is all that is required don’t turn that into a meet up for coffee or dinner. There might be times when meeting up is good as part of your business or networking strategy but if you go far beyond what it required it will have a negative impact. There might also be a negative impact on the one you’re helping as they too might not have the time and may even regret getting that advice from you due to it causing them to miss out on business.
A word of warning
There is another issue which is difficult for people who make a living by charging for advice. For example lawyers, marketing, business advisors and others who could end up helping people free of charge and never get paid. In these cases where the help you’re giving is clearly part of something that you normally charge for be very careful. You don’t want to be seen as a free resource for the whole world and there are some people that make a beeline for a soft touch.
Many get around this by having a blog that has some basic frequently asked questions. It’s free to use and you can point people to that with a few words of advice. You obviously need to make it clear in the nicest possible way that it’s your livelihood and free advice has to be limited in that area.
Please do not though if you have a bad experience of someone trying to unfairly take advantage of your time discourage you from helping others.
So do be generous with your time and see how your generosity is returned over time.
Please do leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts.