Passion is leading the business

Last Thursday I joined Helsinki Business and Science Park (HBSP) Forum at Helsinki Think Company, where entrepreneur, business consultant and coach Christopher Evatt shared his  extensive experience related especially to family owned business and start-up companies. The session was titled ‘Pursuing your Passion’.

Here are some highlights and direct quotations I found interesting.

20130606-G15-3909The big picture

  • The purpose of an organization is to support life, all life, not just human life.
  • We are here to create a better reality … a better world. That’s what an entrepreneur does.
  • Ask: “What is the positive difference I wish to make on this spaceship Earth?” It is not just about selling more stuff that matters, it is about contributing to life.
  • Improve the ecosystem! Make good things happen!

The start-up entrepreneur20130606-G15-3921

  • When starting a new business, don’t go out to only try and sell. Ask questions and co-create with customers what they most want. You will get a much better and more positive response. It is the key to building a successful business.
  • It’s all about asking questions.
  • All realities – physical, virtual and imaginary – need to be covered. They all need to be tied together into a meaningful and valuable whole for you, your staff, your customers and other stakeholders.
  • Compete with the quality of your relationships (not only with your product) with your suppliers and customers.
  • Do not copy other businesses. Go above the competition. Be extraordinarily better.
  • Sometimes you drop into deep holes.  In those “holes” you can learn much.
  • Starting with no money can be an incentive in the short term.

Making the deal

  • Business is the reflection of you.
  • Never harm your suppliers or your customers. Look after them and they are likely to look after you.
  • Do not accept a business proposition, no matter how good it looks, until you are sure about the quality and the intentions of the person behind the proposition.
  • How to sell something new that nobody knows? Give them a taste or experience of your product.

Four level of execution20130606-G15-3928

  1. Physical: Products
  2. Mental: Knowledge
  3. Emotional: Motivations
  4. Inspirational: Inspiration
  • The value of your product or service to the customer increases exponentially at each level.The greater the value, the more they are willing to pay. Think of Apple and their products.

The meaning of the brand

  • Ask:”What does my company stand for?” Make it very clear.
  • Answer: ”How I help my customers, staff, suppliers, environment, society and investors.”
  • Your value is not only what you know. It is the value you create and how you solve customers problems.

The key for success: Know yourself. Follow your passion!

* * *

Edit July 11: I had a short email discussion with Chris last night after publishing this blog. He asked: What did I gain in this two hour session?

I liked how and what Chris told about his own experiences as a young entrepreneur in New Zealand: the challenges, the risks, the moments of success, how he stubbornly found his way in a new and unknown business situation. That I could easily reflect to the situation of start-ups in today’s Finland: the road to success is not straight. If I ask advise at every turn, my odds to succeed will increase dramatically.

The way Chris described the ultimate reason for organizations and business – to create holistically a better world – led my thoughts to new paths: I cannot make big difference in this world alone, I need trusted, inspiring partners. I need to openly tell what I am doing. Positive communication creates positive feedback loop.

He underlined the importance of asking questions. For me it means curiosity without limits – like a child.


About Olli Laasanen

Eyes and ears open. New and old. Jobs and hobbies. Pictures and music. Entertaining and serious. Change and stability. Nature and urban.
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5 Responses to Passion is leading the business

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great! Thank You for sharing this. “Business is the reflection of you”. I agree! Mertzi

  2. Christopher says:

    “To be or not to be, that is the question” William Shakespear
    The quality of our being, who we are, dictates the quality of what we do.
    What we do, dictates the quality of our circumstances.
    Like a computer program. A poor program results in a poor output. A quality program produces a quality output.
    Could it be that our most productive work is developing the quality of who we are, resulting in the quality of our actions and therefore a quality of circumstances that matches the quality of who we are?
    If that is so, would it make sense for organisations to make the development of their people their highest priority?

  3. Chris, could you elaborate more, what a starting entrepreneur should think and do in practice for “creating a better world” or “improving the ecosystem”, when she or he is working hard, struggling to earn the daily bread? How to balance these somewhat philosophical visions and utterly practical need?

    • Excellent question. “Creating a better world”, “improving the ecosystem” and “earning the daily bread” may at first seem disconnected. Lets start with “earning the daily bread”. To earn that bread we have to give value. The more valve we give, the more bread we are likely to receive.
      The key is finding what can we do that gives others high value they are willing to pay us for.
      The highest value we can provide another ranges from enabling them to survive to what adds to the quality of their life.
      In the case of an individual customer, that value could be a life-saving operation to survive, to having healthy nutrition to give them a quality life.
      In the case of a business customer that value could be enabling them to make a profit to survive, to having skilled, inspired and motivated staff.

      Now lets look at “creating a better world”.
      What does this mean? It means enabling others and the ecosystem to be better off…better than when we found them. We aim to give more than we get. What we give, maybe at a cost to us or it maybe at no cost. The aim is for them to gain and for ourselves to gain.

      The “better world” starts with one customer, or one supplier, or one investor, or one staff member, or one part of the ecosystem we work in, and leaving them better than when we found them.
      When others know and experience this, they want to do business with us.
      Why? Because they are better off. They want to buy from us, supply us, invest with us and work with us.
      And because we leave the ecosystem better off, others can continue to benefit from it.
      If this is of value to them, they are likely to value us, what we do and what we offer. If they value us, they are likely to want to support us….buy our products, supply us, invest with us and work with us..

      The “starting entrepreneur” to |”earn his/her daily bread” and to enjoy an abundant life, means focusing on providing others with the highest value they can and receiving the highest value.
      It could be those receiving that high value, may not necessarily be those who pay them.
      Eg Google. They provide users with high value. Are not paid by them but earn from advertisers.

      And how do you know if what you provide is of high value?
      How do you know what they are willing to give you in return?
      Ask them.

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