Running a web design and marketing company puts me in front of a lot of business owners. I typically will meet with 10 new businesses each week to learn more about what they do. If you add that up over the last 8 years I’ve been working, even excluding holidays and vacations, that adds up to a lot of businesses. Throughout this time I’ve also done many speaking engagements for university students across Ontario. Each semester I speak to different groups of students on how to follow their dreams and discover who they are.
For a long time I didn’t see the two groups as similar. It just seemed like two separate areas of my life that I did for different reasons. The only commonality between the two was that in both cases the reason I was speaking to them was because I wanted to help them out.
Recently I took another look at what I was doing with a different perspective. There are many university students that feel really lost. They know that they are supposed to figure out what they are supposed to do with the rest of their lives, but they don’t know how to go about doing it. Many of them are scared that they will end up in a job that they don’t want, or worse struggle to find purpose, meaning, and happiness. The fear of not reaching their potential can be very overwhelming.
After meeting many small business owners I now see that they are quite alike. They forget the meaning and reason that they got into business in the first place. While struggling to pay the bills and hopefully make a profit they get lost in a sea of competition. What their business really needs is to find its meaning in the world, how it adds value and happiness to its customers, and what unique contribution it has to offer.
Most of the marketing strategies that we create help guide the business owner through a process that helps them uncover their uniqueness. Once they have clarity on what value they add, we are then able to create the marketing message that will help to grow their business.
It seems that the closer we look around the world the more obvious it becomes that there is a commonality amongst all humans. Whether you are still in university or running your own business, you must constantly try to discover yourself and once you do share it with the world.