If a business owner were just thinking of himself or herself, then the business would never make it. Sure, things might be ok for a little while, but long-term sustainable success only comes when your business is focused on other people. Going for a win is not enough; you need the win-win.
The obvious key to success in business is getting one more customer. But it’s actually more than that; you have to have one more satisfied customer, a customer who will come back again and again and tell others about you and what you’re doing. So in order to win, you have to make your business work for your customers, your partners, and your employees, too.
Making your business a win for your customers means offering them value. It means offering them a product or service that helps them and solves a problem, and offering it at a fair price. To achieve this, think about your customers; put yourself into their shoes and brainstorm about what their problems are and what things they might want and need. Then work on ensuring that your products and services meet those needs, and find a way to differentiate from other competitors. Find a way to be different and better from everybody else, to provide the best value for your customers. That’s how they win.
Your business should also be a win for your partners. None of us can do everything on our own. We need great partners to help us, partners who make us better. To find those partners, you have to find people who want to work with you. A partner who is motivated and interested and enthusiastically engaged with what you are doing will be much more effective for you than a partner who might have bigger clout on paper but is disinterested. But you also have to make sure that your business model makes sense for your partners, too. If they aren’t getting anything from the partnership, then you can’t expect them to continue going to bat for you. To get the most from your partners, you have to make sure that they will be successful if you are successful. That’s how they win.
Finally, you also want to cultivate an attitude of going for the win-win with your own employees. Give them the freedom to really take ownership of the business. Involve them in the brainstorming and decision-making process so that they have an investment in what you are doing. Your employees will perform better when they are following a plan they helped come up with than when they are just performing a laundry list of items delivered from on high. And communicate the importance of win-win to your employees, so that it informs their actions and their interactions with customers. It’s about giving your employees ownership in your business. That’s how they win.