Sheepdogs are boring losers. Wolves are cool winners. End of story? Not in real life.
Hollywood likes to portray business winners as predators. They spot the prey, make the kill, then party hard, pilot yachts, and sleep with Margot Robbie.
For a time, perhaps. In real life, such predators often end up sleeping with a cell mate.
Business is both competitive and collaborative. Yes, we must best the opposition, but people also have to want to work with us, to trade with us, and to trust us.
Successful business is symbiotic as much as it is competitive. You win by serving the customer. You have to offer customers or clients something so valuable they will pay you for it.
It’s easy to lose sight of this. Twice in the last 10 days, professionals bemoaning the billable-hour grind sought my advice.
One wrote: “The traditional hourly billing was burning me out. I was searching for a solution and think I’ve found it. I’m offering services under a subscription model. Clients have unlimited access to me for the services that they subscribe to for one monthly fee. I feel this will allow me to help them as much as I can and build stronger relationships. Do you agree?”
I didn’t because the professional was trying to solve his own problem, not the client’s. To shift the business model, he needs to add value from the client’s perspective to the degree that the client will want to switch. This challenge is straightforward, but not easy.
Solve customers’ problems, and you will take care of your own.
That’s what sheepdogs do. And why they prosper in the long term.