“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” – Henry Ford
I love the above quote as I think it really encapsulates why we do business. Value creation should be at the center of all we do. A good friend of mine, Garrett B Gunderson, always says that dollars follow value and that sentence drives my business.
We are lucky as small business owners to only have our customers to answer to. We don't have to worry about pleasing board members or the value of our stock, we just have to give our customers something that is valuable to them and take care of our employees.
With the current economic situation, it's easy to lose sight of this objective and start worrying only about our needs and what we want. We start cutting costs, cutting services, lay offs etc. etc. Sometimes it makes sense to do these things, but make sure you are communicating your change in a way that doesn't alienate your client base and hurt the long term success of your business.
There are a lot of detailed and well thought out models about the value creation process for your business. I ran across the above picture at www.virtueventures.com because I thought it was a real simple way to illustrate value creation and what we strive for as a business. On the one side you have your financial objective for your product/service and on the other the impact that it will have on people or your social objective. This model wasn't created necessarily for the private sector but I think that there are some appropriate similarities to business in general.
So, how much can you give for a dollar? What big problems can you solve in these economic times to create value for the masses? How have you effectively created value for others?