Givers, Takers and Matchers.
A TED TALK that I watched has prompted me to mention something I have observed over many years, especially some business owners.
Adam Grant is an organisational psychologist. Listen to his talk about people in organisations and what to look out for.
It’s great and he talks about Givers, Takers and Matchers.
In the cycle of a business (usually in the start-up phase), the new owner is looking for help, searching for answers and open-minded to new ideas. Having no experience usually means the owner usually sees all the possibilities and not the obstacles. Most new owners don’t want to make mistakes that others have made and will ask for constructive feedback to learn from the more experienced owners. They ask lots of questions (and so they should) and many experienced business owners love helping them!
I firmly believe this attitude of seeing so many possibilities is what makes many of these businesses succeed.
Being open to constructive feedback is crucial too. The business is your baby and you want to see it grow and you need to keep your eyes wide open to risk factors.
Now with the use of social media, small business owners have the opportunity to be in productive Facebook Business or Linked In Groups where they can share their experience and knowledge and help a “newbie” avoid costly mistakes. (And I mean real business to business facebook groups, not just groups that have businesses selling all the time).
As experienced owners, we go through phases of our business life cycle (there are 7 stages in case you didn’t know) where we need help or give help as needed. Asking for help comes easier to some than to others. I know, as I am still learning to ask for help and am so grateful for those who knew that I needed it and helped me.
Matchers usually have been burnt (and Adam mentions this), usually by giving to people who are Takers. It makes sense. Spotting a Taker isn’t too hard.
However the Takers are a special breed. And here we come to my observation.
There are business owners on these social media channels who seem to have conveniently “disappeared”.
These business owners had a whole heap of information that was generously given to them when they had questions. These are the ones who asked for help, ie: your contacts, your information, they will see that someone has achieved a special goal and asked for contacts so they don’t have to work to find out how to do it themselves. These owners see it as their right to know and yet where are they? They are rarely seen on these Facebook groups answering questions for other new businesses even when it is the same information they asked themselves a year earlier.
Really?? Do you now think we don’t notice?
I know they haven’t disappeared, in fact their businesses appear to be going well however the only time you see them back in these Facebook groups is to (you guessed it) ask more questions when they need help.
Another version of this is when a newbie asks for help and is taken for an expensive ride by “experienced” business owners who have sniffed out an unsuspecting owner who has no concept yet of costs or priorities in their business. It makes me want to put a protective ring around the new owners and an especially ” extra tight” one around the experienced owners. (possibly their neck!)
We’ve all met The Givers, The Takers and the Matchers. In fact we are all one of them or move through all of them depending on circumstances.
But if you asked for and needed a lot of help when your business was starting to get on its feet – make sure you pass that help to others.