I was lucky to sit and listen to the brilliant futurologist Mark Stevenson at Media Bounty’s excellent first thought provoking event “Thinking Human” this week. When I left the session ringing in my ears was a single thought “Why can’t companies and businesses accept enough?”. Now, it’s a purposely provocative and naïve statement – I’m not dim, I understand that capitalism is driven by growth and the endless pursuit of more to satisfy shareholders, maintain stock prices and ensure that the money machine mechanism keeps turning BUT as Mark pointed out, the businesses that can’t see the writing on the wall for the pursuit of profit over people are going to become extinct. It’s just a matter of when.
The fundamental drivers are that:
- lower energy costs and technological advances are bringing forth a simpler cheaper, self-sustainable lifestyle,
- the previous point plus the democratization and open access to marketing channels means more businesses in more niches and therefore more competition and...
- ...the BIG one: citizenship – we care about how the brands and businesses we support do their business and how they see the world. The sudden uplift in ‘woke’ behaviour by brands is no marketing fad it’s a necessary response. We the people increasingly give a shit and sadly most of the big incumbents do not have the same values driving their business, hence the upstarts who do ‘get it’ will go from nipping at their heels to biting a chunk out of their calf and bringing the giants down.
So, if you’re in a business why not focus on enough? Why not set a sustainable target for business and look for growth in metrics that would deepen & strengthen relationships with the most important people – your internal people and your customers, the people you care about?
I have absolutely no doubt that only good will come of that. I’d rather dig a well that will give me enough water each day for years than try and suck up puddles, ponds and lakes.
If you run a company how much business do you need to do for you and your teams to be happy? How much is enough?
If you’re a freelancer or a small business and haven’t ever read Kevin Kelly’s essay on ‘1000 True Fans’ then stop reading this now and do it: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
Do the calculations – how many true fans do you need? If it’s more than 1,000 that’s fine but take the inspiration and challenge yourself to achieve that figure through people centric pursuits. Don’t hack and conversion funnel yourself to an ever decreasing return, stand on the shoulders of those who are willing to help hold you aloft.
A couple of extras on this thought: Tim Ferris on ‘Mini retirements’, an eye opener as to how much you really need to enjoy the aspirations we usually reserve for once we’ve made a pile of cash and Mr Money Moustache someone who leads by example and retired at 35 by making astute choices and fine tuning his lifestyle for ‘enough’