This guest post is written by Dare Dairo. To write an article for our website, kindly read our Write for Us guideline.
The Wikipedia definition of Compassion states thus:
Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer.
Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through actions, wherein a person acting with Compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for.
By this definition, it is obvious that compassion is primarily about being concerned enough about other people’s problems to be committed to solving them. It is different from other acts of benevolence or helpful behaviors in that it is primarily about taking action to solve other people’s problems.
But why compassion – for an entrepreneur?
I find this question most pertinent because we seem to be living in a world where nobody seems to care about anybody. Materialism, terrorism and narcissism seem to be the new religion. Why should I be bothered with the problems of the world, when I’ve got plenty enough problems of my own? I just want to make money – simple!
Good logic, but not so true. But I will not here bother you about the spiritual and scientific benefits of practicing compassion on a daily basis. Yes; scientists have discovered that people who practice compassion on a daily basis produces 100% more DHEA, a hormone that reverses the aging process, and 23% less cortisol – the “stress hormone”. But I will not focus on the strength of that scientific evidence alone. That may not seem convincing enough to influence your bottom line as an entrepreneur.
But let us look at the primary reasons people go into business. People go into business to make money – a fact. But that business will not last long if that is your only reason because the people you want to take their money would also rather have yours – everybody is interested in making money. More money.
Also, people go into business when they have a new idea, a new invention that is better than an existing one, or probably hasn’t ever been in existence.
It may look great on an business plan, but it will never sell until people know that it can of certainty solve a problem they have. So, essentially, when you start a business, look for a problem and the deliver the solution – passionately and consistently as if it was yours.
When you start business on a compassionate ground, your focus is on the problem you want to solve. And because you see it as yours, you can better make honest and fair assessments and projections of what the customer’s expectations will be, and thus better prepared to meet them. The profit margin you put on your product and service is only so that you may continue in business to provide that solution. Thus, you can continuously discover new and better ways to deliver that solution because it was never about you in the beginning, it is about the customer.
Now, let us look at practical approach to employing compassion in you business:
1. Start the Day with Gratitude:
Often, we take life for granted. Start each day with gratitude in your heart, no matter the troubles of yesterday. As you open shop, affirm in your heart that your problems are not as important as your customer’s problems that you must solve. So put those personal problems out of your mind and prepare yourself for your customers’ problems that they will bring to you. That is why you are in business.
2. Put Yourself in your Customer’s Shoes:
Instead of seeing your customers as strangers, see them as human beings just like you. See more of the things you share in common with them. As humans, we all quite much have the same needs; food, shelter, love, respect, dignity, security, affection, recognition, and most importantly, we all seek happiness. For every customer that walk through your door, remind yourself of these facts:
- Just like me, this person deserves happiness in his/her life
- Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
- Just like me, this person has his/her own problems
- Just like me, this person is not perfect
- Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs
With those realizations in your heart, put a smile on your face and walk up to that customer and try finding the solution to the problems that has brought him/her to your business. even where you cannot solve the problem, feel genuinely concerned and show that you truly care.
3. Imagine the Relief you want to bring to the customer:
Once you can identify with the shared humanity and the problem that has brought your customer to your shop, the next step is the real heart of compassion – solve that problem and deliver satisfaction to him/her.
Supposing you run a bridal shop and a lady walked in looking for the perfect wedding dress for that memorable occasion.Picture yourself in her shoes and try to imagine the millions of concerns that must be going through her mind about having a perfect wedding – the wedding cake, the ring, the reception, the menu etc. connect with her in a way that shoes you understand her fears and concerns and deliver the solutions that you have in a way that leaves her more confident to address the other problems.
4. Be Creative at the Solutions you Offer:
When you are in business long enough, you will come to realize that the same product could mean different things to different customers. Imagine you own a restaurant that pride itself on specialized menu for vegetarians. For all you know, some customers may just prefer your restaurant simply because of the ambience of the place.
Don’t be piqued by their complaint, simply reassure them about the quality and express readiness to please. You may consider a discount, an added freebie. Something to make sure they leave with a smile.
5. Appreciate the difficult customers:
No matter how hard you try, some people will just be difficult. Remember my last article? Read that and see how to handle them with compassion.
However, as I round off for now, let me remind you that compassion does not mean that you must become Santa clause. Interestingly, greed is also a common trait in human beings. People sometimes may take your friendly and accommodating mien for weakness and want to take more than is fair. Be polite, gentle, but firm. Be wise.
Even father chrismas only comes but once in a year, but you have to remain in business everyday of the year to solve as many other people’s problem as possible.
Do not allow your compassion to be mistaken for stupidity or weakness. If you must say no, say it with a smile that the customer will like the sound of it.
Did I leave anything out on compassion? I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below. Thank you!
Dare Dairo is a freelance writer, media strategist and social worker. With a passion for nourishing young budding entrepreneurs with appropriate perceptual attitude for wealth creation and value engineering to move our beloved nation forward. He is the presenter of Realms of Freedom, a motivational talk show of over five years running on Eko 89.75 FM designed to galvanize more young people to embrace the entrepreneurial solution to nation building and self actualization.