Folks, we’ve been fooled…. as far back as grade school, we’ve been told by our parents, our teachers, and our community that our goal should be to get an education and then find a company that will give us a job and take care of us. And even today as we read articles or listen to newscasts that tell us we will probably have up to 10 different employers in our career, we don’t really hear that. What we hear is “I’ll have 10 different employers who will take care of me”. What a horribly weak position to be in, relying on the goodness of some company to take care of us, at the mercy of their willingness or ability to provide…. The implication is that companies exist to provide employment for people. Look at any recent article about the economy and it is easy to see that even the government is telling us that companys exist to create jobs. It’s just not so!…. When Bill Gates started Microsoft, he and Steve Ballmer didn’t sit around in the garage and say “Let’s revolutionize the computer industry so we can employ thousands of people”. The owner of the local Subway franchise store near your house didn’t open their doors in hopes they could be a source of employment for local teenagers. No company goes into business to be a job provider.
When I was an student at DePaul University, in one of my first marketing classes, the professor provided me with the basis for all marketing…… “Find a need and fill it”. Companies exist to provide products and services that fill a need or solve a problem, whether it is for other companies in the industrial market or for individuals like you and me in the commercial/retail market. That’s Marketing 101. Companies are not the social safety net to save or provide a living for people. They are in business to find a need and fill it, and to profit from it.
Now having said that, as companies grow, they need people to help them deliver on their promises to customers. They need to leverage the skills, dreams and production capacity of people to serve and grow their markets. Employees then, are resource providers just like vendors, in effect selling their services to an organization for a fee (salary) and for profit (benefits). Companies go to great lengths to attract and retain the best employees to be able to leverage their skills and talents to deliver better, faster, cheaper than their competition. They need specialized talent, and when there is synergy between the company’s goals and employees desires, everyone wins.
As A Company of 1, it is your goal to be the best service provider to your biggest customer (employer) and deliver the services and value necessary to help your customer be successful. Now that may seem like you are giving up control, but it is exactly the opposite. You are in charge of engineering your career, getting additional education, honing your skills so that you have the best value to offer to potential customers, just like a business does. And just as a company can decide it no longer needs the services of a vendor or is not getting the value promised and let an employee go, so can you, as a Company of 1 decide that a customer no longer is providing the profitability or the growth potential for your company and find a new customer. (that’s called taking control)
Don’t be fooled to thinking that your employer’s reason for existence is to make you successful. You are responsible for your own career, for your own Company of 1. And just as your employer is seeking to be better, faster, more profitable, so should you be for your own company. How do you do that? By serving your customer, and marketing to potential customers (other employers), with the value that only you can deliver. By getting additional education, volunteering for projects in different areas, by networking and talking to other “companies” (people) in your profession or industry. By being in control…
Decide today to take responsibility, to take control! Don’t be shackled by the line of thinking that says “I hope I find a company that will give me job and take care of me”. Rather shift your focus to the value you can, and want to provide to the market, become the best at delivering that value and then find the best customer that will appreciate your contribution and will offer you the compensation (revenue) and benefits (profit) you value, not just in money but in other things as well…. growth, work/life balance, etc.
Start by thinking to yourself, “As a provider of ___________ services, I am looking for a customer that will appreciate the value I bring and will pay me the highest market price possible, adding to my profitability”.
If you shift your focus from what a company or employer can do for you to what value you can provide to them, you will make a critical and fundamental shift in how you look at your career and you will be on your way to success as your own Company of 1!