The Business of Caring

Lets get straight to business.

To succeed in business you need to show that you care.  Ok, ok, you don’t need to, but if you are in business for the right reasons (ie – it’s not all about the money) then you need to care AND if you show that you care then you have a better chance of succeeding.

Let me give you some examples of how you can show you can care to highlight my points of how you can show that you care.

You have a vision

You express this vision in more than just a mission statement. You live it. You breathe it. You try your damn hardest to create  your vision.  You surround yourself with people who believe and can help you achieve it. Your vision has everything to do with how you behave inside and out of your work.

There is something within you driving for a different world.  Perhaps it is to provide something better for those closest to you, but it probably goes deeper than that. You want change. You want to do something better. Something more meaningful.  Whatever it is, doing something different in a positive way shows that you care.

For me: My current vision is to provide the positive change that I believe is needed for the software testing world.  I am bootstrapping my way towards the change. I am building the right kind of relationships and friendships.  Decisions are often hard, but I try my best to keep them in line with my goals. I adapt and change as the community does too.  I have my ups and downs. My wins and fails.  But I keep pushing forward.  I have a (relatively) big vision, but for decision making I only tend to focus on the next 6-12 months.

You have been in the industry for a while

This means you know what you are talking about. You’ve been around long enough to perhaps prove that you like the industry you work in. You have studied your industry ongoing. You probably go that extra mile. You naturally want to learn more, constantly. You have gained trust with your community and peers for being genuine. You know when someone doesn’t know their stuff!

For me: I’ve been around testing for long enough to know what I’m talking about, understand the history of the industry and the people and have a good feeling of where I would like to take the software testing community next.  Being around long enough also means that I’ve developed relationships and have naturally proven that ‘I care’ to my network.  I’ve also put in significant effort into learning other skills to help me achieve what I want to (business, sales, marketing and web publishing).

You listen to people

You care what people say. You listen. You ponder. You take on board feedback. You respond. Appreciate and take action where appropriate. You change the rules if you can. You might collect what you hear formally or take a mental note of it. You let people know you are listening whether they are talking directly to you or not.

For me: I monitor the software testing world and community as closely as I can. I share stuff for the good of the community. I create things that I think are useful. I try my best to find a balance between the good of the community and being a business.  I get things wrong lots more than people realise (hindsight always proves to be the best learning lesson). I fix my mistakes if I can and keep trying and moving on.

You respond to people

Business is about people. If someone reaches out to you then you do your best to respond. They will probably always remember this. An email, a tweet, a photo or a blog post.  Whatever it is, you show you care by acknowledge the people that exist and their contribution that you value.

For me: I respond to tweets, emails and social media as best as I can. I respect people. I help them. I don’t automate my responses. There is no Rosie Robot here!

You try to make the right decisions

We all want to make the right decisions, but we are human and are prone to failure.  Also a right decision for one person can be a very wrong one for someone else. Ethos of honesty and openness will show you care.  The act of questioning what you are doing is built right into your daily life.

For me: There are the needs of the community, my business and myself to consider.  I think deeply about the needs of the community.  However, I also need to think about myself.  Once upon a time I put others before myself.  I think I’m quite a giving person.  But there comes a point where that can’t be the case. I believe that if I am personal happy, physically fit and financially stable then I will be in a much better position to make better decisions.

You want to do a good job over making the most money

All businesses sell something, but you are in it to in it to win  it for the long term (not short gain wins) whilst doing the best job possible. You have boundary. You have ethics. Crossing them can be deadly.

For me: If I want to achieve the change that I’m looking for then I need to say no to the norm. Which I often do. I won’t promote certain products. I won’t release content that is not in line with our ethos. I won’t spam the community. Etc.

You can say no

Saying no can be wonderful. It can give freedom. It provides clarity. You say yes to the things you care about, no to the things that distract and help you lose focus.  Saying no gives you the focus that you need to make you the best in your niche. You don’t need to be the best and win at everything.

For me: I’ve gotten better at saying no.  Sometimes for my own sanity.  Sometimes saying no means making the right decision (as mentioned above).  Often saying no means people don’t take advantage of me.

I care

I care and I try to show it. My business is growing and I love the work that I do.  That to me is a great start to a promising future.