Why Intelligent Self-Interest is Important to Your Success

What is Your Intelligent Self-Interest?

Intelligent self-interest is defined as choosing what the most important to you with the intent to take action. Let us explore how this concept applies to business.

Many small business owners try to be all things to all people. They do not understand the power of focus. Successful people know they have a limited amount of time, energy, and money and they stay hyper focused on actions that will help them implement their intelligent self-interest (ISI). They ask themselves if a specific action is taking them closer to their ISI. If not, they ask themselves why they are doing it. If it not something that is taking them closer to their ISI, but it needs to be done, they delegate it or do it after hours (i.e., payroll, filling, email, etc.) If it not necessary, they stop doing it.

Making these decisions can be difficult but these decisions are essential for success.

ISI is documented in detail on my book Nine Principles for Inspired Action: A New & Targeted Perspective (www.amazon.com). ISI was identified after studying over 500 successful small business owners and what they did to be success. I have tested this principle with my client and the clients who embrace this concept have achieved great results. An example will help. I have one client that owned a three million dollar business and he was in 11 different markets, none of them were being served effectively. We asked him to pull back to one market and become the expert in his niche. His fear of leaving opportunities on the table in the other markets would not allow him to commit to just one market. We were successful in pulling him back to two markets. His thinking changed when he realized how much easier life was working just two markets. He had more time. He could go deep into his primary market. He implemented new tools that allowed him to sell his products oversea using the Internet. In a very short time his bottom line improved.

Here is a second example. I working with a client right now and he is absolutely brilliant, but he doesn’t any focus. We have a 30 minute accountability call weekly. In the last 12 weeks we have been working together he has presented 14 new ideas to me, without really taking action on what he really wants to do. Being brilliant is both a blessing and curse. Being brilliant allows him to see things that others don’t see, to engage possibilities that others to see. But it also has a downside. This downside is that it is hard to stay focused. He has finally settled on his ISI and started taking action. The peace of mind he is experiencing has been worth the pain of getting focused.

The more focused on your ISI the easier it is for your customers understand when to buy your products and services, for your employees to understand their role is in the organization, for your referral partners to know when to give your referral. It makes it very easier for people to do business with you because they know what you do and what your business stands for.

As a business owner, you have to decide your ISI, how your ISI applies to your business and how your business will create a value proposition that will serve the market. If you’re selling on low price, your business model must focus on efficiencies. If you business proposition is value and higher prices, you must define this so others can easily understand. Ask yourself: Why is my service (value) better than my competitor’s service (value)? Why would they buy my product? If you cannot answer these questions, how can you explain your advantages to your customers?

Do not try to answer this question alone. Ask your customers. They will tell you why they bought from you. Ask others why they did not buy from you. You will be totally surprised by what you learn.

Intelligent self-interest helps understand why you’re in business and the value you provide for your customers. It helps you understand what you as a business owner want from your business. The answer to these two questions should drive your behavior. If helps you get clear on the legacy that you want leave behind as your organization grows. It helps you understand what kind of employees would be successful in your organization. It helps you understand what kind of customer value and thrive on your products and services.

ISI gives you permission to say no. If someone asks you to do something not consistent with your ISI, say no. ISI gives you permission to change your thinking. ISI gives you an opportunity to clearly ask others for help. ISI is you business compass and it can be your life’s GPS if you let it.

To your success,
Ron Finklestein

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