I was speaking to a business owner friend recently on the topic of a small business expo he had recently attended. I innocently asked what he thought about it. He was not overly impressed.
While he found the keynote speakers interesting and the topics generally well suited to his needs, he was very disappointed with the calibre of businesses and individuals who had taken up space in the exhibition hall.
These exhibitors --- and there were a number of them --- were clearly there to promote and sell their wares. In most cases they were small business themselves, looking to forge new relationships and alliances. What I learned was that it was not so much the businesses and individuals that upset my colleague, but rather what they were selling and the unconvincing manner in which it was being done.
My friend drew a parallel between what he experienced in this business expo, compared to its country equivalent, a village produce market. As he put it:
"This event reminded me that we lack people who believe in what they're selling, rather than how much they sell. It brought home to me how much I miss seeing the pride in somebody's face when they sell you something. I miss seeing business people that remind me of the farmer's family at the market, showcasing the fruit of their labour with great pride!"
Surely it's always better to promote good work and beam with pride, than sell junk and gloat with mediocrity? Of course it is.
Loving your work is very good for business. It makes us attractive. People want to work with us, support us and generally help us prosper. But we cannot love our work unless we are genuinely proud of what we do and how we do it.
The minute we accept and peddle mediocrity, we risk undermining any good that we may be doing elsewhere. Thoughts? Comments? Fire away.