Well it’s been awhile. I would like to say I’ve been putting a focus on my business activities and doing something really intense. Unfortunately (for this blog perhaps), I’ve actually just been an idle layabout in Bermuda, Belgium and Britain from Christmas to April. One of my business associates made me feel better by saying if I was making a blog entry every day I wouldn’t have time to be out generating the experience of what I’m writing about. Maybe it is disparaging to journalists to say they spend their time making commentary about what someone else is doing… or, in other words, living by remote sensing if you will. I’ll let you sort out the philosophy of why I haven’t been posting in a while.
So to the subject of this post… I did go back to my consulting business at the beginning of May with the consequence of heads-down “experience gathering” since then. During a time of intensity, not only are my regular business activities confined but my philanthropic endeavours get curtailed. I am a firm believer in the adage “What goes around – comes around.” My interpretation of that is whatever, action, thought, or image you portray or send out is a mirror image of what other people will send back to you. We’ve all heard the analogy of a smile. You can try it yourself by walking around your own office or facility with a smile and people will smile back at you. It is human nature and we all respond the same way.
Of course, extending it to business or financial activity is a bit harder to prove. I see conventional operators in a recession who are cutting costs to the point of penny pinching. In fact, you could say some get downright cheap. They forestall advertising and marketing campaign and especially philanthropy. I am not a religious person, as you may know, but it has to be almost a religious belief for this to work. On a number of occasions when I have been financially challenged, I have done some generous financial things for people. And I have done it with conviction. And in all cases, I end up getting relief from unexpected quarters for my own financial challenges. There are a number of motivational speakers and organizations that try to explain and encourage this magical concept. I don’t try to explain it, I just have a pragmatic knowledge that it works for me.
So for those sceptics out there that want to have feet firmly planted in both camps, here is a compromise solution. You can be generous without breaking the bank. I can’t call it unconventional thinking but you will feel good regardless!
The concept is not new; it is micro-credit loans to the third world. There is an organization called Kiva to which I was introduced about a year ago. You get to make donations to small business people who are struggling to get going under harsh circumstances. This particular site is very well done. You get to read about and select the candidate to whom you want to make a loan. These loans are made up from $25. Now many of us are crying about the problems we have as a small business person in the industrialized world. I will tell you, a quick look though the list of thousands of potential borrowers and you will feel like a rich and famous entrepreneur.
It is particularly gratifying to make loans to other businesspeople and help others along their entrepreneurial journey. I prefer groups of people to individuals as I like the idea of collaboration. I also prefer women to men as they seem to be more innovative with their objectives. I like to see ideas that have potential to grow as business; buying assets rather than retail stock. Naturally, those are just my preferences and there are plenty from which to choose.
Check out my member page on Kiva and have a look at the stellar repayment performance of these loans for me. While the loans are overseen by Kiva (a San Francisco enterprise), they are administered locally by lending organizations in the particular countries.
The terms for most of these loans are about a year or so. As the money is repaid, you get to loan it out again. Whenever my account gets to $25 in repayments I make another loan. Many times I add enough additional cash to make up a second new loan, so my loan portfolio grows. It makes you feel good inside.
You’ll just have trust me that being generous and helpful to less fortunate entrepreneurs will result in positive benefits for you; financial and otherwise. What you send going around truly does come back around to you!