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I gave a talk last week about the dangers of misplaced, unwise generosity. I talked about the consequences to organizations, service providers, even non-profit mission-based organizations of being unwisely generous, something I’ve written about here in “Six signs that you’re misplacing your generosity with clients“.
Just a few of these consequences of misplaced, unwise generosity are:
- Losing money on jobs and contracts
- Wasting time and energy
- Dealing with the annoyance of ungrateful clients
- Feeling taken advantage of
- Filing, or having to respond to, lawsuits
- Fielding referrals to clients you don’t want
But, you might be thinking, I value being generous. Generosity is a valuable, worthwhile human impulse.
Of course, you’re right. Generosity is a good trait in human beings, good for those we’re generous to, and good for our own souls.
In business, you should be generous wisely. The best way to do that is to create a policy for you you’ll be generous to. Decide:
- Who you’ll be generous towards
- How you’ll be generous
- Circumstances under which you’ll be generous
For example, let’s say your business connects homeowners with contractors, remodelers, etc. You might decide you’ll be generous towards people of color who’ve just bought a home, you’ll give them six months of free membership, and you’ll do it for people of color who are buying their first home.
As another example, if you’re a massage therapist. You might decide you’ll be generous towards senior citizens on social security, you’ll give them three free massage therapy appointments, you’ll go to their residence, and you’ll do it when they’re recovering from an operation such as a hip replacement.
For a third another, to take my own business coach, Mari Geasair. She’s started several small businesses, and she’s been a small-business coach for many years. She’s also a director and actor, so she gives a 10% discount on her monthly coaching fees to theater professionals.
Once you create your policy, stick with it. That’s your outlet for your natural generosity, and it’s a wise way to be generous.
Photo credit: © 2006 John Dee, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.