Running a frugal business requires a lot of resources. Of course, there’s the obvious resource of money, but there are others that may be in ever shorter supply such as time, energy, knowledge or connections.
If you’re not careful, running any business can feel like you’re in a constant state of NEEDING SOMETHING. That’s where developing an Abundant Mindset can transform your business and your life. You have a great idea for a logo for your new business. Your first thought is, “Better grab it before someone steals it.” Or, you have written a great book and you don’t want anyone to steal your idea.
Remember Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol? Scrooge believed truly that someone was going to take away all his money. He trusted no one, and he found the world a cheerless place. Mr. Scrooge lived with a mindset of scarcity. This mindset says, “There’s not enough to go around.”
A mindset of abundance is the opposite of a mindset of scarcity. An abundance mindset says,
“There’s plenty to go around, and we can all share in it.”
You may have heard or read about the “principle of abundance;” lots of people have written and talked about it for centuries. In this book, the focus is on abundance as a mindset for dealing with others in business.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation says,
“An abundance mindset focuses…on the emergence of new opportunities and the creation of new options, which in turn leads to bigger thinking. With an abundance mindset, people ask “what if” and “why not?”
A wonderful current example of the principle of abundance is the Open Source movement, in which skilled technical people offer their services to create software that anyone can use for free, without restriction.
What a Scarcity Mindset Looks Like
If you operate your business from a mindset of scarcity,
- You are worried that someone is going to steal your great advertising slogan before you do
- You make all your employees sign non-competition agreements
- You go to extreme lengths to keep customers, sometimes using underhanded means.
Seeing the scarcity mindset in action is painful. I saw it often when I talked to young chiropractors setting up offices. They would work with an experienced doctor, then go out on their own. The doctors made them sign ridiculous non-compete agreements to keep the young doctors from practicing in the same area, out of the fear that “there aren’t enough patients to go around.”
Give up the scarcity mindset – there is enough of everything to go around.
Digital Rights Management and Abundance Mindset for Authors
Sometimes, in our zeal to protect our business, we go too far. A good example of this over-protectiveness is DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and it’s a device on e-books to keep someone from stealing the content and giving it to someone else. Many authors, concerned that someone will steal their book (scarcity mindset), want DRM on their e-books. But customers don’t like it, and it can lead to loss of sales.
Many authors (me included) are declining DRM (abundance mindset). Jane Friedman, book publishing guru, says, “I agree with those who argue that DRM is not reader- or consumer-friendly, and should not be used.”
In the Abundance Mindset – No Winners or Losers
Business is not a zero-sum game. In a zero-sum game, there are only winners and losers. The alternate business model, the better business model than the zero-sum game, is “everybody wins.” It’s what I call an abundance model, and it’s a mindset that will help you in your FRUGAL BUSINESS.
The opportunity to have an abundance mindset comes into our business lives in many ways every day.
In dealings with employees, we can decide that we have all the power and the money, and they should be grateful for a job. That’s the zero-sum I-win-you-lose game. Or you can use the abundance mindset of “We’re all in this together, so let’s make it great for everyone.”
In business negotiations, you can decide that getting your way is the only way to be. But, for a negotiation to work, it has to be a give-and-take proposition. At the end of the negotiation, as discussed above, each party must be equally uncomfortable.
If one party is clearly the winner, the other party will be resentful. This leads to all sorts of problems. It’s much easier to have an abundance mindset about negotiations.
In business competition, thinking abundance instead of winner-take-all can lead to all kinds of interesting cooperative arrangements and finding space for all competitors in the space allotted.
Are Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks Scarcity Mindset?
Certainly you have a right to protect your intellectual property – you created it and you want the benefit from it. Yes, do copyright, trademark, and patent as you go. And what if someone steals your idea? Consider carefully before you pursue someone. The only one who wins in these stressful, many-year legal wrangles are the attorneys. Just saying.
Why Develop an Abundance Mindset?
Why is this abundance mindset a Frugal Business Secret? Think of the time and energy, and, of course, money, it takes to win.
In a competitive situation, if you just relax, figure out your niche, and take your share of the pie, it will save you lots of hassle and stress, and make your business life a lot simpler.
In dealings with employees, being fair and reasonable might mean paying them a little more, but it can also give you benefits in increased productivity.
In negotiations, finding a reasonably comfortable/ uncomfortable place for both parties can mean fewer attorney hours, a shorter negotiation time, and more money for both parties at the end.
Abundance Thinking Saves Energy
Ashley Herzberger, in Productive Flourishing, says that when you have an abundance mindset, the energy you save on worrying
“gives you more time to create value, which increases trust and brand awareness, which makes sales even easier. Abundance begets abundance, with a lot less worry, complaining, head scratching, and hair pulling.”
In short, cultivating an abundance mindset can save you time and money, it can simplify your business, and it is less stressful, giving you more time to grow your Frugal Business.
Look over your business practices.
- Are you treating your employees with generosity, figuring that good will come back to you?
- Are you worried about your competitors? Can you find a way to make your niche more unique instead of being cut-throat?
- Are you treating your business as a gift instead of a right?
Work on your business, with a mindset that there’s enough of everything for everyone. You’ll be surprised how true it becomes.
Here’s to the success of your Frugal Business!