One of the most memorable Christmas movies of all time is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring the incomparable Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It’s the ultimate feel-good movie, perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered if their life holds meaning.
Here’s the lowdown: George Bailey, played by Stewart, is on the verge of collapse. His small building and load company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the mean rich man in town is poised to swoop in, and though he has a house full of adorable kids and a gorgeous wife (Reed), there’s never enough money to go around. George decides his family and business would be better off without him. On the brink of suicide, he’s saved by a fledgling angel, Clarence.
Clarence goes on to show George what his life would be like if he’d never existed, and the sight ain’t pretty. By seeing all the people he’s touched, George realizes that he has created a strong network of love and support – he’s created a tribe. And it’s this tribe that pulls together at the end of the movie to give back to George, helping him out of his current difficulties.
The lesson to you should be obvious: Your tribe can, quite literally, save your life. You should be building not only a viable business, but a community – one that supports and cares for each other. If you’re just out to make a buck, don’t be surprised if no one leaps to defend you or lend you a helping hand when things go bad. And they will go bad.
You can get “slapped” by Google. You can get your PayPal account frozen. You can get brought up on charges by the FTC. You can get hacked, robbed, or plagiarized. It happens.
But if you have friends like George’s, you’ll have a whole team of folks on your side. But one thing to remember: George had friends he’d created just by being a good guy, doing the right thing at the right time, not worrying about what was in it for him. He stood up for what was right and shook hand after hand, even when it cost him personally.
He didn’t build this community by selling junk or automating his Twitter feed or spamming everyone. He did it the old fashioned way: By caring.
Some business techniques never go out of style.