Monday, September 28, 2009

A Green Business Model

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For those of you who went to Sandiego.readlocal.org, you went to a site with little content and some broken links. I announced it before the world was ready to know about it. On the one hand, this is a blog and not CNN. On the other hand, anyone can see it. With that said, the site is up, so peruse it, but it’s not finished. It should be ready in just a few days.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my sister, who is about 6 years my sr. and therefore (in all of her wisdom) knows better than me. During lunch, she asked me about an e-zine that I helped launch (SDgreenlife.com). I told her that we had taken a hit a few months ago, in that our publisher left without notice, bringing another key member of our team with her. In business, that happens.

Now, after the loss of four of the six people one our team, me and one other person are attempting to rebuild. For anyone whose followed that, you know that we were down for a couple of months. My sister asked why those two had left, and I told her that in their charade of appearing green they merely wanted to use the title ‘green’ to find investors. She rolled her eyes, and said, ‘That’s how business is done.’ Well, perhaps. But last I checked good business was not about deceiving your partners.

Then, she asked me how we planned to create revenue and grow. I tried to explain our economic model, which includes a more organic method of creating an audience and revenue, rather than just relying on a few investors. Rather than listening and asking questions, she (don’t get me wrong I love her with all of my heart, but she has the listening skills of an ear of corn) insisted “that’s not green.” Of course, if she would’ve asked questions, I would have been more than happy to explain that that was our economic model not our green business model.

Our method of creating revenue was no more or less greener than trying to find investors; though, at the same time, Laura (my business partner) and I feel that our idea for creating a steady stream of revenue will allow us to generate a client base and an audience of readers at the same time.

Part of connecting with people, and my sister is a savvy business person (just not when it comes to communicating with her younger Brother), is listening and asking questions. Had she asked me if that was our green business model or our economic model, I would have been more than happy to explain to her that we intended to use it to generate revenue.

Today, I encourage you, whether it’s dealing with a business partner, a sibling, or your competitor, to listen. And when you don’t understand something or you want more information, rather than cutting that person off mid sentence, listen and then ask questions. Active listening requires the listener not to think about his or her next point. If it’s really that important, write it down. I find it helpful to not only look that person in the eyes, which I’ve discovered throws most people off, but to repeat word after word what they say to yourself.

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