The Heart of Entrepreneurship
A Dharma Teaching by Grandmaster JinBodhi
Compilation by Ning Qi Yuan
Some entrepreneurs view the business world as a battlefield. They feel mentally and physically worn out after a prolonged period of time in business. In the process of making money, they lose their joy and peace. “Success” comes at too high a price.
A Genuine Heart
In order to hold on to peace, businesspeople must hold on to ethics. Entrepreneurs play an important role in advancing the world, but only if they combine creativity with a genuine wish to serve humanity and the planet.
If they have a sense of responsibility based on compassion, the inclination to improve the quality and safety of their products, the desire to build lasting relationships, and the humble wish to make the world a better place, entrepreneurs can experience success beyond their wildest imaginings. A truly compassionate entrepreneur makes others happy while at the same time earning well-deserved profits.
From Trust to Faith
Founders of a new brand of product need to break through a barrier. That is, to turn consumers’ unfamiliarity with the products or services into trust. This is a great hurdle yet crucial to accomplish. Many of the world’s greatest business people consider trustworthiness the most significant value.
When we buy an electrical appliance, do we buy the brand which we are most familiar with or the one which was recently launched? The majority of us would go for the familiar brandas there is a sense of security and ease.
The point is that newly launched brands have to offer quality and services at reasonable prices and above-and-beyond service in order to gain customers’ trust. When customers’ trust is rewarded with top-notch service and quality products, it will eventually turn into faith. To gain consumers’ confidence in your company’s products or services is an essential and tremendous achievement.
An entrepreneur who is trustworthy is also righteous, and is certainly passionate about their products. A trustworthy, virtuous business owner would never cheat people. Instead, they endeavor to give the best product to customers at the most reasonable price. This benefits the customers and also the people involved in the production and distribution processes. Secondly, great entrepreneurs never let thoughts of profit drive their every move. An obsession with making money may repel prosperity, pushing profits away.
Managing Gains and Losses
The level of our wisdom determines our perspective on the handling of matters. It is greed and ignorance that limit our wisdom. If we are greedy and obsessed with personal gain, our future will be fraught with troubles. A person blinded by greed may think of a situation as beneficial when in fact disaster lies in wait. Viewing gain and loss with wisdom is the key to realizing dreams in the business world. Developing loving-kindness and letting go of covetousness are essential to having a successful life and a successful business. It may seem foolish, but magnanimousness is a precious trait in business dealings.
Detach yourself from gain and loss. This wonderful state of mind is similar to what is described in The Heart Sutra: It is likened to a thing that is floating in the void, neither does it go up nor fall; neither does it move to the leftnor to the right; it is neither alive nor dead; neither is it very clean nor dirty. We need to learn to utilize this state of mind for self-restraint. When good or bad things happen, or when we are happy or distressed, we must remain balanced and free of greed in order to reflect on events with clarity and generosity of spirit.
Another good way of handling gains and losses is to put oneself out of the situation so as to look at issues from new perspectives. If a person considers a matter to be related to them, they will have views in terms of personal gains and losses. Their heart will be full of prejudice and personal interests. Hence, when good or bad things happen or when we are troubled, we should imagine ourselves to be out of the circumstance we are in. When we do so, we look beyond personal gains and interests. It is only after stepping outside of a situation that impartial and fair judgment can come about. Having reached a state of detachment, we will have the compassionate motivation and determination to solve any problems.
A Story of Success
A businessperson with compassion will become a true entrepreneur of the world. Using a gentle and kind approach to manage a business is usually the most effective way of leadership.
I have a disciple who was a farmer. He started a business selling vegetables in his village and now sells in the city. He has listened to my teachings and understands the philosophy of “giving is receiving” and “the more we give, the more we receive.” Hence, he sells vegetables at cheaper prices than other stalls and is always honest in all dealings.
When he started his business, there were many other stalls already selling vegetables. However, most of them resorted to tampering with the produce scale. For instance, when a customer asked for 500 grams of vegetables, she was given 400 grams. Many business owners employed trickery to save money.
Not only did my disciple start out selling his vegetables at low prices, he also provided exact quantity and complementary ingredients such as parsley, onions and ginger. As he earned trust from customers, his business boomed. Not long after he began, he had the capital to set up a storefront. Many years on, he is the proud owner of more than 300 stores.
When it comes to handling employees, many business owners would fire a worker whose performance is unsatisfactory. My disciple uses the opposite approach: He takes care of and treats his employees like his siblings. For foreign staff, he rents accommodation to house them. He also pays for them to return home twice a year. Each of his staff members receives an amount of money to be given as gifts for their parents and family.
Any staff member who has worked for him for more than a year and is getting married receives a monetary reward as a congratulatory present. Other benefits are offered for a decade of service. As there are numerous benefits provided by the company, each of his staff demonstrates their appreciation by taking their work seriously.
My disciple gained a team of dedicated employees due to his philosophy of giving more. They are willing to work for him earnestly and diligently, and provide the best service for their customers, even going to the extent of carrying the groceries to their customers’ vehicles.
In a letter to me, my disciple wrote, “When one makes decisions from a truly compassionate heart, one realizes that compassion transforms all into gold.”
When we act compassionately, the earth turns to gold. Entrepreneurs can change the world for the better. The best businesspeople are not those who count every penny, but those who make every decision from theirkind heart.