Running a business on favors & Building business goodwill

Written by of on Jul 23 2013
business goodwill

I hesitated on writing this because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve been systematic in my business dealings. The only rules I follow are being honest and real. I don’t go out trying to make friends to get connections. I’m a naturally caring person who wants to see others succeed, and having this attitude has helped me in business.

Favors, Getting Favors and Giving Favors

“Favors” is a weird word. It sounds very mafia-like, very taboo, but it’s a real thing. It is similar to taboo words like “popularity” and “notoriety.” “Favor” is a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc.

What can a favor look like?

Examples of requested favors (in our current startup business landscape) + Hey, can you RT this for me? + Do you know any designers that need a job? + I’m looking for work, can you tell a few people? + Can you introduce me to XXXX person? + Can you vote this up on Hacker News?

Who needs favors?

Everyone needs a favor. Especially when you have no money or marketing budget. Favors, connections, and friendships seem to drives business, at least for us it has. I need favors, I need help with marketing with our accounting software, getting mentioned on podcasts, blog posts, and all that stuff. I need favors.

Who receives favors and builds business goodwill?

The people that let us know they need favors are the people that get favors. Not all people get favors when they ask, only people that deserve them. Read on.

Who deserves a favor?

As Jon Crawford puts it, “Be a person others want to root for.” When you’re a person that people want to help, they’ll help you.

How do you become a person people root for?

By not being an asshole. By being a person people care about, by showing a little of your personality, and by caring about others.

Building up business goodwill (favor) points

I’m making a joke about points, but in reality you’ll notice if someone has been super “good” to you and down the road they might be more likely to help them when called upon.

The flip side is you might be able to call in a favor if you’re the type of person that helps others, or someone so freak’n cool people just want to do nice things for you. I’m not that cool, so I end up helping others.

Here are a few ways:

  • Reading an article and realizing one of your friends should comment on it because it’s complimentary to their product offering. Emailing that friend and noting the opportunity for them.
  • Introducing an event organizer to a possible speaker.
  • An introduction to anyone that could better your business.
  • Picking up a dinner tab.
  • Helping someone get a job.
  • Helping someone find and hire a new employee or contractor.

You’ll notice yourself being on the lookout to spot opportunities for the people around you. Helping others as much as you help yourself will result in building goodwill to the people around you.

When you conduct business with the mindset of helping others, people will want to help you in return. The more favors you do, the more favors you’ll get. Be the person others mention in their success stories.


Hi I'm Allan,

I wrote the article you're reading... I'm one of the co-founders of LessEverything. I love my family more than breathing and I love creating videos about our family adventures.

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