People never forget how you made them feel.
Some of the best businesses in the world have been built by entrepreneurs who understood the power in this quote. We never forget a feeling.
Howard Schultz once described being sent to Italy on a trip for Starbucks and having an epiphany that Starbucks was in the wrong business. He realised that they had to stop selling coffee and start selling the experience of coffee. “I walked in and saw this symphony of activity, and the romance and the theatre of coffee. And coffee being the centre of conversation, creating a sense of community. That is what spoke to me.” Starbucks’ success came from Schultz’s focus on how people feel when they enter a store. People started to feel part of a community and part of a conversation.
Steve Jobs once said “We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” Jobs didn’t understand the technology, he understood the customer experience. “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology”. His focus on simplicity and form was all about creating a symbiosis between the device and the user that was almost peaceful or zen-like. It was about creating a feeling for the user that no other device had done before. And that feeling runs through everything Apple does – think about what you feel when you walk into an Apple store.
Richard Branson is another. He has built his empire by a relentless focus on customer service because he understood, early on, that people never forget how you make them feel.
Liberty Wealth is all about helping people with their money. My question to you is, ‘how do you feel about your money?’.
A little stressed, a little anxious?
Study after study show that money is one of (if not THE) the most stressful factors in life.
It seems to me that people go about life with a continual low-level of anxiety about money. It’s always there. The fascinating thing is that it’s not related to how much money we have. Many of my clients have made their own (significant) wealth and tell me that they stress more about money now than they did when they had none. The stresses are different now, but they are still there.
How do we change the feeling?
Unfortunately, my industry has placed too much emphasis on calculators, spreadsheets and Monte Carlo simulations. Although these are part of the toolkit, they are only the top layer. The bottom of the tool-kit is where the real power lies.
Here are my three key feelings we need to be cultivating when it comes to our money.
Feel in control.
A huge part of being in control is knowing how much money is coming in and where it is going. This is not about budgeting, but about awareness. In my experience, the more income people have, the less awareness they seem to have, which increases stress. I use a simple forward-looking system that moves people from the feeling ‘I have no idea where my money goes’ to ‘I know that everything is being taken care of’. Budgets are about deprivation, this system is about liberation. Which feeling do you want?
Louis Pasteur, the famous chemist, said ‘Chance favors the prepared mind’. Because we can never know what will happen next, we have to foster a prepared mind. There are two main areas of our money life where this mindset is critical. One is retirement and the other is death. One way or another both are going to happen (very few people can physically or mentally work until their last day on this earth, even if that is the plan). Most people understand that they need to prepare for retirement (even if they are still procrastinating), but few people have thought through what would happen to the people they love if they got knocked over by a bus tomorrow.
A friend of mine from the UK works with an advisor there and described to me the feeling he has when he gets on a plane knowing that if it goes down, everyone in his family would be taken care of and never wanting for anything. That feeling is a prepared mind.
A prepared mind means that we can deal with whatever life throws at us because we have taken care of everything that is within our control.
Feel comfortable being uncomfortable.
No one became great by staying in their comfort zone. Whether it is moving jobs, public speaking or setting up a business, we have to experience discomfort to make progress. Investing is no different. Cash is comfortable. Good investing is uncomfortable. It has to be uncomfortable.
Knowing and understanding that from the outset helps, but it still doesn’t stop us wanting to flee when the pain gets too bad. If we can turn the pain into a positive signal, maintain a sense of control over it, or simply shut it out all together (simply: don’t log on) then we can embody the old maxim ‘volatility is your friend’. At times like this, always remember that the volatility gives you the return. We, patient long-term investors, earn our return in choppy waters.
So as we come to the end of 2018, think about how you want to feel about your money next year. Think about the experience you want to have.
Maybe you don’t know yet how it feels, but you know you want it to be different.
Call me, email me, book in to see me. I always offer a coffee and a second opinion.