When trading favors, people often prefer bartering favors than receiving/giving money for favors. This is because people find monetary exchange repugnant, as it masks a certain benevolent act as a malleable one. For example, you own a restaurant in New Jersey. A friend of yours visits you from Queens. You let him eat for free hoping that he would spread a good word about your establishment when he goes back to Queens. This is the economy of favors – gestures, services, and acts with the implicit expectation of reciprocity, which has been the driving force of business in most cultures for centuries. Here is an entrepreneur’s guide on how to be a part of the favor economy.
Favor economy works on two principles -
Ask for help when you need it
Economy of Favors is when creators tend to help each other. They see that there is enough good in the world for all creators, so they can afford to share. Take for example, abundance. When we assume there is abundance, we create space in our lives to help each other. We get to enjoy the benefits of helping others, we get the satisfaction of seeing the whole picture, rather than just our small part of it. Helping each other makes business sense. You give help - you can offer it. You need help - you ask for it. Business goes in a cycle like this.
Innovation experts Martin Amor and Alex Pellew in their book The Idea In You, offer practical tips on how you too can be a part of the economy of favors -
OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT: Offering someone encouragement requires no experience. All it takes is the generosity of spirit and a few kind words. It’s simple but powerful stuff.
OFFER YOUR TIME: You may not have the relevant experience to offer, you sure can offer them a helping hand. Being there for someone when they need it most in the journey, where it is to mentor someone you think you can help, to stamp on envelopes. This is will create momentum in the favor economy.
OFFER YOUR SKILLS: What have you got? Customer service expertise? Social media expertise? You have plenty to offer – share it. The internet is a great place to do this if you prefer staying at home.
SHARE YOUR STORY: Stories help people. Share your hard-won stories with other people – at events, webinars, and conferences. It’s good for businesses too – people get to know more about you and your business.
The economy of favors goes against the notion that business is competition. And that the world is divided into winners and losers - to get your bold share, you need to be smarter or bolder than the other guy. For example, if there is a limited number of customers available – you need to fight other companies to win. If you keep seeing the world this way, you will resist helping other business.