The Simple Power of a Favor

December 18, 2019 - Max Osbon (3 mins to read)

Favors are magic. They solve problems and open doors. They demonstrate loyalty and interest. They strengthen relationships. Simple favors can mean so much for the receiver, but they can also pay huge dividends for the sender.

Earlier this year a friend of mine, Alyssa O’Toole, a local entrepreneur who runs Musicians Playground, asked me to take a look into her business to see what can be improved. We identified the optimal customer relationship, separated fixed and variable costs, checked the ROI on marketing efforts, defined the crucial metrics (KPIs), and set realistic targets for growth. It didn’t take much time and it’s not exactly rocket science, but a different set of eyes and fresh take can make a huge difference.

What is a favor?
Favors are all about going above and beyond without anything expected in return. A favor makes a strong and clear statement: Our relationship is important to me. I’m on your side. It makes me happy to help you.

Favors: the next generation of networking
Think about how many business cards you have exchanged with others throughout your career. Chances are you never heard from most of those people, and never did anything with the cards that you collected. Instead of giving out cards, consider giving out favors. Do something nice for people you meet – share a contact, lend your expertise, offer an idea.

Don’t worry about keeping score. Some favors will be returned. Others will not. But if you consistently share a little time or energy – even the name of an honest mechanic – you’re sure to be rewarded, maybe months or years later.

Favor based activity

  • Sending an email on someone’s behalf takes just a few minutes but could make all the difference for her next big business deal. It’s something that will be remembered and appreciated. It may even lead to a returned favor somewhere down the road.
  • Lending tools for a DIY project is another example. Or introduce a jobseeker to someone ready to hire. Or send a copy of an inspirational book. It doesn’t matter what it is; these small offerings can make a big impression.

Favors are a severely under-appreciated form of transaction. Where money is cold, a favor is warm, thoughtful and unique. Money is only worth the number stamped on the bill; a favor can have unlimited value.

More than money
At Osbon Capital, we’re in the money business and appreciate all it can do, but we’re also huge believers in doing favors. We welcome the opportunity to do something for people we know and those we meet. It’s a good feeling for us, and the favors always seem to come back to us…many times over.

So do yourself a favor – make a habit of doing favors for others.

(I’ve been a customer of Musicians Playground since April ’19 and this Summer I played piano at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival to a piece choreographed and danced by my wife Rachel.)

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