Having grown up in a large family it was not often that I would get the opportunity to eat candy, cookies, cakes or pies. The only time that sweets were in the house was for birthdays and holidays and even then there would only be a small serving for each of us. I learned at a very early age not to complain about the portion I received as my mom had no tolerance for arguing amongst my brothers and sisters. An example of this is when I compared my piece of pie to my older brother’s piece and exclaimed that it wasn’t fair that his piece was larger than mine. My brother, of course, quickly retorted that his wasn’t any larger. An argument ensued. Mom quickly stepped in, took both plated pieces of pie and sent my brother and me to our rooms for the remainder of the evening. The next morning I came downstairs for breakfast and asked my mom where my piece of pie was. She stated that it was gone and that I should think about that the next time I wanted to argue about the size of my piece of pie. She went on to say that a small piece of pie was better than no pie at all.
This lesson is something that made a great impression on me and while as a child I didn’t know that my mom was just quoting a saying that had been around for some time, as I grew older I heard the saying repeatedly. Today I think about the saying when considering things in both my personal and professional life. I think it is probably human nature to want more for ourselves and our family and it takes great restraint not to act upon that impulse. For me, recognizing that I’d rather have some than none makes it much easier to settle for less.
My real estate business offers a wide variety of services which are needed by people who rent, own or manage commercial property. These services are similar to the services that other real estate firms offer and only differ in the way they are delivered. I, of course, feel that I deliver a superior product to the market than my competition. While I would like the opportunity to provide my services to everybody who has need of them I know that I would not be able to provide those services and maintain quality if I were to win everybody’s business. In this case a piece of the pie is better than the whole pie.
Early in my business career I learned that it was not possible, or for that matter practical, to offer all of the services that my customers needed. At times my customers required services that were either outside my areas of expertise or areas of interest and in those rare cases I was happy to refer them to other businesses that I felt would provide those services at a high level of quality. As I sourced out service providers to place on an approved vendor list it became clear that not all businesses thought the way I do. They were reluctant to discuss their services with me and saw me only as competition rather than a source of referrals. I began to realize that they wanted all the pie, just not a piece.
Today I continue to build business relationships through networking and have expanded my approved vendor list considerably. I’ve included an approved vendor list on my company’s website and am proud of the accessibility I provide my clients. While I realize that my competition also has access to my vendors through this list it doesn’t bother me. I’m not worried about my competition improving their level of service by utilizing my vendors and tightening the competition for business with me. I will promote my business to prospects and they will promote theirs. Sometimes I will win a contract and other times I will not. That’s okay, I’d rather have a small piece of the pie rather than none at all.