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Caring As A Business Strategy: A Culture of Connection

When people know you care, it elevates all the work you do.

While it may take time, caring provides direction not just for you, but for everyone who joins in

There is a saying from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, ‘no one cares about what you know, until they know you care.’ That has stood the test of time.

No one asks us to care. You can make money, do well and have a successful business, telling people to be more like you, but if that’s the only direction, it can become an empty existence.

Over time, people pay attention to the people who care. For your side, it means you produce the work that matters and you keep going instead of what you can take from the short term.

All business is personal, so you have to care about the people around you.

Where This Started

I am giving full credit here to Rosie Sherry. 

Rosie leaned into this aspect of caring during her presentation at YATM Creator Day. Rosie says, ‘An audience can turn into a community if it is treated with care. Without the care, it won’t.’

What I am sharing with you is based on when we care more, in turn, it helps our work stand out against and be seen in its own space.

It just means that you have to give a bit more heart and spirit than what else is out there.

The biggest part to acknowledge is that it takes effort over money.

Rosie even shared a slide where ‘care’ took centre stage.

From My Side 

When you start it’s lonely. 

When I began You Are The Media back in 2013, for the first couple of years, it was me trying my hardest to be heard. Over the years, I realise that the hardest part is to get other people to buy into an idea. YATM is not about SEO, or advertising, or social media, or AI, it’s about feeling empowered when you have people on your side. People just needed to see the proof.

When people started to booked for events since 2016, it meant the world. I know what it means to cancel events based on lack of interest.

Where I am today, that sense of appreciation is not taken for granted. I know where YATM began, it was quiet, it was a slog, it was draining (I probably spent far too much time on it). Where YATM is heading means there was a start to be thankful for.

At last weeks YATM Creator Day, I made sure I said, ‘thank you’ to as many people as I could. It was hard when delivering an event with 200 people in attendance, but that is what I mean by caring. It’s by other people acknowledging that they were not just paying to sit and learn, they were part of something that has taken years to build.

This is what I mean, to care, takes effort, but when people acknowledge, it means the dialogue and future commitment is easier from others.

To care gives you a place to look back on and a direction where you want to go. It’s where people know you have put your neck on the line, spent time and haven’t taken the easy route. More importantly, they can feel a part of the whole experience too.

It makes me realise now, that it is all the small things you slowly add up, that contribute to the bigger picture. Over the years, I have deleted the entire email database, formats of events didn’t work (our hybrid events nosedived), events have turned into chaos, people have walked out, events have had to be cancelled. It’s by having the guts to be open and honest, with you and everyone else that allows people to interpret the effort you make.

When people can see the effort, you create a culture that cares.

How You Can Reframe Your Side 

For people to know you care, it’s essential to showcase responsibility beyond tactics and how frequently you post. 

It can start off barren and you may feel unrewarded, but taking as much as you can, from anyone, in a short space of time is never the goal. Caring becomes the opportunity to make a difference, to shape progression, change the agenda and make decisions that matter where where others can contribute.

Here’s how you can do it, evolving from self-promotion to genuine connection: 

Share Knowledge Generously 

Offer your expertise by teaching and mentoring others, whether it’s through the time you give at schools or universities, or sharing your experiences and insights on your blog or website.

By giving back, you demonstrate a commitment that it isn’t just about leaning into your products and services but ideas for people to think about and ways they can join in. For instance, I found giving time to the Young Enterprise initiative, helped develop my skills of working with young adults.

Be More You

You have to let go of the polished version of yourself, where you want other people to buy into you and buy from you. I tried it, two versions of yourself is energy sapping. Identify how you can share your stories and recognise that the challenges and setbacks you encountered where there to help guide you.

Being open fosters genuine connections and shows that you’re relatable and real. 

Exhibit What You Now Know

Instead of hoarding knowledge, openly showcase your problem-solving skills and expertise. Even better, if you have encountered tricky situations yourself, show your scribbles and how you manouvered in front of people. Sharing how you figured it all out and delivered in your voice, not only establishes your credibility but also encourages collaboration and learning within your audience (and industry).

Embrace Continuous Learning 

You don’t have to stay in your lane, it helps to be broader about taking and learning from different industries. For instance, in the past 12 months my learning has been down a part of human behaviour and entertainment.

This means you are continuously expanding your skill set and revisiting existing ones. By staying curious and open-minded, you not only enhance your own capabilities but also inspire others to take ideas on too. Even better, you learn on behalf of other people to shape their experience.

Empower Other People 

For people to care, they have to buy into your values, your energy and your vision. When they do, you can offer them opportunities to participate. It is the willingness to hand status to others, that helps their efforts to be seen and help them to achieve what they wanted.

It could be a platform to share with an audience, it could be to build confidence. It also means that people start to care for each other. Read this article on community leadership.

Always Show The Proof 

It is easy to regurgitate what has already been said, but if you can demonstrate through your own world view, it helps. You have to back up your claims with real-world examples and data. Whether you’re advocating for a particular strategy or approach where you could see the benefit, the tangible evidence you provide can make a difference.

The answer doesn’t always have to be massive growth and showing a chart that always shows a line going to the top right, the small steps matter too.

Cultivate And Work At A Distinctive Voice 

Injection personality (even if you find yourself more of an introverted person) and conviction in the work you create.

It matters to be bold in expressing your opinions and perspectives when you step forward with what you believe in, and don’t shy away from taking a stance on relevant issues. A clear and believable voice resonates with people.

Let’s Round-Up

To care, over time, becomes your difference.

When you create work that matters for other people, they notice. If a goal was always about scale, then care can take a back seat. You have to create the culture that is fitting for the right people.

It’s not about learning a skillset, it’s about the mindset you apply. 

Meaningful outcomes often come with initial challenges, and those who genuinely invest care and effort may not receive immediate recognition from those who focus solely on popularity and reach. This absence of early validation becomes the driver for future efforts. 

Caring isn’t just a differentiator—it’s the heart and drive of lasting success.

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