What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from a Candle


In the past, we’ve compared business to a bicycle. If there is no struggle, you’re going downhill. If things are rough, it’s because you’re going uphill. And if you stand still, you will fall

Another analogy is a candle. Business is like a candle in several ways:

A candle gives its fire and loses nothing. 

I’ve spoken about this countless times but people still don’t get it. Business is not a zero sum game. Just because I connect you to an investor and that investor then invests, you gain, the investor gains, and I lose zero. 

Yoi can absolutely help others win in business without losing a thing. In fact, if you’d ask me, I’d say to focus your energy on exactly that, helping others win. Ultimately, this will help you win. 

So just like a candle can give its fire and lose nothing, so too in business, you can give and not lose.  

If you don’t give your fire, you’ll eventually burn out.

I once told the above analogy to a friend who is a big name in the investment world and his response really resonated. Not only do you not lose something when helping others, but much like a candle, if you don’t spread your wisdom, your fire, you will eventually burn out. 

Now one can debate exactly how much to give away for free, but if you ask me, all of it. The money will come from other directions and not from monetizing your wisdom or content. 

The concept of being a giver versus a taker in business is paramount. 

Now I fully realize that candles serve many purposes but they have their maximum capacity at which point their fire goes out. Candles are generally not lit for the sole purpose of using that fire. It is usually about spreading the fire and creating more fire in the world. The same goes for business. Don’t keep your product under wraps. Don’t keep it a secret. Talk to people  gather information. Leave a legacy. Spread your fire, Thank me later.

The power of a candle is unique and powerful. 

Much like coffee, when you put a drop of milk in, it changes the whole color and texture. The same is true for candles. You can have a pitch black room, and a tiny little candle can illuminate the whole room. 

In business; never underestimate the little decisions because one decision, as trivial as you might think it is, can be the difference between your company dying or thriving. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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