Extreme Entrepreneur and visionary Peter Sage on how to add value to your business partners instead of just relying on money

Are you saying that money is not necessary to do business?

Peter Sage: The problem is, that most people misconceptualise money. If we peel back that conceptualisation for a second, we start to understand that all money is, and will ever be, a byproduct or a consequence of adding value to something and then using money as a way of measuring that value as part of an exchange system that we can benchmark. That’s it. So if you´re chasing the feedback without giving something to the system, you fall into the common belief that most people have which is: I don´t have the money to do that, therefore I can’t.
But the reason you don’t have the money is because you haven’t added the value first! Instead, by thinking of how you can add the value, you can bypass the need for money. You just have to start thinking what do I bring to the table?

Do you have an example?

Peter Sage: I was asked by a friend, who is a flower seller, to lend him 20.000 pound to buy the business of a retiring flower seller at the other end of town. The bank didn´t want to lend it to him because there is no security in the market stall. But if he had both stalls he´d corner the market – he just needed the money.
By thinking of who would benefit from this deal we found out it wasn´t only him, the retiring stall seller and the customers who would benefit but also his supplier whose revenues he would double, if he owned both stalls. So he went to his supplier and told him that he could double the yearly revenues coming from my friends business. That he would sell him the exclusive right to supply him for 5.000 pound – worth a lot more to the flower supplier. He offered the old man to pay 25.000 pounds instead of 20.000, but over a period of 12 months with a 5.000 pound deposit right away. If he put the 20.000 in the bank he would never make 25% interest. So without money my friend bought a shop by adding value to all partners in the deal.

What if I can´t add value?

Peter Sage: It doesn’t even have to be you. You just have to think: If I can´t offer it, then who could offer it and what can I offer them? Then you can probably add value. You just have to open up your right brain, which is the area of creativity – your imagination. Your left brain says I don´t have money so I can´t make the deal – and most people stick to their left brain because traditionally we used to only work on things we can measure. You take a test in physics, math or english you can measure how well you do. If you take a test in imagination how do you score that? – You don´t. So it’s not part of the curriculum.

What is enlightened entrepreneurship?

Peter Sage: Although the barrier to start a business has dropped a lot of people don´t get into entrepreneurship as an expression of their passion. They are getting into it as an alternative solution to the mundane level of frustration they experience. The problem is, if you get into it at that level, you carry that negative energy with you. You can’t put muddy water into clean water and expect it to be clean. Enlightened entrepreneurship is about understanding what real entrepreneurship is about.

What is real entrepreneurship about?

Peter Sage: It’s about creating something that adds value at a higher scale. It´s about an expression of a journey of who you are so that you become more as a result of that journey. And not about the money or coming up with an idea of something you think people would want to buy. It´s all about having a sense of ‘Why am I doing this?. I’m here to serve, I´m a child of the greater good, I’m here to fit in a giant machine of grace that allows us to get to touch the whys of other people in a way that they recognize and then offer a level of value that we happen to call money’. In short, it´s giving your gift at the highest level.

What would cause us to realize our full potential?

Peter Sage: We are capable of anything. Are you capable of greatness? Of course – We were born a miracle. When you look at the biology of being born, we are all winners. We were born with a gold medal, we just grew up and forget to keep polishing it. So we buy into the opinion of others and then we play small in case we get rejected to avoid the fear that we are not good enough.
One of the first things we have to do is:

Stop swimming in GOOP! – the Good Opinion of Other People.

If we swim in GOOP we will always be on the back foot. We will always be filtering our behaviors through how do we act in a way to get approval. How do we act in a way that will give us significance. Always externally validating ourselves through the eyes of other people – and not realizing that the reality is that nobody really cares about you enough to bother to have an opinion!
Why? Simple, that´s because everyone is a star in their own movie. As a result of that we forget that by definition everybody else is a film extra in our movie. We think they see us as a star in our movie whereas in reality we are just a film extra in their movie and they are the ones thinking that we see them as a star in their movie. It’s quite hilarious the mismatch of what is actually going on compared to what people think is going on. So, the main priority for people wanting to become more enlightened as entrepreneurs is simple: Stop swimming in GOOP – unhook from the good opinion of other people. Be willing to do what’s right.

So what is right?

Peter Sage: Right is subjective. The truth is subjective.

There is no truth. Get over it.

If you want to be daring you cannot conform to what you think other people’s truth is, OR their opinion of yours.
What is the Ultimate Truth? I’m happy to share this because people have followed gurus around the mountains, meditated twenty years and sat at the feet of the greatest philosophers in history trying to answer this question: What Is The Truth?
Well, I´ll answer it today for you free of charge:
The truth is we don´t know the damned truth! – case closed.

Ok, but what now?

Peter Sage: The only thing we can do, is get close enough to our own truth so that we can get close enough to the real truth with a capital T. That will give us practical value and a dimension of depth to our live. That´s all we can do. Do we really know why we are here? No. Not because we are not smart. It´s just because our base is not big enough. Like a hen cannot conceptualize the poultry farm it sits in.

How did you come to find your truth?

Peter Sage: I´ve gone through my level of my emotional and spiritual maturity and I probably had further to go than most. I was a complete idiot in my twenties. I was egocentric, I was not a nice kind of person. Most of that wasn´t because who we are at our core isn´t beautiful – because everybody is.
The effort that we are undergoing to cover up the insecurities of not being willing to show that we are not this good or that we think that we are failing or that we are afraid of not being enough cause us in reaction to that to do a lot of mean things or act very selfishly. It´s a protective behavior whether you´re Mr. Angry or Mr. Shy – it doesn´t matter.

They are all defense mechanisms for avoiding the fear that we are not enough.

So, as a kid I had my fair share of insecurities but one thing that really made a difference for me was the fact that I got exposed to personal development when I was seventeen. I was frustrated at school. I´m not very clever, I´m not an academic guy. I couldn´t work out algebra or the periodic table or other weird stuff that they wanted me to learn.
But when I came across personal development, I thought: ‘Hang on! You mean there is an industry that teaches you how to be successful and happy, wealthy and fulfilled?
Where was that class at school? Why am I taking chemistry so that I can learn something to get a certificate to hang on the wall to get me a better job so that I can earn more money so that I can be happy and successful and fulfilled one day?`
Why don´t I skip a the chemistry crap and go straight to the part which teaches me how to be happy and successful and fulfilled?
Makes sense?
So with this thought I became a voracious learner. Every night when my friends from school were at the local bar drinking the same drinks, sitting in the same seats, talking to the same people, having the same jobs – I was in my bedroom with a set of headphones and a cassette tape player listening to people whose lives had meant something.
People who had gone through adversity and came out the other side. People who had taken the time to study successful people and documented what it is they had noticed, what are the clues that were left.
One thing I´m blessed about and what´s really shaped me as the person who I am has been my commitment to constantly wanting to study something new.
And if it doesn´t fit, I simply don´t need to wear it.
But if somebody spent a lifetime going through adversity and leaving a legacy and creating a thumbprint on humanity in a way that transcends the greater good and then sums up his entire life’s lessons in a book I can read in an hour or two – why wouldn´t you do that?

Peter Sage spoke at TedxKlagenfurt, Sept.12th, 2015


About Peter Sage:
With over 25 years’ experience in growing fast-paced enterprises, Peter is an expert in entrepreneurship (he boasted 15 start-ups before the age of 30!)
He launched, operated and brought to success over a dozen companies, several of which were large enough to qualify for the global Entrepreneurs Organisation membership. He served as the Chairman of the London YES Group (the largest personal development organization in Europe) and currently serves on the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board for INSEAD – a global top-five business school and one of the world leaders in the field of entrepreneurship education. Peter is also an advisor to the Hungarian Government on their creative think tank policies. Virtually all of the businesses Peter created have been in different industries.