Service has value. Information is a commodity. Service providers often get this wrong. That changes by making information freely available.
The commoditization of information is going too far and, because of it, services provided by those with experience and expertise are made to look unnecessary. The problem with this is: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anything.
It’s time those with experience and expertise fight back.
Information Should be Freely Available
Information should be freely available. Experience and expertise, however, are invaluable when the circumstances call for specialized knowledge. Everyone should have the information necessary to make a good attempt at the right solution for their problem.
Free information benefits those who can apply it properly to their own circumstances. More than that, it lets those who need it see the necessity of experience and expertise. All because they are armed with the information to properly understand their need. How does this work? Let’s look at contract drafting as an example.
Drafting contracts is like writing any other story. Legal is the genre of your story. Common practice and legal precedent are the framework that makes your story fall into the legal genre, but you have freedom to explore how you want to tell the story of your agreement.
In any given contract, there may be a sub-genre, with elements that cause your story to be a part of the more specific grouping of similar stories. Tell your story within the confines of the genre, and you have written a contract. After that, everything else is up to your creative imagination.
There are certain elements you need to make sure you include in the story of your agreement, but how you include those elements is up to you. Contracts, just like stories in any genre share similar characteristics, but are not required to look the same.
Your contract is the story of your deal. Your audience are those who come after you and want to know what it said.
What if lawyers freely offered you enough information to empower you to tell your own story. If you have enough information to begin protecting yourself from liability, then the entrepreneur community is stronger because of freely available legal information. If entrepreneurs understand the basics, they will see clearly when they need the expertise of a legal professional.
Knowledge is something you have to give. Something you can offer to the community to provide value. Giving away information is one way you can change the community and move the industry you serve forward.
It’s easy for me to talk about law, but what about other service providers:
- Would businesses stop needing accountants if entrepreneurs knew how to properly maintain their books?
- Do you think people would stop needing computer programmers if information on how to do some basic things was made freely available?
Since 2008, there has been a boom of entrepreneur blogs and online business. It seems a lot of people are making a lot of money telling people how to make money by telling people how to make money.
What you don’t see a lot of is how to do it.
Fear Drives the Status Quo
Service providers are afraid to give away information. They are afraid their services will become a commodity if they give away basic information. Information their audience wants to know. Information their audience will find somewhere else. Information given away by those who want to downplay the value of experience and expertise.
If we give away information, does that mean that we service professionals will be worked out of a job? No.
If I can give you enough information to tell your own story. If I can give you enough information to begin protecting yourself from liability, then I have done my part to make the entrepreneur community stronger. If entrepreneurs understand the basics, it will become clear when they need some help.
Information should be freely available. As service professionals and experts, we should work to provide as much free information as possible because expertise isn’t free, but everyone should understand the basics.
If information is free, it would show the true value of expertise.
Will You Join Me?
This is what I am focusing on this year. I want to give away as much information as possible. I want you to know what you need to protect your business legally.
What about you? Is there a way you can make information freely available to make the entrepreneur community a better place? How do you do that?
Let us know in the comments!