Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and your Business

By Michael Tasner | Business Marketing Tips

May 04
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Business

Let us talk about your business and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

You must probably have a vague idea about this theory from your days spent in school, but I wanted to give you a little bit of a refresher and teach you how this directly applies to everything that is going on at the moment. 

If we were to visualize it, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid. 

  • Self-actualization
  • Esteem
  • Love and Belonging
  • Safety Needs
  • Physiological Needs

The top most level where everyone strives to get to is self-actualization To reach this level you need spontaneity and robust problem solving skill, there’s really no prejudiced morality that it’s just life is good.

As you go down the pyramid, you will see that all levels are all psychological and the only way to reach the top is by making sure that all items below are met. At the bottom of the pyramid is what I would argue the general characteristics of human beings, and that’s all physiological—like breathing, food, water, sex, and sleep. And as you go up the ladder or up the pyramid, there is safety. When we talk about safety, we focus on security–personal, family, and business. Going up the ladder, there is love and belonging, which is about friendship, family and sexual intimacy.

Then on top of it is esteem—self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, status, and recognition. Finally, on the top-most layer of the pyramid is self actualization. 

So, what does this have to do with everything that’s going on and your business? Actually, a lot.  When times are good and business is humming, everything seems really, really bright. We tend to focus on the top three—love and belonging, esteem, and self actualization. But when things literally start to go south, and life and our future both become uncertain, we very rapidly fall down into those lower two tiers of safety and physiological. Given the situation we are all facing now, we can agree that we all want to simply remain in the safety category. 

And when we fall into those bottom two categories, what eventually happens is that our district decision making becomes flawed. We often start to make hasty and unwise decisions because it’s based on fear—the fear of the unknown. And even as we put this brave front and say everything’s gonna be fine and everything is going to be okay, we’re really still not 100% certain of that exact statement and we often doubt ourselves,  for good reason. 

Let’s take for example the media giving us scary news that directly impacts our business. The COVID-19 crisis makes a lot of people want to just go into deep hibernation, whether in a cage or in a cave and basically sleep until this crisis is over. Sometimes, I would like to think this is all nothing but a bad dream.

However as business owners, we have bigger responsibilities. We not only have our welfare and our families well-being to consider, but we’ve got our employees, customers, and clients to also take into account. There is also the concern of the declining stock market and valuation of retirement accounts that only add more fuel to the fire and really continues to exaggerate, making the situation a lot worse than it already is. It’s a fact most business owners face now. 

So what I’m looking for you to do, is to take some steps back from this abyss and that’ll allow you to start to get a better view of what the future might realistically hold. We can’t predict the future because this crisis is just so unusual. But we can definitely start to look at recent history and look at facts, not necessarily the hype. 

Let us delve deeper into this issue.

So, the first cases of this COVID-19 were reported in Wu Han, China in December of 2019. Now, even with China’s slow response, the new infections they’re claiming, have essentially reached zero by the end of March. And there’s been other countries that have taken aggressive actions—Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. These countries have been able to keep the virus at bay, and they’ve done that even with their close economic times. And, even despite the slow realization by the US government, that this is such a really serious threat, they’ve definitely jumped into gear to really start to slow things down. 

But when I look at things, I tend to look at what’s the worst case scenario and if we use China as an example, we’re looking at a 90 day span, possibly even shorter. Now of course, there’s going to be long term implications—some we may not be aware of, possibly dangerous threats. 

If you look at that being the proposed and probable timeline, you can start to take some actions. Now, if you don’t believe this is going to be a short term thing, and you can go into hibernation mode and literally hunker down, but for every threat, there’s an opportunity. There’s an opportunity for us business owners to leverage this time to grab the market share from people that are going into hibernation. They’re literally going into hibernation. So, if you’re really worried about what’s happening and how it’s affecting your business, I encourage you to start to act—at the end of the day, everyone has to start acting rather than retreating. 

There is a really good quote that’s suitable for this situation: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” It’s not about getting knocked down—it’s about getting back up. 

Why do I know this? Because I am with you—working with people just like you. It can be insanely lonely at the top as a business owner, but what I’ve realized is that I was lonely because I was looking at the media constantly. And I get I’m not a doctor, and I’m not arguing. I’m simply trying to give you some of the facts that if this situation should potentially be around for three more months on the high side.

How is that gonna affect you? But more so, what are the actions that you can start taking?

How can you start to pivot your business. And I want you to re-listen to some of the episodes that I’ve done over the last two weeks, because I’m giving you ideas to pivot, how to communicate, things to slash, how to plan and all of that good stuff and to bring awareness that the majority of us business owners are currently making rash decisions. I know for a fact since I almost made a couple of them. 

When you start to see the situation as it is—start to find the opportunities. It reframes your brain to start to act strategically, to act to preserve your legacies and keep your family and your business intact, as well as your team members. 

Get out there. Take some action today. 

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