The dream of every entrepreneur is to build a successful business. Obviously, one element of that success is making a profit. But if the only reason a person is in business is to make a profit, something is lacking.
In a post from a few months ago, Bernadette Jiwa describes a scene where a homeowner quickly slapped on a fresh coat of paint in order to make a quick sale of his home. Jiwa explains that business owners can do the same thing with their brand story. “It’s easy to tell a story that on the surface of it will attract people’s attention,” she states. “But attention is fleeting—it’s not a solid foundation upon which to build a sustainable business or a lasting legacy.”
Building a successful business is hard, and it often takes more than a few years to get into your groove. What makes all the ups and downs during those first few years survivable is running your business with purpose, and the right purpose at that.
For me, getting as many clients as possible is not the purpose of my business. I’d rather take on fewer projects than work with so many clients that I’m unable to devote the time and attention to those projects that each one deserves. The result is that my business does not grow as quickly as it could. However, what I am doing is cultivating strong customer-business connections.
The purpose of my business is not only to satisfy my customers once. The purpose is to make an impression that will result in return customers and repeated referrals. My focus, then, is starting small to earn long-term success. As Jiwa notes in another post, “Successful businesses are built on earning the second interaction, and the one after that.”
Just as a wise home inspector can see through the facade of a fresh coat of paint, mindful customers can see more than what’s on the surface of a business’s products or services. They see how the business owner operates his or her business, and what he or she values.
While my customers see the value in the editing and content writing I complete for them, they perhaps see the value in the connection I make with them more, in how I personalize my services to meet their needs and do what I can to leave them satisfied and happy. For many of my customers, the experience of working with me matters as much as the results of my work.
This concept is not unusual. With service industries, especially, trust is often what customers need most before choosing to work with you. Running your business in a way that demonstrates your values is the key. “What we choose to do or not to do is a sign of what matters to us,” Jiwa notes. “[I]n turn, [this] helps people to decide if they want to align with our brands or ideas.”
As I’ve learned, when the purpose of running a business is customer satisfaction, the rewards will be more than apparent. And, obviously, the profit of those efforts will follow.