Monday, October 17, 2011

The Ultimate Question

Image: Idea go /
Yes business is about making money, but it can also be about making a difference.

Is your client better off now that they've met you?

That is the ultimate question.

Too many times those of us who own a business get caught up looking at the so-called "bottom line."

The problem is we hear and use the term "bottom line" to refer to the balance in our bank accounts. How much money are we making? How much are we losing? We have a bad habit of thinking only about ourselves and our business.

What we forget is that our business IS our clients. And not just the revenue we receive from our clients but the individuals, families, and other businesses that rely on our goods and services.

In the beginning, when we are just starting out, nearly all business owners nurture those client relationships - because we know that we have to fight to keep every client we land when we are trying to get our business off the ground.

But as the years progress and as the business establishes itself and starts to have some success, for some reason, the client relationship tends to get pushed to the background and the focus shifts to the Profit & Loss Statement or the Quarterly Earnings Report.

Some people may say that some companies are just too big to create a "relationship" with thier clients. Maybe, maybe not.

Here's a what if situation for you... Let's use Macy's for example, they are a pretty big company, right?

What if, Macy's implemented a new policy to reach out to their customers? What if their associates were to mail out a hand written thank you note to every customer they served in the course of a week? How much repeat business would they get as a result of simply being appreciative of their customers? How fast would they become one of the most popular retail clothing stores in America simply because they slowed down long enough to change the way they look at their clients?

Right now, they may send out special coupons or passes for secret sales to their best customers (i.e. those who spend the most on their Macy's credit card), but what if they thanked EVERY. SINGLE. CUSTOMER.

Unfortunately Macy's will probably never do anything like this, citing reasons (i.e. excuses) like "there's no money in the budget for something like that" or "we could never get our employees to actually do something like that" or "do you know how much that would cost in postage alone?"

But any small to medium sized business can do this sort of thing and SO much more to attract and retain customers.

It's not a difficult concept. Basically its doing the types of things your grandparents did. Be good for your word. Don't promise something you can't deliver. Admit when your wrong. Treat people with respect and dignity. Be grateful and show your appreciation.

So what are YOU doing in your business to make a difference in the lives of your clients? And no, I don't mean how does your product or service make their lives easier, better, etc. It's not about you or your product.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and followers and let us know your thoughts in the comments below...


  1. James, I think this is brilliant. I just shared it with @Macys. Since Terry Lungren (CEO) isn't on Twitter or the blogosphere, the idea probably won't stick (as you predicted).

    However, it's the idea that matters.

    Every Thanksgiving, I send over a personal video for a couple of the most important people in my business or life.

    (I'd love your feedback on the idea:

    As you can see, it's not much. However it is a start.

  2. Thanks Aaron.

    Just watched your video. Very admirable of you.

    I've seen so many situations when I worked a traditional job that make me wonder how some of these companies stay in business.

    Money won't buy loyalty. But people crave recognition, true, heart-felt appreciation for their efforts.

    Tell a man you are proud of him and he will move mountains to keep your respect.

    Tell a man (through non-verbal clues) that he isn't worth a hill of beans and he will sit down beside the mountain and prove you right.


As always your comments, questions, and even your rebuttals are welcomed, encouraged, and appreciated.