Business is people. Don't ever forget.
OK, I'm going to get serious today. Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of my dad's death. I have a dear friend who is ill and not likely to recover. Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S. It's May, flowers are blooming and spring is in full swing. It's also a time of reflection.
What does this have to do with business? Quite a bit, actually.
It Can't Be 10 Years, Can It?
Dad was raised in a family with an abusive father. When Dad was a kid in gym class one day, a phys ed teacher saw welts on his back from the whip his father regularly used on Dad and his sisters.
The phys ed teacher reported the welts to authorities. Apparently a school official visited dad's father to talk to him about the way he "disciplined" his kids. Dad never knew for sure what was said but his father met him at the door when he came home from school that day, whipped him and said, "Show that to your g** d***** teacher."
Things were different then. Nothing more was ever said about the welts. Dad thought everyone grew up the way he did.
We now know that kids who are physically abused often abuse their families as well. Not my dad. He rarely laid a hand on us and when he did, it was at Mom's urging. That's a different story, though.
Dad did have one person on his side when he grew up and that was his stepmom. She'd raised him from babyhood. She was his strength and guiding light. If he hadn't had her on his side who knows what might have happened to him. He might never have been the loving father with a heart of gold that I knew.
Ten years ago I lost my biggest supporter.
Life & Death & Business
I hardly ever thought about death when I was in my 20s. Who does? But life takes its toll. My dad's been gone for 10 years. I am soon going to lose someone I love dearly. I know I am not alone. To be alive is to experience loss. It happens to all of us.
What does this have to do with your business? You're in business to make money, right? Sure, you need people to buy your services or products. Life and business are completely separate entities, right?
Nope, they're not. Business means people. Business owners are people. Customers are people. As a business owner you can't lose track of that fact.
What's It Mean?
You've read it before, folks — businesses that promote charitable causes do better financially. And often the bottom line is pointed to as the main reason to participate in community service. But, what we do in our lives and our businesses has to mean more than a dollar sign.
Let's turn it around. Let's plan charitable events and help the people in our local communities because it's the right thing to do. Let's offer superior customer service, not because it means more money, but because our customers are fellow life travelers dealing with issues we can't imagine.
Let's care about one another no matter what we're doing, whether it's business or holding a door open for someone at the grocery store. Let's treat our customers like family. Because really, that's exactly what we all are.