Why is it that when you start talking about how things feel, how much real connection matters and how far a little bit of love goes in business, you’re often met with varying degrees of eye rolling, glazing over and comments that involve the word ‘idealistic’?
They want to know how you measure that, what’s the ROI and is it scaleable? But what I want to know is why caring about the way things feel, and connecting for real with real people, and injecting love into what you do idealistic? I would have said they were fundamental. After all, business is about people. Marketing is about people. Life is about people. People, people, people. How we connect, what matters, how we feel, what and who we love. So why is it idealistic to build a business on these very human foundations?
Ok, I agree, they are hard to measure, but that’s because we’re trying to measure the impact and effect of these things using tools and scales that were designed for things that are not emotional. The exact impact they have is hard to measure in terms of directly associated sales, return on investment, customer loyalty etc etc. But I just can’t accept that therefore they’re not worth much. Maybe it’s worthwhile enough to do things in a way that feels good and is in line with your values and your mission because then you’re more authentic, it’s more sustainable and you feel happier about what you’re doing. When that’s the case, it shows through in everything you do, and for that alone, isn’t it worth it?
But there are more reasons, yes, still hard to measure, I agree, but nonetheless worthwhile pursuing for the simple reason that business is about human relationships. How do you feel when someone thanks you for something you’ve done for them? When your efforts are recognised? When someone asks your opinion because it’s valued? When someone listens. When someone helps you, or you help someone else? These things feel good because we’re human.
Based on this fact, here are 5 things that are wildly unscaleable (debatable), extremely difficult to measure in terms of returns, and loftily love drenched and idealistic that you can do today just to remind yourself that you are indeed human and well, because it just feels good;
1. Call a client or a customer personally to thank them for their business. It could be a note or an email if you’re not able to call them, but it has to be sincere and personal. Don’t ask for anything, just thank them for doing business with you and let them know how much you appreciate them.
2. Take an employee, or someone who has helped you in your business, out for lunch, or buy them a thoughtful gift, just to let them know they’re valued.
3. Connect with a client or customer and ask them for their opinion about something you’re working on. It could be something you recently launched, or how their experience with your product or business was, or an idea for the future. Be open and really listen to what they say without qualifying or explaining.
4. Share. A problem shared is a problem halved. Use your social platform to share something real with your people. Maybe something you’re struggling with, perhaps something personal, something about you, not your business. We all love to know we’re not alone in our struggles and sharing our experiences is paramount to meaningful relationships.
5. Encourage someone you know who’s working hard, trying to make a difference, maybe who’s struggling a bit - let them know you care, that what they’re doing is worthwhile and that you believe in them - you never know what a massive impact you might have on someone’s life at just the right time.
Business is a human pursuit. It’s about relationships and belonging and believing and yes, even about love. We absolutely need to measure the impact of the things we invest our time and money in to grow our business, but we also need to invest in the things that are difficult to measure. Don’t overlook the little things that feel good. It’s not a bad thing that they’re hard to measure and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re worthless, in fact I have more than a hunch that those ‘little’ things are actually the big things. If that’s idealistic, then isn’t it ok to contribute to a more ideal world? I think so, I really do.