The goal of every business is profit; we talk about it at morning meetings, at one-on-one’s with managers, at conferences. We make it a priority to ensure our businesses stay in the black, and it’s obvious why; without profit we would fail. Why, though, is this a goal?
It has occurred to me that profit is only an end result of something else; something bigger and exponentially more important; something that comes from hard work, dedication, and perseverance: Customers.
When a business is in its infancy, it can do nothing without this group of people; it takes a lot of effort to convince them that they should, in fact, hand over their hard-earned money to your business rather than a competitor. A business will find success in making its customers happy; this is truth. It seems, however, that with growth comes a sort of distancing from this group; ‘thanks for helping us grow, but sorry, we’re a little busy for you at the moment’. This happens everywhere, with almost every type of business, and for many this step is part of the growing pains as they deal with internal change, adaptation to new markets and competition. Many companies lose sight of their roots once they reach stardom leaving clients dealing with less attention given; less personable service; and less excitement amongst buyers of the brand.
So I pose the question again; why is profit our ‘goal’?
As Scott Stratten speaks of in his latest creation, “The Book of Business Awesome”,
“Profit should not be the goal of a business, but the result of good business.”¹
How true is that? Why are we losing perspective of the one single thing that makes us profitable? And how can we learn to keep them engaged in our brand as we grow?
I am a true believer that positivity feeds positivity – and of course the opposite; client perception of the brand greatly influences sales trends, so we need to learn how we can control this perception.
Negativity tends to travel much further, and faster, than positivity, but when these positive influencers are controlled properly, the results can be outstanding. Take Apple for example, their success was incredible through the recent depression, while competitors crumbled. How did they come out of it with such poise?
Are you or have you ever heard of an ‘Apple Fan Boy’? This group of customers are so devoted they barely even need to see what it is they are buying before handing over 20-60% more money than they could for comparable products from competitors. And, they do more than just help Apple’s bottom line, they are the most perfect marketers of its products! They are influencers to friends, co-workers, businesses, whole countries and markets, they are teachers, creators, developers and gurus who have become loving members of a single brand. There is more to lose by leaving this group than there is to gain, so they continue to provide Apple with inspiration, and record profits.
Apple has influenced this group by creating a positive environment in which they could thrive and multiply through the use of of three keys influencers: excellent products, awesome customer service, and cocky, but bold, pinpoint marketing. They create such anticipation among this group of followers that there are numerous websites completely dedicated to rumours of upcoming products, and when they are ready to openly speak about what’s coming soon, they hold keynotes that are streamed live from Apple.com. Personally, one of my absolute favourite things they do is release the products they speak about typically within a few weeks, so the buzz doesn’t stop for months.
Think about your own business and how you can create buzz around your products or services; how you can gain lifelong customers that have no desire to seek out your competition; and how you could leverage your current customers into raving fans.
Our customers are the life cycle of our businesses and we need to refresh our outlook on them. Think about how you answer the phone today, and smile; your customers are awesome!
¹Stratten, Scott. The Book of Business Awesome. Toronto: Wiley, 2012 Engage with Scott on Twitter @UnMarketing or visit his website at UnMarketing.com