SHAWN MCCLENDON: What (I Think) It Means to Love With Your Business
I am a big fan of National Public Radio (NPR). I listen to it on most mornings when I’m on my way to work. Part of what I like about NPR is the fact that they don’t fill up large chunks of their airtime with advertisements. The most they have are brief moments between news segments where they mention a handful of their sponsors.
Stay with me. I promise I’m getting somewhere.
One of their sponsors is the automaker, Subaru. The reason I have noticed that in particular is because of their motto. That motto is “Love…it’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.”
Ok, to be honest, anytime I heard their motto in the past, I became annoyed. Love? Really? How can they prove that love really makes their vehicles what they are? What do they mean?
In a world where companies make abundant use of flowery (and annoying, to me) adjectives to describe their products such as all-natural, farm-fresh and natural-cut, I have admittedly found it hard to not immediately be turned off by such ads. I mean, what does it mean when your food is “natural-cut?”
However, a recent time of personal prayer and reflection gave me a new perspective, specifically on how a business can indeed love with its products and services.
As a personal trainer, health writer and speaker, I have a real interest in bettering the lives of others health-wise. Because of this, I often find myself very discouraged. Why? Well, the truth is that although I really want to help people, I don’t always experience success. Honestly, there have been many times that I haven’t experienced success.
As I walked through my home the other day, I prayed aloud, “Lord, how in the world do I consistently help people reach their health goals with my business?” See, although I desire a successful business just like any entrepreneur would, I absolutely do not want success that is not intimately linked with changing the lives of others.
Do you feel me? What worth is it to offer a product or service that makes lots of money, but that fails to impact others in such a way that their lives are better because of it? In my line of work, creating profitable, yet ineffective health-related products and services would mean that many people would go on to needlessly suffer from totally preventable illnesses, and many would die prematurely, making what I offer almost worthless. That’s the way I see it.
As I contemplated my question, a thought came to my mind. That thought was this: You have to LOVE folks with your business.
Ok, so I have to love people with my business to be successful. First things first…if I am to do this, that means I have to know a little more about what love is, right?
I believe we can agree on this. If you or I want to love a person, that means that we must be willing to put that person’s needs before our own. It means we are willing to be patient with them, and to be willing to stick with them through whatever.
So how does this translate to loving with your business? I’m not going to be pretentious and act like I know exactly what a loving business looks like, but I think that it means that as a business owner, you have to really consider what your clients need, and to strive to give that to them. For me, it means that it simply isn’t enough for me to offer a product or service that others buy and struggle to work with on their own. Very few people experience change that way. Case in point, I’ve read more than one guitar instructional book and I still don’t know how to play guitar.
Somehow, I have to be willing to avail myself more as folks seek my help for their health journeys. Perhaps it means that I touch bases with those who purchase a product or service from me. Perhaps it means that I not only write a book with tips and advice, but that I set up an additional program (course, e-mail series, etc) that actually guides them through those tips and advice. My main point is, it means that I should go the extra mile with whatever I offer if I really want to help those whom I serve.
So what about profit? What about the bottom line? I believe that if we make loving our clients our sincere goals, the bottom line will take care of itself. “A man reaps what he sows (Gal 6:7b NIV).”
With all of this said, I say to Subaru, sorry for hating on your motto. Not only do I respect your motto, but I admit that my curiosity about Subaru has been piqued. Who knows, perhaps I’ll own a Subaru one day because of that motto. As for all reading this post, I encourage you to take time to contemplate for yourself what it would mean for you to love with your business. Making money and being successful is cool, but doesn’t mean much if you’re not making someone else’s life better.
Shawn McClendon is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, health/fitness blogger, columnist, and author. His first book, 13 Things to Stop Believing to Become Healthy and Lose Weight, is available on Amazon.com. His mission is to encourage others to live healthily and to effectively empower others to take responsibility for their own health.
Shawn can be found on Twitter, and of course sharing his tips for healthy living on his own website:
To contact him, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org