Most business owners/executives are rightly concerned about the customers’ perception of their business. They work very hard at trying to manage that perception through their marketing program. The really successful ones have a very clear vision of what their business is about and what it stands for. From there, they make sure that all communication and customer interaction reflects that vision. Now, being human, mistakes are made in this endeavor. The key is to get back on track immediately.
In order to do this in your business, answer this one question: “What do you stand for?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It really takes a lot of self examination, especially for a leader of a small business like me. This is because every step you take has a direct reflection on you. Plus, if you actually stand for something, there may be potential customers that aren’t comfortable with that and decide not to patronize your business. It’s tough self-love and can be risky, but critical to identifying what your business stands for.
When I purchased my auto repair business two years ago, I thought long and hard about the experience I wanted to provide for our clients with respect to what I wanted our image to be; what I personally stood for. Believing firmly that God put me in this place at this time, I believed that the business was my opportunity to do His work through this business. I made that clear by putting the Christian Fish symbol on our company’s sign and a reference to my faith on our business cards.
Clearly, there will be people that don’t come to our shop because they don’t believe what I believe. So be it. That’s their right. I can look in the mirror and know that we stand for something good and right AND our clients know that. That gives us a baseline from which to operate and makes it clear What We Stand For.