It’s the year-end season for many in the business world. It seems to heighten our zeal to sell more products and services, to generate more revenues and profits. It’s easy to think that the “sin quo non” of business is to stay in business, grab greater market share from competitors and grow financially every year. Ah, the recipe for success.
The year-end also is a time to remember there is an important non-financial ingredient to the basic business recipe for success. Truly great companies understand the potency of this ingredient: inherent and unblinking trust with and among customers and employees. Through our daily deeds and words, we demonstrate that we are the kind of people who can be trusted to do the right thing every time, no matter what. This trust factor is the true “stickiness” that causes customers and employees to stay with us over time and to continue to buy because they know we deliver according to our stated values, without wavering. They know we are a trusted partner and resource.
As in families, business trust starts at home. Companies that respect their employees and listen to them sustain an environment of engagement and trust in their workplace. Employees who feel trusted and who see their leaders demonstrate that trust naturally translate that respectful, trusting behavior into the way they treat customers and clients. People who do business with you want to trust that you will engage them in open, honest and authentic ways. If they find that to be true all the time, then lifelong business relationships flourish.
Here at Bottom Line Marketing as we close out another successful year, we always remember that our recipe for success says “we keep our promises and meet our deadlines because that’s our bottom line.”
Oftentimes we are so wrapped up in our daily work that we forget to notice the little things—that pile of “stuff” under your desk, the almost dead plant on the windowsill, and the growing collection of plastic food containers in the lunchroom. You’ve become so used to them they’ve become invisible.
Call an office time-out and let your team survey their personal workspace as well as common office space. Become aware of your surroundings and really take a good look at what you see. It’s time to organize those magazines, project samples and maybe toss out a plant or two. The usually slower pace between mid-December and the beginning of January provides an opportunity to refresh your work environment to get the new year off to an organized and fresh start.
While you’re at it, think about your brand. Does your logo still reflect who you are, even though it may have been created back in the day of clip art? Does your tagline still fit with the type of work or service you provide? Do your company colors reflect a modern image, or are you still stuck in the ‘90s with a dated color palate? Your company image might need a refresh as well.
At Bottom Line, we’ve recently done all of the above. A new client wanted to stop by and see our office space and meet the team. That got the ball rolling to spruce up our digs. As home improvement projects go, one thing led to another, and we took a look at our marketing materials and deemed them in need of a change. We’re slowly reinventing our brand. With a new color palette as a guide, we’re redesigning our tools—including proposals, PowerPoints, letterhead, business cards and envelopes. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come.
Relationships are the heartbeat of influence. Want to get your neighbors to agree to trim or take down a diseased tree that threatens to topple into your yard? Barbecue with them first. Want to encourage a family member toward healthier eating? Stop lecturing, start listening and work together to make dietary and exercise changes. Want to effect a change to public policy? Engage with the right people, educate them and build a connection over time.
Many businesses work through industry or professional associations and networks to influence public policy. That’s great. Those kinds of affiliations are essential for navigating complex policy matters, as well as creating the critical mass often needed for effective advocacy.
When a business or nonprofit organization has a personal relationship with a policymaker, however, they have a valuable asset unto themselves – and they also become an asset for the public official.
Several of our healthcare clients have cultivated relationships with state and federal policymakers who represent the communities they all serve. Through periodic coffee meetings with C-suite leaders, personal notes from the CEO and attendance at events by a variety of leaders representing key areas of the organization, our clients have planted and watered the seeds of relationship.
It’s been personally and professionally rewarding. Not only do these leaders enjoy their encounters, they gain deeper insight and can offer their own perspective on issues. They have opportunity to educate as well, often providing new information that better positions a policymaker to advance a more helpful or advantageous idea.
Further, as a result of these relationships, policymakers have reached out to our clients for support. They have a friend who can speak into legislation as it is developed, and support it at key junctures along the way – like including providing testimony and endorsement letters.
For the most authentic, savvy and strategic organizations, making friends and influencing public policy go hand in hand – and can result in positive, effective change. It’s the best of both worlds.