Heart-Centered Businesses . . . A Bunch of Baloney?Oct 23, 2018
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou
Recently, I contacted two long-term clients that I’ve been working with for over a decade now, telling each that it was time to upgrade their websites. In both cases, the aging website platforms had become more susceptible to hacking due to the older third-party extensions, the overall design and layout of the sites were dated, and better options in functionality and features existed in newer platforms.
One client (Client A) is at the top of his industry in our area, working with very high-end clients, and the other one (Client B) is a “wannabe high-end” company that services mid-range clients. During the course of our business relationship, I’ve doubted Client B’s ability to move to the top, and today the reason became crystal clear.
Client A greeted my proposal with excitement and appreciation, thankful for my watchful eye on the functionality of his website and grateful for my knowledge on the newer website technologies. He responded to my suggestion within two days and eagerly set up a meeting to get things going.
Client B was a different story. It took seven follow-up emails and multiple phone messages over eleven weeks to finally get a response from him.
Me: “Hi, reaching out again about the website upgrade. I’ve mentioned my concerns and the benefits in prior emails, and I’m happy to meet or chat about it at your convenience. Let me know.”
Client B: “I’m sorry. I’m already working on a new website with another vendor.”
Me: “Is there something you are unhappy about with our work?”
Client B: “Not unhappy at all. Just found a vendor that can do sites for a lot less cost.”
Me: (to myself but screaming inside — WHAT?!) We’ve worked together for over ten years, and you are dumping me like this over an estimate? Over money rather than service without giving me the respect of a conversation? Where’s the loyalty? Where’s the respect?
And that’s when it hit me: Client B will never, ever get to the top — and now I know exactly why! It’s all about where his focus is centered.
A FORK IN THE ROAD
Lately, I’ve been inundated on social media and email about this “Heart-Centered” business trend: “How to become a heart-centered business” and “Why it makes a difference.” Blah, blah, blah. Most of it comes off as pretty woo-woo spiritual stuff, focused more on coaching and counseling businesses, and generally directed at women. I hadn’t given it much merit, but the more I thought about it and looked at the differences between Clients A and B, I realized that it’s actually nothing new and that it’s been the hallmark for successful businesses forever. I detected two distinct schools of thought and saw that every business places more value on one or the other . . . “Heart-Centered” or “Money-Centered.” And that, my friends, will make all the difference in your journey.
Why won’t Client B get to the top? You guessed it — he’s money-centered. The value of his customer and vendor relationships is focused first and foremost on money. I’m not implying that he doesn’t consider his customers’ needs and the quality of his product, but money takes precedence in his decision-making — instead of building strong and enduring relationships. While he skimps and saves here and there and stares at the bottom line rather than into his customers’ eyes, he is quietly burning bridges instead of building them.
The value of Client A’s relationships to his customers, vendors, contractors — everyone, in fact — is focused on heart and grounded in respect, loyalty, and the value of building long-term relationships. And that is exactly why he enjoys being the most sought-after builder in the area and has been for years. His business model is clearly a mirror of his personal inherent core values. What sets him apart is that he makes everyone he meets feel valued. And when customers feel valued by a business, they’re more than willing to go the extra mile and recommend that business to their friends and acquaintances.
Who do you think I will end up referring people to? Client A or Client B?
WHERE'S THE BEEF? OR IS IT BALONEY?
There’s no baloney about it. It’s the beef! Being a heart-centered business has nothing to do with spirituality, coaching, women — none of that. It’s plain and simple values and ethics. Every business owner can and should be heart-centered, no matter whether you are an accountant, a lawyer, a realtor, or a car dealer. My friend Amanda Grappone, owner of Grappone Auto in New Hampshire, is changing the face and perception of “the car salesman” by instilling her heart-centered philosophy and implementing its related practices throughout her business. Her heart-centered style naturally spills out onto everyone and everything around her because she lives it in her core. Her staff is happy, her customers are happy, she’s happy. And the icing on the cake? It’s contributed to a healthy increase in the company’s bottom line as well.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
You know what you should eat and what your core craves. The core values and ethics that you live your life by mirror your health and that of your business too. Take a very careful look at them. How healthy is your life? How about your business? Do you need to make a shift in what you value? Is it time for a detox?
For me, these are the essential components of a heart-centered business:
- Consistent Communication
- Focus on Building Long-Term Relationships
- Mutually Beneficial Outcomes
And these are the benefits:
- Long-Term Relationships
- Mutually Beneficial Outcomes
- A Healthy Stream of Referrals
- A Healthy Bottom Line
- FUN & HAPPINESS IN BUSINESS AND LIFE!
WHAT'S ON YOUR PLATE?
Hey, I’m not against making money — not at all! I love making money! We all need it to pay our bills, to live and provide for ourselves and our families, and to give back. But what I have noticed is that business owners who have a greater focus on money versus service and communication do not enjoy a long and fruitful life. Their journey is a constant struggle peppered with inconsistent clients and cash flow and resulting in stress and a shifting foundation.
Money-centered businesses never enjoy real security because they’re always looking for the next check and for ways to skimp and save rather than business flowing effortlessly to them from referrals. Businesses built on a heart-centered foundation, however, enjoy security freely because their foundation is reinforced with trust, respect, loyalty, honesty, and compassion. Security comes from building long-term relationships based on authentic communication and focused on mutually beneficial outcomes.
You’ve likely heard the concept that money is energy. Well, I finally understood this when I saw the differences between Client A and Client B. It really comes down to this: Heart-Centered = Relationship-Centered; Money-Centered = Self-Centered.
So, what’s on your plate? How are you getting energy? And how are you giving it . . . through communication, respect, mutual benefits, and understanding? Or from the dough?
And forget what you’ve heard about sweets: Don’t eat dessert first. . . . It’s not good for your heart (or your bottom . . . line).
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