When I was in high school back in the 70s, like most students, I had to take biology before they’d let me out the door. I sat in the first row of Mr. J’s formaldehyde-ish smelling classroom – right in front of a human skeleton that peered over the class with a stony gaze. On a boring day, I’d sit there and stare right back, wondering “who” that skeleton once was and what her life was like. I’d marvel that in spite of our different outward appearances, we all looked about the same as that skeleton when everything else was stripped away—the pretty girls and the pimply faced ones, the muscular jocks and the waifs, the paunchy middle-aged teachers and those who were probably as ancient as the skeleton. So, I would ask myself, what did this person once look like? What made her different? What was her story? And I’d spend much of the class allowing my imagination to bring her to life.
So it is with our businesses. When it comes down to it, in many ways a business is a business. Underlying each one is a system of processes and procedures that make up the “bones” of the business and give the company structure . . . the organizational charts and work flow processes, admin, bookkeeping, production.
But what lies beyond the bones of your business that gives it its unique character? What is its story? Why did you create your company? What does your company do that you’re very proud of, that you can feel in your heart, that you’re passionate about? What brings it to life for your employees, for your customers, for the community? Are you communicating the vision of your company and why you’re in business? If you help employees and customers understand that, and help them understand the WIIFM in your vision, your business suddenly doesn’t look just like your competitor around the corner anymore. In the minds of potential customers, you’re business is dynamic, full of life—and you’ve invited them to share in it.
So, who is your business? Are you telling that story?