Businesses are like relationships. And in business, just like in relationships, the beginning is soooooo important.
Have you ever heard about a relationship that started off with a shaky foundation? I know of plenty, and in most instances the relationship didn’t last or it isn’t in very good shape. Sure, a not so good foundation can be repaired later to support a healthy and happy relationship, but its always harder to repair something that needs fixing than it is to build something thats right from the beginning.
The same holds true for your business. Running a business is a lot of work. And why make the journey to success any harder for yourself by starting it with anything less than a firm foundation?
I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve been toying with the idea of starting a business. And whenever I hear anyone say that money is the reason they want to start one, it always makes me cringe a bit. Money is not the foundation with which a business should be built. And those who do build it based upon the money, are setting themselves up for a rocky road ahead.
Businesses exist to create and serve customers. And without customers, there is no business. So when you embark upon starting your company, if you are building it upon a foundation that is any different than serving your customers, then you will likely have an uphill battle when it comes to making it last.
The reason why is you can’t serve two masters. If your goal is to serve your customers, then the decisions you make in your business will support that. You’ll work to meet their needs, you’ll work to delight them, you’ll work to do what’s necessary to make them stick around and bring their friends too.
But if your goal is purely to make money, then the customer (the person who keeps you in business) is at best secondary. You’re more likely to cut corners. Your decisions may have a tendency to put your financial interests first to the detriment of your customer. And once your customers find another company that is ready, willing, and able to put them and their needs first, they’ll be out the door. And that’s definitely no good for your pockets!
Sure for-profit businesses need to make money to stay in business, but the money comes as a result of putting your customer first. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be fiscally prudent. And it doesn’t mean that you should let your customers walk all over you. Following these paths don’t make for a healthy business either. Rather, it just means that your customers are your priority, and maintaining a healthy relationship with them is the key to your success.
The money will come. But your foundation has to be firm for it to come and stay a while. And by starting your business with a foundation that is firmly rooted in serving your customers, the chances of your business having a happy ending are that much greater.