People tend to think that business is separate from their personal life. The old adage, “It’s not personal; it’s just business,” is the excuse many use to justify unfair and immoral behavior; just like the friend who insults you and then says, “I’m just sayin’!” However, while many think this is a savvy business strategy, the reality is that it will hurt your business—not help it. Understand that caring is NOT just good character; it’s good business.
In a world where social media showcases everyone’s dirty laundry or good deeds—whether by you or someone else who chose to share it—no longer can a business paint a false picture of altruism for the public to see, while being a shark in reality. As the Bible says… “All things shall be revealed…”
When you take the time to treat someone who can do nothing for you with respect and add value to them, you are doing so for all to see—adding value to YOU! The benefits are:
Let’s take a look at these.
Humility is attractive! In this crazy world we live in, most everyone has an agenda. Typically, someone will do something nice or good for another, only when they’ve counted the cost and gain. Even though it may be the right thing to do, if it will cost them, they will find a way to justify doing the wrong thing.
Besides the reality that it’s wrong and if done to them, they would scream and cry like a baby whose lollipop was yanked from his or her mouth, isn’t a consideration to them. But what if you did the right thing? What if you knew you’ve wronged a person who can truly do nothing for you (other than buy your product or service) and corrected the situation? It may cost you some money or inconvenience, but what will you have gained? Besides a clear conscience (as the late Jim Rohn once said, “It’s not what you get that matters; but who you become…”), you also get a grateful and loyal client who will most likely share this experience with his or her following on social media. Now what would it have cost you if you tried to buy a public relations campaign to bring you this kind of press? Yet, the price for TRUE goodwill coverage was only the cost of doing the right thing!
Again, because of social media, suddenly, your character is on display—good or bad! Remember that your character is what you control; your reputation is what everyone else controls. So your character rising to the occasion is helping to create the reputation that people will come to know. Now, while a reputation can change on a dime and you can’t control that (since it’s created by what others say), you can control what YOU are in charge of; the decisions on how you treat others.
Potential clients and business partners will see who you truly are, and make decisions on whether to do business with you based on these revelations. Remember, once something is posted in social media and the Internet, it’s there to stay. So wouldn’t you want to make sure that good things are shared? This builds trust; a crucial component in any relationship. Furthermore, it builds credibility. You see, when people learn you not only KNOW what you’re doing, but CARE how you do it, it will position you and your company where you want it to be. Plus, many companies think they are in charge of their positioning—well, they’re not. You’re in charge of your branding, but positioning is how the public sees your brand. Branding is to character what positioning is to reputation. So HOW would you like your business positioned in the public’s mind? This will be determined by your service and how you engage your stakeholders.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles: Regulators Have Concerns About Lenders’ Use of Facebook, Other Sites by Stephanie Armour, on January 8, 2014. In this article, it mentions that many lenders of capital are using social media to decide whether or not to extend loans.
Since we live in a period where many have less than stellar credit and the main credit bureaus report only the facts, lenders are venturing into social media to see who you really are as a person—your character—to decide credit worthiness. They look at who you’re connected to, what you post and what is posted about you. Some excerpts state:
More lending companies are mining Facebook, Twitter and other social-media data to help determine a borrower’s creditworthiness or identity, a trend that is raising concerns among consumer groups and regulators.
“The data we have on customers via social networks says more about them than their FICO [score],” Mr. Sion said, referring to the three-digit credit score widely used to estimate risk. “You can make credit decisions based not on a faceless score, but on who you know.”
Therefore, good character and customer service can determine if when you need a loan, whether one will be granted. Consider it karma; the measure you use against others will be used to measure you.
So remember that honesty, fair play and good character are not just good virtues to live by, they’re good business. All the dots are connected, whether you want them to be or not, and are either adding to or diminishing your success. After all, to think you can separate your business life from your personal life is naïve. Everything is connected. If you would not treat your mother or Pastor the way you would treat a client or customer, then you may be have some changing to do.