Beyond the Sale: Business Value and Quality of Life
A few weeks ago, we looked at the impact that brand value can have on a business. Making a name for yourself in your community, demographic, or market, whether that is positive or negative, is going to have a huge impact on your sales. Like the other side of the same coin, quality of life and brand value go hand-in-hand. It’s all about making people’s lives better, even outside of the realm of your specific product or service.
When you’re considering the quality of life factor in your business, ask yourself: What does my business offer that makes people’s lives better? If compared to another business offering the exact same product, what do we do that makes our community a better place?
It’s not far-fetched to imagine that contributing to a cause, working with local charities, or offering volunteer services is going to give people a more positive impression of your business. Combine that with a great commodity, and you’re going to have buyers lined up when you’re ready to transition.
Let’s look at two major ways quality of life increases your business value:
Happy Employees, Happy Customers
Start close to home. Employees who feel respected, cared for, and safe working for you are going to translate those feelings to your customers.
A 2015 study by the Social Market Foundation found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. The study also found that salespeople who reported feeling satisfied and respected in their workplace were able to increase sales by 37% compared to those who reported feeling unsatisfied.
Happiness means different things to different people, but there are some overarching themes.
Gallup’s yearly study titled “State of the American Workplace” uses a matrix to measure these themes:
Some of the poll results are surprising: only 30% of employees feel that their workplace provides them with the tools and resources to do their job correctly, 40% feel that they are given opportunities to do what they do best on a day-to-day basis, and the same number reported that they feel their supervisor genuinely cares about them as a person.
It can be hard to strike a balance between being too soft and being empathetic, but it’s better to err on the side that helps healthy relationships and healthy work-life balance blossom. Only 2 in 10 people feel that they have a best friend at work, but it’s one of the biggest factors in determining performance:
“When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider.”
While you don’t need to be your employees’ best friend, you do need to foster a culture that allows people to share, talk, work together, and explore their skills.
Remain Socially Conscious
Philanthropy doesn’t just come in the form of giving money to charities. In fact, it’s one of the least impactful ways to increase quality of life through your business. What your community is really looking for are the ways that your business is socially accountable. This concept, called corporate social responsibility (CSR), is the manner in which companies remain accountable to themselves, the community, and their stakeholders.
FrontStream summarizes the idea nicely:
“While giving $100 to your favorite charity or volunteering an afternoon to help at a homeless shelter will make you feel great and provides an excellent example to others in your community, there is a practical limit to the long-term benefits and the social impact we can all personally have on our community through giving.
But when hundreds or thousands of people get together and coordinate their giving, as occurs during a well-executed corporate giving campaign, tremendous and lasting good can be done for the community. This effect is further enhanced as the CSR program continues over months or years.”
On the other hand, when business ignore the way that the public feels about them, they’re going to quickly find themselves a virtual pariah. Whether you’re brick-and-mortar or online only, you have a responsibility to the people you’re selling to and the world as a whole.
Following sales giant Amazon’s call for cities across the United States to vie for “Amazon 2,” a second headquarters, city officials began offering insane incentives. Everything from multi-million dollar tax breaks to Amazon-exclusive rail systems were offered.
When public outrage flared, many cities backed down, recognizing the social implications of pouring money and resources into the richest company in the world. When Queens, New York and Arlington, West Virginia (both known for their expensive housing and extreme wealth disparity) won the bid, constituents were outraged. Protests broke out, calling for the cities and Amazon to make more socially conscious decisions.
Small- and mid-sized business have the same social obligation, without the billions of dollars to rebound after sales drop. Find a cause that makes your community and the world a better place to live. Your customers will feel better about your business if they know that their money is aiding charitable and social efforts.
How Are You Adding to Quality of Life?
Quality of life isn’t something that businesses typically consider when discussing their value, but its importance cannot be ignored. Even yearling companies can find ways to create social good, whether through building empathetic, caring relationships with employees or closing early once a month to volunteer with your team at a homeless shelter.
The benefits go beyond business value. Altruism is hardwired into our brains. It creates oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, the so-called “happiness trifecta,” that helps us lead happier lives. In turn, we can give our customers the experiences that they are looking for when they are choosing a company to buy from. Of course, this all turns in more business value as you prepare to transition.
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