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There’s been a lot of talk this year about companies expanding their focus beyond just shareholders, employees, and customers. It’s easy to think that this is all just wordplay, fanciful notions that don’t relate to the real world of business.

This is actually the world tilting on its axis, a permanent and lasting shift for the better.

Photo by Perry Grone on UnsplashIt’s easy to forget that companies are a relatively recent invention. For most of human history, “work” was tightly linked to an individual’s skill. As those skills developed into areas of expertise, the concept of a “trade” was created. People in your community would exchange their money for the products created by your skill.

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Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

You want to take the leap, but … there’s a pause.

When I was a kid, trying to build up my nerves to jump off the 3 metre board at the swimming pool. When I finally did, it was a joyous experience! But I only worked up to jumping off the 5 metre board once.

In my business, I’ve had some of those big-decision moments as well. Here I am, faced with a key decision, afraid but excited to move forward.

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Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

A core philosophy of business is to get as much as you can. Market share. Revenue. Profit. Recognition.

If you want to give back, great. Write a check to your favorite charity and let them do the dirty work. So you can get back to your primary objective of growing and making money.

I’m glad to see that this kind of thinking has been breaking down and becoming more human.

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I was at a networking meeting the other day, talking about marketing strategies and what we can do to improve our business visibility.

At that point, we found out that one of the participants just experienced a couple of severe challenges in her personal life. Suddenly that business stuff didn’t feel so important. She needed our immediate compassion and support.

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Your company is absolutely unique. So much so that nobody else on the planet is able to do what you do.

Except, of course, that your products are so similar to the competition that people have a hard time recognizing the difference.

By the way, this tension is a universal experience. Read the rest of this entry »

We’d like to think that customers buy our products because they’re so impressed with its features and functions. The problem is that this totally ignores other factors in the purchase decision.

The truth is that there are a lot of other elements, many of which can work in your favor if you just communicate differently.

When was the last time you vowed that “I’ll never work with that company again” after getting burned? Or when you’re looking for products, you think, “Hmm, I don’t think I’ll look at things from that company”?

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Every person, every group has its superpower. In fact, it’s probably right under your nose and you don’t even recognize it.

Sometimes it’s a stunning differentiator in your product or service. That unique advantage that nobody else can touch.

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I was talking with a gentleman last week who happened to be traveling through Fort Collins and picked up my business card. It turns out that he was out here from the west coast because he has a desire to move to Colorado at some point in the future.

Perhaps. Maybe. Some day.

Being a coach, I had to ask him how serious he is about this. And, honestly, he didn’t really know. It’s just something he’s been pondering.

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on UnsplashCompanies market their products. They market the customer benefits.

They rarely talk about their deeply held values, as if that’s not relevant or interesting. But younger parts of our population are placing more importance on the company that stands behind their products.

We older folks do that, too, by the way. We just don’t tend to be quite as vocal about it.

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Photo by Sebastián León Prado on UnsplashEverybody wants to have a great company and a great life.

I’m fortunate to work with a number of inspiring business leaders, but it’s easy for them to lose their spark under the day-to-day pressure. No matter what your story is, you still have to make sure that nitty-gritty stuff gets done.

Paying the bills. Filing taxes. Paying your workers.

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