A lot of success in owning a business comes from making people happy. This includes: empowering employees, meeting deadlines, delivering high quality to clients, and, though often forgotten, taking care of self and family. Let’s face it, we live in the interpersonal. And, this all requires emotional intelligence, intellectual agility, and tact.
For all of the communication we experience daily, there is one phrase we can always lean on to strengthen relationships and validate efforts:
“How Can I Help?”
It’s the first thing we ask each other in our company;
It’s the first thing we ask our business owners; and
It’s the first thing we ask ourselves every morning.
Yes, you must make money to win at business. Winning motivates us, and those victories are inherently attached to profit. We want to outwork our competitors and gain market share. All of that ties back to helping people.
Conduit to Communication
To help, we need to communicate. It is too easy as a business owner to assign meaning without recognizing emotion. Every interaction you have—with an employee, vendor, supplier, service provider, colleague, customer, or client—involves emotions, both yours and theirs. Put yourself out there by asking how you can help. You will gain insight into what matters most, which will enable you to map the best path forward, together.
Key to Creating Value
Running a business is not a selfless exercise—but you can be giving as part of your business approach. There is a reason small business is the backbone of America, representing 99.9% of all companies and 44% of our country’s Gross Domestic Product. Owners start businesses to meet clients’ and customers’ needs. There is a pain point or unfulfilled need that an entrepreneur wants to solve. Employees look for more than just a paycheck; they want to share in meeting those needs. We all want to be appreciated, and what better way is there than helping someone.
Every product or service exists to help someone in some way, shape, or form. In turn, the business creates jobs, connects people, enhances communities, and puts good into the world. See, your for-profit company is more altruistic than you might have realized!
An Attitude of Service
Successful business owners listen to the market, identify a need, and provide a solution with a service or product. Service providers help business owners reflect on their own needs. The answer, however, doesn’t lie with the provider. Service is about listening and helping to direct people to their best outcome. Don’t throw them into a pre-planned process and prescriptive, one-fits-all tool.
Our job is to stand with a business owner, educate them about the different paths available, help them find what fits them best, identify the win, and facilitate achieving that win. Wherever the road takes us, we are a trusted advisor; there to listen, coach, and mentor along the way. What better way to initiate that relationship than by asking, “How can I help?”
The Easiest Icebreaker
We know this phrase works because we use it regularly to serve the best interests of our staff, clients, others, and ourselves. It is extremely productive; it is also a friendly and approachable way to start a conversation. It is powerful always, and especially now.
How can we help you today?