Kindness In Business – When it comes to running a business, kindness is key
Kindness in business is more than just being nice. It is about empathy. It is about caring for others and caring about how you make them feel. Running a business based on kindness makes it a simple business to run.
For example, when I meet with a new employee for the first time, I tell them I don’t have an employee manual with a bunch rules and regulations. Instead, we are guided in our business by kindness.
I tell them we (and now they) choose to be kind in every action we take regarding our company. I let the employee know I expect them to choose to be kind regarding how they handle themselves in our business.
Kindness in business works in every single interaction.
You don’t need rules and regulations when guided by kindness. For example:
- I don’t need to talk to an employee about poor hygiene because being kind to our customers’ means you bathe.
- The employee shouldn’t steal because that is unkind.
- The employee won’t come to work high or drunk because that is unkind.
Will the employee choose to take the right action every time? That’s not up to me. It’s up to them. I will say if I find an employee being “unkind” they get to move on out of our company.
Being kind means making correct moral and ethical choices, which makes it super easy to win new business. It is a pleasant surprise for people to interact with a company that makes the right and best choices. Learn my secrets to hiring kind employees.
For example, let’s say you needed your car repaired. One of your friends recommends a car repair business because, “They’re the cheapest.” A different friend recommends a car repair shop that is known for doing good work.
It’s possible you would choose the cheapest repair. Not me. I want to deal with a “kind” business that I can trust. Kindness enhances trust.
Our kindness idea starts with our mission statement.
Most times, company mission statements are poorly written and have little meaning. They’re just a bunch of business jargon. Check out this comic to see three terrible mission statements.
Our company mission statement actually means something and really works as a guide for running our business.
Our mission statement:
* Kindness is the bedrock of our business. Our decisions are based in kindness.
* We will beat the competition by treating our customers with kindness. (Side note: I mean actual customers and not potential customers. Sometimes you have to be rough around the edges to deal with bad potential customers.)
* We know the value of our employees and treat them with kindness automatically. Without them, our business would cease to exist. (Side note: If we value our employees, we will treat them with kindness.)
* Because we value our employees, we believe in leaders, not managers. You’ll never hear the word “manager” used in describing our business. What’s the difference? Managers manage and leaders lead. Leaders practice kindness just by leading employees.
* We believe in hiring kind, hardworking people. If mean or lazy people show up in the business, we gently, quickly, and firmly help them move along.
* We know that everyone occasionally makes mistakes. We believe in gently helping to correct mistakes and then learn from them.
Because we practice what we preach, our employees are super loyal to us. They pass that attitude along to our customers which, if we do a good job cleaning their home, helps us have loyal customers.
We also find it easy to hire great people even though we can’t pay the highest wages. Prospective employees see our help wanted ad on Indeed.com and realize, “No managers, and they’re going to be nice to me? Wow, that’s cool.”
I’ve met employees in fast-food restaurants that are advertising starting wages at $5 more per hour than we are. It doesn’t make a difference to our new hires. They are looking forward to being treated with kindness and to not having managers.
Being kind in business makes other businesses customers “ripe for the picking.”
Here is a great example:
Home Sweet Home Rentals
When I owned my residential property management business, Home Sweet Home Rentals, we were as kind as we could be to our tenants and our owners.
I never thought about it like that, but that’s how we (my ex and I) ran that business.
That kindness allowed us to grow as large as we wanted and work with only the nicest people.
“Good’ol Boys” property management companies had treated the St. George rentals owners and tenants horribly (no exaggeration). These were companies that had been around long before the massive growth of St. George. Those companies were well positioned to take advantage of the rental market’s intense growth from 2005 onwards.
When these companies got a new rental property owner who needed their rentals managed, the company knew ahead of time that their property management business was going to give very poor (unkind and unethical) service to these owners.
Why do I know that?
Because of the management contract those companies used. They made any new owners sign a contract with a one paragraph clause that stated that the owner could only cancel the contract on the anniversary of the contract start date and only if the property was vacant. The contract automatically renewed after the anniversary date.
If the owner cancelled the contract before the next anniversary date, the owner was on the hook for the management fees the company would have earned during the year. So, let’s say the owner cancelled during the first automatically renewed month of the new contract year. The owner would owe about 10% of the gross income normally collected in rent. This would end up being about $1,000.
Because of that contract clause, the company could treat their rental property owners poorly, and they did.
When I bought the property management business, I did two things within days of taking over the business. First, I fired the mean property owners (I don’t like mean people). Then I wrote a new property management contract that didn’t have that immoral clause in it.
Next, my ex and I wrote a sales letter that included this phrase (actual direct quote from the letter we wrote):
- Easy Exit Property Management Agreement – We make our management agreement easy to withdraw from. We want you to work with us because we are doing a good job, not because of a contract, filled with “lawyer-ese” that you can’t get out of. (We’re that good at what we do.)
After that, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. We mailed our sales letter monthly and then rental owners consistently called us and signed up with us.
We went from 30 doors managed to 130 doors managed in 24 months. Why? We promised to be kind to the rental owners and then followed through with that promise. By the way that was an increase in income of about $6,000/month or $600,000 extra during the ten years we owned the business.
What I’m saying to you, the reader of this article, is don’t be the crappy company, be the kind, moral company. It is so very easy to grow a business that is based on kindness.
So, be kind and carry a (pop) gun, because you’re going to be “shooting fish in a barrel” in your new house cleaning business. Your competitors will see to that.