Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of companies is often help up as an example of an entrepreneur who started small and over the years has built a global empire of businesses – and all along following his own sense of how a business should operate.
He recently wrote a feature in Entrepreneur magazine that sends a logical message about business, but one that is often forgotten – your company does not exist to only serve customers.
Branson says: “Companies that survive and thrive over the long term have more significant interactions with their customers than just conducting transactions; great businesses are places where problems are solved and lives are improved. A sense of mission helps such enterprises to keep sight of the bigger picture.”
He suggests that all kinds of interactions with customers and potential customers beyond just the process of selling them something can be significant for a company – it’s all about interacting with the community around your business.
This kind of advice flies in the face of many business gurus who advise a laser-like focus on making the sale, but I think Branson’s view is right – in the long term a business needs to find a place in the community where it exists.
Branson suggests sending your team into local schools as volunteers. This helps to give the kids a real view on what people do at work and the business starts forming a relationship with future customers and employees at an early age.
This is just one idea, but it’s a good one. At Teleperformance our Citizen of the World programme encourages similar activities that allow our team to interact with their community. It’s not just about doing good for the sake of it – it helps the community and it can help your business too.
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