We need to get something clear straight away. Starting a Heartstrong business – a strong business with heart – is NOT for the faint of heart!
I’m sure there are plenty of old schoolers out there that may see the words ‘heart’ and ‘business’ in close proximity and think “what a cutesy concept”. Nope! Heartstrong doesn’t mean you need to be sappy, a pushover, all woo woo, or touchy feely. It doesn’t mean you won’t have conflict. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be able to escape difficult or painful decisions. And it certainly doesn’t mean that cursing will not be involved, I guarantee that!
Heartstrong does, however, mean that during both carefree and more challenging times, you are guided from a place of kindness, good intentions, and inner strength. It is powerful and empowering for those in your charge. Heartstrong is also collaborative and aims to bring out the best in your team, customers and community instead of being self-serving. But beware, it also comes loaded with the responsibility to defend and protect it – and this is where the ‘strong’ comes into play.
A strong business with heart can be described as having three primary attributes:
This means you build it with values that will guide your decision-making. That’s the good part! It also means when something or someone doesn’t measure up, you’ll need to step up or speak up. That’s the tough part.
Lack of quality implies mediocrity… and that’s not strong! That’s not to say offering generic products or competing on price are not valid business strategies; they are. These are completely different business models though.
Being quality-focused means you always need to be vigilant like a watch dog, or have managers that are, because we all see how easily quality can slip away. It requires a strong, unwavering commitment to uphold high standards.
This is the true test! Ultimately, a Heartstrong business must be financially, environmentally, and personally sustainable for you, it’s creator. This demands that you charge what you’re worth in order to survive. It also means you need to consider the wellbeing of your natural and social surroundings in order to uphold your community. In the process, you also cannot run yourself ragged, at least not indefinitely.
Building a strong business with heart is not a sprint. It’s an endurance race. Does any of this sound remotely cutesy?! I’d love to hear your thoughts…
If you or someone you know is building a strong business with heart, I’d love to hear about it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short narrative about the business, its owner, and why you think it fits the description above. You could be featured on a future blog post!