Your business is not your home.
Your home, with all its aesthetics and function, is largely to serve you and those you live with. If you like a piece of art, you buy it and hang it in your house and enjoy it. If you want a newer refrigerator in your kitchen, you buy one to replace your old one.
But your business is not your home. It’s primary purpose is not to serve you. Your business exists to serve others. That’s not to say that you can’t spend money in your business on things you like, you can – but that shouldn’t be your priority. Your priority should be to serve customers and employees with your business spending.
Serving others with your business spending isn’t only the right and most fulfilling thing to do, it’s also the wisest. Spending your business funds only on what you want, and not on what serves others best, is foolish.
Case in point:
Last year, Reader’s Digest published a short article on the National Guard’s sponsorship of Nascar. The article explained how the National Guard spent $136 million over 5 years on the sponsorship, but only yielded 20 potential recruits, with none joining. Missouri senator Claire McCaskill was cited as saying that the issue was due to marketing to the wrong demographic as most race-car fans are from 35 to 54 years old, but the National Guard seeks 18-to-24-year-olds.
It’s hard to understand why the National Guard initially decided to sponsor Nascar, since the demographics were so dissonant. But it’s clear from that case that we can’t make marketing spending decisions based solely on what we want or what we think would be cool.
In order to get the highest ROI for our marketing funds, we need to spend on what best serves our customers. We know this. But we also know how tempting it is to spend on putting our business names on something shiny, even if it doesn’t best serve our customers.
To run great businesses, we must sacrifice our desires to better serve others. We all have limited resources. The businesses that use every last resource to sustainably serve others well will be the businesses that succeed.
So let’s not worry about spending our marketing dollars on what we like. Let’s examine the best ways to reach out to and serve our customers with those funds. After all, we’re not in business to serve ourselves. We can use our homes for that. We’re in business to serve others.
Image info: Original, royalty-free photo from Kaboompics.
About the Author: Lindsey Tolino comes alongside artisans, craftsman and people monetizing their passions to help them create healthy businesses. She shares her heart at ToBusinessOwners.com. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino or connect with her on Google+.