Loyalty as a business model
When I pronounce the word Loyalty, what first comes to mind are kings and kingdoms and unbreakable ties made by knights and heroes. Definitely it is a strong word and I like it a lot. It bears connotations such as honor, gratitude and trust. Often we praise dogs as man’s best friend due to their loyalty, care and protection. And there’s also loyal friendship of course- someone who can always be counted on. But what about business? History is filled with businessmen who cheated their way to success filled with corruption. Can you reverse that trend? Of course.
Drawings by Yeun Kyung Ahn
Are Loyal Customers so important?
When we start business, we are taught to analyse our potential customers, to focus on our “buyer persona” and direct our campaigns to reach, engage and trap them in our universe hoping they will remain forever choosing our products among all others. It is in fact important to find loyal customers that will ultimately accompany us in the long term and, as our best marketers promote proudly our brand everywhere they go. This is one of the keys to Nike’s global success. Today I want to transmit you that more often companies struggle to keep their own members, and betrayal episodes are very common. The reason is because little sense of loyalty exists inside organizations, and it is easily devalued by money.
It’s a fact that unhappy employees are harmful to companies when they spread negative comments around the office or work in inefficient ways causing general distraction and delay. Given this, it makes sense that we should prepare ourselves to deal with acts of negativity. However, what better a way to avoid negative results than gaining the loyalty of your employees? It is because we are usually more concerned about how to solve the consequences of a problem that we are not truly making efforts to fix the root itself. And, where are most of our problems coming from? It all starts with the purpose of coming and working together. If that is not clear, if the members of your company can’t unite with your vision and don’t share common goals you can’t expect loyalty and commitment from them.
So… What is loyalty?
Once I heard, “Loyalty is shown in times of difficulty”. In fact, our results speak for us louder than our words. I can claim that last sentence from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, probably one of the greatest chinese entrepreneurs, who emerged with the largest internet company in China and one of the largest in the world. But as he always says, “we suffered more than any other company”. It was not an easy path and they never stop working hard. Instead, if they had given up due to difficulties he wouldn’t be speaking to thousands of people, and his words would mean nothing. But because of what they achieved, today the world listens to him. Therefore, you need to come up with a strong team, a loyal one, who will follow you not only in prosperous times but also in the hard ones, when commitment is proved. Your results are the results of your team, the persons who will invest everything for you like in the past knights fought for their king.
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine” – Jack Ma
And, as heroes become legends only after passing away, to prove someone’s loyalty we have to wait until the end, “unto their death”. Being loyal is not something temporary. What joyfulness, when in my job, I feel I’m serving a common purpose and want to give my best performance to drive the business to success. By doing so, I can find a new reason to wake up every day and go to bed with a sense of fulfilment. Such a strong loyal relationship towards a company and its vision will always be present inside a group as well as outside, therefore when a member has to leave, no matter the situation, they will always feel proud because of the time they offered. This feeling will be reciprocal as the organization is deeply grateful for the contributions they received from their co-worker.
Loyalty is a fundamental aspect and core principle when starting your own team and project. Loyalty must come from you, as manager, first and foremost. The whole team can fall apart if it doesn’t stand on a good foundation. Show them that your success is their success and share your vision with all of them. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, is a great example for us. He bet on his idea of making electric cars affordable for everybody but he knew he might fail so he went with everything he had. He was the first one to invest everything (he literally invested all his money) and remain loyal to his vision even in the hardest moments, when it seemed that his company was over, knowing he had to be the last person to leave. Thanks to his stubbornness, today Tesla Motors did not just survive but became a leading company in the field of electric cars.
Become a patriot, find a purpose, serve your nation, your community. Be passionate about it! In our way to success, obstacles are always present trying to deviate us from our real goals. Once we have clear what we want to achieve, it will become easier to reach the finish line. Is money your final objective? Set big goals and establish action steps, money itself is not an end but a tool, one more step. The clearer is your purpose the stronger you will be against the odds. Keeping loyal to your principles, stubborn to your good ideas, that’s what will decide if you succeed or you fail!
“1st: Find a purpose; 2nd: be loyal to the vision; 3rd: be the rock for others to stand to.”
To summarize, loyalty shouldn’t be just expected from our customers but should first exist within our own company. And before our company, loyalty should come from within ourselfs as source of energy and the engine that provides for the whole. 1st: Find a purpose; 2nd: be loyal to the vision; 3rd: be the rock for others to stand to. When we experience this in our lifes, loyalty passes to be just a word, part of our vocabulary, to become our attitude towards our living, and in extension, a true business model.