Your Business Philosophy?
Marketing Minute Subscribers Talk Back
by Marcia Yudkin
Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.
The Question Put to Marketing Minute
"My company helps people
in distress save their homes before they lose
them via auctions to sharks," wrote a guy
named Ike Okwuosa from San Francisco,
introducing himself. "I operate under the
abiding business ethos that a mutually
beneficial solution for all concerned is a
win-win deal, and
every human interaction, no matter how
innocuous, is a holy encounter. This way of
thinking is reflected in my company position
statement, 'Because People Are More Important
Sincerity came through loudly and clearly in
this statement. It got me wondering how many
other people express a personal calling, a
spiritual philosophy in their work.
Later in our correspondence, Okwuosa asked me a
question I couldn't answer at first: "How
about you, Marcia - what is your business
After thinking and thinking, I came up with two
principles I hold dear: Integrity always
matters, and excellence is worth pursuing for
its own sake. These values have governed my life
for more than thirty years. Yet I've rarely put
them into words and never used them in
marketing. They're simply who I am.
TALK BACK! Do you too have a spiritual
underpinning to the way you do business? What is
it and how does it affect your business
strategies and interactions? Do you think it's
better to convey this philosophy to customers or
keep it to yourself? Press "reply" to
send me your thoughts. I'll post extracts from
subscriber comments for next week.
Responses from Marketing Minute Subscribers
Here are excerpts
from many of the responses I received, very
lightly edited in some cases for smooth reading.
Thank you all for your candor and
In response to
your inquiry about spiritual messages conveyed
through a business philosophy, I have been
inspired to state one because of the quality of
woman I wish to reach. My statement
is "Empowering women to age with
style." I wouldn't call it spiritual,
though. It is more to describe a serious
intent to a frivolous name (gorgeous grandma).
In fact, I use it as a header at my website as
well as for my newsletter, HOT FLASHES.
The thrust and intent of the Gorgeous Grandma
concept is to inspire women to age well through
attitude and image. And who is a Gorgeous
Grandma? She is any woman over fifty who
believes she has her whole life ahead of her,
not her whole life behind her.
Columnist, Radio Host, and Author of HELLO
GORGEOUS! How to Find the Love of Your Life
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is so pertinent and so much in keeping with the
the holiday classic movie "It's A Wonderful
Life" (which, I confess, I
watched for the first time this past Christmas
-- what I have missed all
these years!!). The message: How you
treat people is much more important than the
almighty dollar. You can be profitable, serve a
purpose in society, and be a good person with
whom to do business.
My esteemed colleague, Gary Hoover, founder of
Hoover's Online, also confirms that unless your
business vision / mission statement mentions: 1)
how you will serve & treat people, 2) how
you will bring your passion(s) to the
marketplace, your business is doomed to failure.
Finally, my husband is in the car wash business
here in Austin. His goal --
always -- has been to run the cleanest, most
well-maintained, and safest car wash facilities
in town -- if not the country. (I swear you
could eat off the pavement they are so clean).
He works very hard, hires friendly employees,
keeps each car wash in tip top condition at all
times, has good lighting, continually upgrades
to the newest equipment, keeps the place
painted, and promptly issues refunds when
customers aren't happy or the equipment doesn't
As a result, his washes generate about 3 - 10x
the income that his
competitors make. Another great example!
Quality and caring about the
customer experience and having pride in what you
do creates goodwill and good business.
DeNucci, Writer / RainMaker, DeNucci & Co.
As Marcia had
been my mentor for many years I can personally
verify her philosophy of delivering excellence
is practiced as well as preached. My
personal philosophy is far more spiritual - I
believe the customers who find me are meant to
find me and receive excellent value. Those
who remain oblivious aren't "meant" to
get the message or the value. Conveying
this philosophy on my deg.com web page would
detract from my target corporate/business
President, Deg.Com Communications
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I believe that
everyone has spiritual underpinnings in
everything they do, whether they want to or not.
Each one perceives and acts based on what they
believe, ranging from so-called nothing to
everything. We are unavoidably spiritual beings
walking upside down around this ball floating in
the mystery of infinite space.
My rockpop band, "AsWeDream" describe
ourselves as offering music "to intrigue
and inspire" with "messages including
hope, priorities, love, death and of course:
dreams." So yes, our philosophies are
conveyed in our art and business. I'd like to
see a whole lot more spiritual elements
acknowledged and expressed in our current dry,
lop-sided and overly materialistic corporate
I think you have
to be very careful with something like this.
The one you quoted is great, but I've seen
others that I find offensive. The ones
that bother me are those that are clearly based
on a particular religion, with the implication
that other believers aren't nearly as holy.
It may be the most important thing in your life,
but selling is about listening to the customer,
Consulting & software development http://home.attbi.com/~jeffkenton
I get all my suppliers and vendors to sign this
and I encourage others to
Timothy R V Foster, Chief SloganMaven
ADSlogans Unlimited www.adslogans.co.uk
After being very
sick with several chronic auto immune illnesses
1. I learned I could respond to illness as a
challenge I could meet, rather than as something
that could defeat me.
2. I found I could use what I had learned in
this specific situation and apply it to other
challenges in my life.
3. I discovered I could show others how to use
these same insights to be more successful in
their own work lives.
Today, I'm happy to say that not only am I
healthier than I've ever been, I've built my
executive coaching business on these 3 ideas.
Rosalind Joffe, M.Ed., Principal
Taking senior leaders and their teams from where
they are to where they want to be.
I am a
psychotherapist who specializes in the areas of
divorce and remarriage. I began working
specifically in this area after I had
"recovered" from my own divorce.
Because I know how difficult going through a
divorce can be, I am very passionate about going
the extra mile to help my clients. For instance,
because I find journaling very helpful, I will
make and give journals to some of my clients
(with phrases and pictures specific to their
situations) to encourage them to write out their
Through this and
other things I do, my clients realize my
commitment. I do not do it however because it's
good business, I do it because I care. It is not
necessary to publish this as my business
philosophy or to put it in marketing materials.
As you stated, it is simply who I am. If I am
successful in demonstrating my commitment and
caring, my actions will speak volumes more than
any words can.
As well as being
a mystery writer and the owner of my own
publishing company, Covenant Signature
Publishing, I am also a Christian and,
therefore, always try to convey some portion of
spiritual philosophy, not
only into my professional business practices,
but also directly within the
books I write and sell.
I consider it both an honor and a privilege to
interact with other human
beings, be it receiving instruction from a
co-worker in the office or simply
passing on a smile to a stranger on the street.
People are very important
and life, itself, is irreplaceable. These two
philosophies I stand firm on.
In my opinion it is of dire importance to
implement even the slightest
spiritual philosophy into one's business ethics.
(Without the spirit the
body is dead.) We all lead different lives and
all do different things, but
the bottom line is that we're all in this
together. And people need to know
that people care.
Well, I wouldn't
call them "spiritual", but they
reflect our personal thoughts on business:
1. We would love to have one of our products
provide a solution to our customer's problem,
but maybe it just won't. And if it won't, we
don't try to force it to work just to make the
sale! We will happily suggest whatever will work
well, even it it is not our product.
2. We provide our products with everything they
need to put them to use immediately. We do not
advertise low prices on base models that really
require a number of "options" or
"accessories" at additional cost to
get the job done.
We definitely tell our customers about our
philosophy (some of this is on our web site),
and some of them appreciate it a lot.
Industrologic, Inc. www.industrologic.com
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Yes, my business
has a definite spiritual underpinning. I see
what I do as a calling from God, and
increasingly am seeing my role as caring for
people - customers, subcontractors, anyone I
come across. However I haven't yet come to a
satisfactory way of summarising it for public
As a fundamentalist Christian I've come across
many other Christians who do the most tacky
things around - from Jesus bumper stickers to
wacky slogans like "Serving you to serve
God"! I want to avoid that kind of image,
because it's often associated with insincerity
and using religion as a marketing tool - which I
don't want to do!
At the moment the sincerest statement of
spirituality in the workplace is
doing work well, on time, and with care. I'm
working on those all the time.
Simon Young, Director, Simon Young Writers
Auckland, New Zealand www.SimonYoung.co.nz
philosophy behind my business:
Making a living should not interfere with
building strong families, which are the
foundation of a strong society. God is honored
when we follow His plan for family life.
WorkOptions.com ultimately helps families.
Family relationships are personal. So the
framework I've outlined above helps me keep a
personal approach and tone in my client
interactions and business/marketing decisions.
This personal focus/mission is reflected in
WorkOptions.com's content (and lack of
commercial distractions) to a degree. Based on
site visitor feedback and client testimonials,
individuals seem to "get" the essence
of my mission.
Flex Your Work Time. Reap More Life Time.
is not (necessarily) "Religious." If
we think of "Spiritual" as
"Humanistic" in the sense of caring
about others and wanting to convey and
distribute, in a sense, that quality of our
life-and-business-outook to people who hold
similar values, and thereby maybe attract them
as business clients, then I think it is fine. I
think just "saying the words"-- and
not following through in ways of communicating
and relating to clients--is not fine. I also
think it will show up eventually, either way.
So, if one wants to really spell it out in a
literal way then they may attract people who
value those kinds of statements--and they may
put off others. If they have those same values
and beliefs, they may not want to put it out
into the world in marketing and they may still
attract the same people.
Barbara Jacobs Color and Design
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principles for my business are (1) I treat
people the way that I want to be treated, and
(2) when I have completed a web site for a
client, I want that client to be thrilled with
the result, to feel that the finished product is
exactly what he/she had in mind.
While I don't
articulate these principles in my marketing
material, I always act according to principle
#1, and I actually do tell people during our
initial phone conversations that my goal is to
create a site with which they will be thrilled.
I suppose I don't put these principles in my
promotional material because I feel that, in
this case, actions definitely speak louder than
working on a business concept that is about 90%
complete. Its Culture/Philosophy
Beacon will treat you with the utmost respect,
delivering the highest customer care following
absolute moral and ethical standards as taught
by the holy scriptures. While we will not
impose our personal
beliefs on you, you can expect to receive
straight-forward, honest, proven and ready to
implement advice with outstanding value for your
investment. Unlike most marketing businesses
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William Russell, Principal Coach
The Marketing Beacon
My philosophy of
life and business is I try to be ethical and
seem to succeed thereby. I also try to be a nice
person. My good friend, television and
radio talk show host, Joe Franklin, told me,
"It's nice to be important, but it's
important to be nice." I don't tell
this to my clients; I don't have to since my
reputation precedes me.
New York City
strongly enough in conveying the spiritual
underpinning of my business that I've just
written a book on the subject (Principled
Profit: Marketing That Puts People First,
available in May or June of 2003) and set up the
beginnings of a website and e-zine (www.principledprofit.com).
I want to tell the whole world that not only do
I operate out of ethics and integrity, but that
their businesses will be more successful if they
do the same.
In the book, I make a number of key points that
I am hoping will actually change the way
business is done in our society. Here are a few
of the most important:
* Market share is irrelevant; the world is
abundant and there's room for everyone to
* You can actively profit from your competitors'
* Honesty, integrity, and quality are far more
important than quick profits - the Golden Rule
actually WORKS in business
* As you create value for others, you build
value in your own business
* The most important sales skill isn't even
Author, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in
a Noisy World
In my business
dealings over the years as an executive in the
industrial foodservice industry my business
philosophy has always been "honesty at
all cost". When I was giving presentations
in the Detroit auto boardrooms I would always be
honest with all the facts, and you know what - I
did lose some contracts by being straight up on
the honesty issue, but over time it always paid
On one occasion I
lost out on a million dollar automotive
contract, but a few years later the same
purchasing manager (he didn't forget my honesty)
awarded me a ten million dollar contract.
And you know what - you sleep a lot better than
your competitors when you are completely honest
with your customers.
are a lot smarter and detect when you are not
completely honest with them. You risk your
companies future by being
anything but straight up honest in today's
business environment. I will
continue to use this philosophy - "honesty
at all costs".
Larry Fowler, President
ALLIANCE Purchasing Services Inc.
I agree with you
and Mr. Okwuosa . . . . . our personal
philosophies are or should be our defining and
driving motivation. I do think we should
them with our clients. My personal
philosophy or truth is that service
follows commission. Because of this
philosophy I perform the service first,
to the best of my ability, and let the payment
take care of itself.
Century 21 Southern Homes Inc www.BrianWhiting.com
Who I am affects
what I do. My spiritual foundation is exhibited
in the way I conduct my business. I would want
my customers to know what "makes me do what
I do". I want to draw to me people of like
mind and win over to my way of thinking the
people of contrary dispositions. I don't
advocate that one "preaches a sermon"
however, as my doctrine prescribes, "as a
man thinketh, so is he". I let my light
shine and they see by "how" I do my
business, who "really" runs my
business. In the end, I am happy and my
customers are happy too.
I do think it is
important to give clients your philosophy. Maybe
it comes from my years of doing clinical
therapy, where I always explained at a first
visit my philosophy as a therapist. I think it
is important for consulting clients to hear it,
whether they are organizations or individuals,
as in the end it is individuals that we are
affecting. If I was selling a physical product,
I'd feel that way too.
Here's what I put
in my brochure: Laura McAlpine's philosophy of
social change and healthy communities
underscores the importance of:
* Problem solving through collective exploration
* Researching best practices and creating local
* Valuing diversity and promoting human rights
I think Mr.
Okwuosa's Position Statement is good, and such
statements are the obvious place to have your
spirituality/integrity shine through. However
one should avoid "overkill," which
would immediately be recognized as disgenuious
by those who have a spiritual life.
Spirituality as a "benefit" of one's
product or service is a very thin strand; it
should come through your demeanor, not your
There are obvious caveats, such as if your
business is spiritual healing, massage therapy,
etc., where folks are looking for spiritual
providers. But even then, one of Tim's marketing
axioms is "Why use a sledgehammer when a
rubber mallet will do?" Make such
references subtle; the people you're trying to
reach will "get it."
I'm from the
school of thought that what you focus your
attention on expands. So if I dwell on the lack
of customers walking in the door, suddenly foot
traffic at Sign*A*Rama dwindles to near nothing.
When I consciously or semi-consciously think
about a customer who hasn't contacted us in a
while, lo and behold, they walk in the door,
We don't talk about this directly with our
customers; it's simply too hard or considered to
be too "voodoo" to discuss, but for
people who have the same experiences, it's
interesting to talk to them about it.
Paula Diaco, co-owner
Sign*a*Rama, Burlington, VT
brings foreign trainees into the US to learn
about dairy herd management--and more
importantly (as I remind them as problems come
up), to learn about themselves and the world.
I strongly believe that the whole world would
have less domestic and international conflicts
if we could see each other always as people
first, and a nationality second. My own
experiences in living and working abroad changed
my outlook and way of interacting with people.
I think it influences the way I match the host
farms and the trainees; the way I try to help
them resolve problems; the way I interact with
everyone in general.
Jill Stahl Tyler, Stahl & Associates
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I do have a
spiritual underpinning to the way I work, my
job. And it's not
just because I work at a spiritual place - www.spirituality.com.
My spiritual underpinning brings my best self
out in business interactions,
partnerships and strategic development. I pray
each morning to bring my best to my work. I pray
also to see the best in others. My relationship
to a Higher Power, I call God, is what drives my
prayer, spiritual study and
My prayer helps me go beyond my current skills
sometimes too -- to be my most eloquent,
understanding of others and helpful in the work
I am comfortable sharing the honest, ethical and
even spiritual vision for
my work with customers and with vendors. They
find it refreshing. I believe that since my
vendors and partners know the importance of the
spiritual underpinning of our work - we stay on
the same page.
Kim Proctor, Marketing Manager
philosophy is "You have two choices in life
and in business.
You can either proactively choose to pursue
excellence or you WILL by
default tolerate mediocrity. The choice is
yours." I find that unless a
prospect shares those philosophies we don't
usually have a good fit for each other.
This is two-edged
for us. As a non-profit giving workshops to
parents about young children and media, we are
driven by a calling. However, so many
people in this field are identified with the
religious right, it is difficult to articulate
our passion and differentiate ourselves.
We want the children to be free to find their
own voices through more direct sensory
experience, while others want to have more
control over the young mind.
Ariadne's Children...Tools for Healthy Media
apparent to me as I build my business (which has
a strong spiritual component) that hiding behind
ambiguous words that I think are
"acceptable" from another's
perspective simply water down my message. For
example, using "stress reduction"
instead of "yoga". If I can speak
clearly and sincerely about the work I do, it's
easier for other's to understand how it fits
into their life. I thought at first the creation
of a marketing message was about having it ring
true for others. The truth, as I'm finding out,
is that the message needs to ring true
for me first.
Megan McDonough, Business Yogi www.urinfinityinabox.com
Helping others work and live with ease
businesses are afraid to express spiritual
philosophy as they feel
they will be held to it by a customer, and
sometimes people make mistakes. As a consumer,
companies that are willing to express such
statements, always produce a greater level of
confidence in me about their products and
Consider this - what if your doctor had never
publicly taken her Hippocratic oath? Would you
be as confident about her services?
Keianne Mantai, Marketing Assistant
Fleming & Associates Inc.
One's work is
only an extension of one's philosophy...why not
communicate it to your customers, partners and
investors? It tells them that behind a sound
business is a sound mind based on character and
business philosophy in your marketing is not
only desirable in all businesses but essential
in those businesses in which
relationship-building is a key ingredient to
success. If your business philosophy shines
through, you will be able to:
a) attract customers who connect with your
thinking, thus increasing
your chances of really enjoying your work,
b) create a uniqueness in your business to help
you stand out from other
equally qualified competitors, and
c) convey personality and particularly a
personable approach - so
important for building memorable relationships.
Campaigns Creative Marketing Services Inc.
The Holy Bible is
my philosophy for all matters - business
included. Not too long ago, I gave myself a
challenge: to look at each person I encounter as
a child of the same God who created me.
Wow - that makes for an interesting connection
with even the remotest stranger!
Just sign me -
Shari in Alabama
with Ike Okwuosa and with Marketing Minute
subscribers was undoubtedly one impetus (among
others) for my subsequent interest in seeing how
business owners and solo entrepreneurs could
convey their values, commitments and personality
on their website. This theme became a key
component in my online course, Personal
Branding for Introverts.
As much as half
of that course focuses on both subtle and
obvious techniques you can use to attract your
ideal clients - those who are going to
"click" instantly with you and
appreciate how you operate. Once
implemented, these communication components take
much of the stress out of marketing.
Dealing with clients becomes more of a pleasure,
less fraught with frustrations.
Check out Personal
Branding for Introverts.