I often have the opportunity to address groups of business people and a question I sometimes ask is, “If your business disappeared tomorrow, would people say, ‘Oh well” or “OH @*^$!!!”? It’s an important question for several reasons.

One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a client who said he could not imagine being in business without us. Every business should want to be indispensable to its customers. This can come from a product or service or a combination since as we’ve discussed, your brand is really the total experience of doing business with you. Were Apple or Starbucks to disappear tomorrow, the reaction from their customers would likely be something other than, “Oh well.” This is because in those minds, no one else is capable of providing that brand experience. We call that Monopoly Control. It helps you be more profitable now AND collect a bigger payday if you sell your business.

Likewise, how would your employees react? Is this just another job to them or are they a part of something special? Do you have a purpose, vision and mission that they connect with? Are you providing a job experience that they likely won’t find anywhere else? The best performing employees tend to come to work for reasons other than money.

And what about the community as a whole? How do we all benefit from your business being a part of it? Job creation? Charitable support? Model Corporate Citizen? Educational opportunities? Tax revenues? You get the idea.

The central plot of It’s A Wonderful Life is George Bailey learning how much better off the world was for him having been in it. So, how much better off is the world for your business being in business? Take some real time this week to gauge how your business is impacting the world around you. How indispensable is it to your customers, your employees and your community – and how can you make it even more so?

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