A lot of factors can influence how successful (or unsuccessful) you are as a business owner. On any given day, especially if you’re owner of a small business, you likely have your hands in every part of your business—from customer acquisition and product fulfillment to responsibilities relating to accounting and HR. With so much going on, it’s not always easy to decide where to spend your time and energy. It’s also easy to push some things to the back burner for another day in order to focus on the tasks that directly affect how much money ends up in your cash register at the end of the day. But there’s one area you can’t afford to neglect or save for another day any longer: the amount of happiness (or lack thereof) that exists throughout your organization.
The purpose of this post is to give you a better idea of how happiness—employee happiness, customer happiness, your happiness—can impact the growth and sustainability of your business.
The easiest and perhaps most important place to start when gauging happiness at your business is with your employees. Your employees help you keep your business afloat. They help your customers, they come up with solutions that can make your business better, and they’re really your biggest brand advocates—unless they are unhappy. When your employees are unhappy, they aren’t as engaged, they aren’t as productive, and they don’t care as much about the success of your business.
A 2013 Gallup poll reported the following:
“The bulk of employees worldwide — 63% — are “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers. In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.” (Source)
The best thing you can do for your business is to make sure your employees are happy. If they’re not, figure out why and start trying to fix the problem. When your employees are happy, they’re more likely to make sure your customers are happy. When your customers are happy, they’re more likely to do business with you again—which will ultimately make you happy.
Read more on the importance of happy employees:
- Happy Employees = Hefty Profits by Meghan M. Biro, Contributor at Forbes
- One Simple Way You Can Boost Your Employees’ Happiness by Jessica Stillman, Contributor at Inc.
- Why Your Employees’ Happiness Matters — And What To Do About It by Eric Siu Contributor at Forbes
I hinted at the happiness of customers briefly above, but we’ll spend some time going into more detail here. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. They help you pay your bills, they help you pay your people, and they keep your brand and products alive. You have to dedicate yourself to keeping them happy (or figuring out why they aren’t). Here are a few statements pulled from a fantastic Help Scout ebook that will help paint a picture for you about how important happy customers are to your business:
1. “On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.” Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
2. “It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.” Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
3. “91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again.” Source: Lee Resources
4. “Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time.” Source: Lee Resources
I highly recommend you spend time going deeper into the ebook from Help Scout. It’s packed full of great information about customer behavior and loyalty.
Your customers deserve your attention. If you find out that they aren’t happy, do everything in your power to find out why they aren’t—then fix it. The success of your business depends on your ability to be proactive in this way.
Read more on how to keep customers happy:
- 10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business by Brian Honigman, Contributor at KISSmetrics
- Five Ways To Keep Customers Happy After The Sale by George Dennis, Contributor at Fast Company
- 3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Customers Happy by Stephanie Vozza, Contributor at Entrepreneur
You might have a good idea of how happy your employees and customers are, but what about your partners? These are the people and other businesses you work with for things like product manufacturing, fulfillment, shipping, branding, etc. As a business owner, do you regularly take time to gauge how happy they are? If not, you need to start doing so. When your suppliers and other partners aren’t happy, they don’t have as much of an interest in seeing you succeed. It might mean they take longer to fulfill order requests or fix the machines that you depend on and need in order to serve your customers.
When your partners are happy, they are much more likely to commit to helping you and your business succeed. They might be willing to give you discounts, help improve your products, or refer new business to you. Their loyalty can also mean that you don’t need to stress over having to constantly be on the look out for new partners that can (hopefully) meet your business needs.
Read more on developing good relationships with partners:
- How to Build Good Relationships with Your Suppliers by Susan Konig, Contributor at AllBusiness
- How to Find and Work With Suppliers by Entrepreneur
It’s also beneficial to take time to gauge how happy the leaders on your team are—including yourself. Your leaders set an example for how the rest of the people in your organization should feel and act. If you or your managers are unhappy and disengaged, how can you expect your employees to be happy? Or your customers?
Research has shown that happiness is contagious. So is stress. Which would you rather spread around and have your employees “catch”? Happiness or stress? As a leader, it’s up to you to set the stage for how you want your employees and customers to act and feel. Happiness starts with you and your leaders.
Read more about how to be a happy leader:
- The Happy Warrior: Research Reveals What Makes a Successful Leader by Gregory Ciotti, Writer at Help Scout
- 18 Things to Do Right Now to Be a Happier Small-Business Owner by Laura Schaefer, Contributor at Entrepreneur
Your online followers and their happiness can also impact your business growth. According to research, “Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16(nearly two times more) people about poor experiences.” (Source). Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, it’s never been easier for people to share their opinions and experiences with others. Your followers are made up of a mix of your past customers (the happy ones and the not so happy ones), your current customers (the happy ones and the frustrated ones) and people who could be your next customers (the ones who are still trying to decide if they want to do business with you).
It’s to your benefit to do whatever it takes to make your followers happy—even if they aren’t doing business with you anymore. These days, the success and growth of your business depends greatly on things like reputation, word-of-mouth, and customer experiences. Do your best to pay attention to how your followers feel about you. If they aren’t happy, try to make it up to them.
Read more on how to keep your followers engaged and happy:
- Build A Community That Gives You Permission To Market To Them by Neil Patel
- The Secrets to Making Your Twitter Followers Happy by Laura Montini, Contributor at Inc.
A lot of factors can affect how successful your business is over time. Happiness is one of the big ones. As a business owner, you must take time to invest in keeping people happy throughout your organization—from your customers, to your partners, and even the people who no longer do business with you. To wrap up, here are a few quick tips for boosting happiness:
Tips for boosting happiness:
- Be proactive. Find out if people are happy and if they aren’t, find out what would make them happy.
- Listen. Don’t assume that people are happy, or why they aren’t.
- Make happiness a priority. Don’t put it on the back burner anymore.
What other tips can you offer to other business owners who are trying to boost happiness at their businesses? Leave a comment below.
5 Ways Happiness Impacts Business Growth Rob Wormley