Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to the deep south for a few days of rest and relaxation with my family. My wife had never been to a few of the destinations we visited and was taken back by the politeness and genuine smiles from people we did not know and would probably never see again. Southern hospitality has truly taken on a new meaning for us and I started thinking about hospitality in the service industry. What type of value do we communicate with our words, smiles, and body language to the people we encounter?
My attention then turned to our decision to expand into another market- the great city of Chicago. We have been contemplating this move for a long time and felt the timing was finally right, even as the economy struggles. As the challenge of growth and business development seem to be ever increasing, my thoughts immediately went back to the feeling we received from warm smiles and a culture of sincerity. What if, by design, we bring this power of southern comfort to every touch point our customers have – even in Chicago?
Too often, as small business leaders, we focus time and energy on the what; and we are blinded to the why. Please don’t misunderstand- my goal is not to theorize about our purpose for being; nor is it to minimize the importance of operational excellence. The real question is pointed to something much more basic, yet infinitely more profound. Do our clients truly believe that we actually care and we want to help them? My point is- do we have the vision and culture that attract people who want to smile? Maybe good old fashioned southern hospitality is just what we need to expand our horizons, our locations-and our bottom line.