"We are in the people business and happen to use money as a way to serve the needs of the people" - former Frost CEO Joe Frost as retold by Tom Frost chairman emeritus.
This was a statement that Tom Frost's great uncle made to him many years ago. What a fascinating way for a leader to see their business. Mr. Frost's great uncle did not say they were in the banking business, or the lending business, they are in the people business. Money is not the object or goal, it was a way to serve the needs of people.
People may say this is from a time that has long since passed, that the emphasis is on money, productivity, the bottom line, shareholder value.
As small business owners, we are more wary of the bottom line because of our size. But the truth is all small business owners are in the people business. Clients do business with us because they are not an account number, they are John or Jane. Clients don't speak with a customer service representative or a sales agent, they speak to us, the owners. In some cases we can talk about how our families are doing because we have that connection.
I have read articles from marketing and sales consultants that emphasize that people don't want to do business with a company, they want to do business with people. They want to connect with the person they are working with or getting services from. This is why Joe Frost's statement may be even more valid today than it was then, and an important lesson for small business owners as well.