What business are you in?
That is a common question that new acquaintances ask us (even if it is grammatically incorrect). We’re all curious what widgets someone is making and selling.
I’ve never heard anyone answer it the right way. But I’ll bet David Baldwin would. He is the owner of the legendary Pancake Pantry in Nashville, the restaurant with the line wrapped around the restaurant every Saturday morning…it’s that popular.
I was recently reading about his restaurant in The Spirit of Nashville: The Art & Soul Of Music City, a collection of posters and stories about famous Nashville landmarks. His quote is highlighted below:
“Now we’re in the business of building relationships.”
Baldwin knows what business he is in. Waiters know their customers by name. They know their favorites and place the orders for them when they walk in the door.
He and his staff know that the product is important. In their case, it’s pancakes. But they know that the human connection is much more valuable and impactful.
They know that in the restaurant business the taste that the staff leaves in your mouth is just as, if not more, important than the taste of the food.
Salt to the world
I think it’s appropriate that Jesus called His followers to be salt to the world. Granted extra salt would not taste very good on pancakes, but what He was saying is that people are what flavor the world. Relationships, not products, cause powerful memories, emotional connections, and customers to keep coming back.
Side note: I’ve often been at unease with the “salt to the world” statement. I come from a family with a history of hypertension and have long believed that salt, as a dietary component, was dangerous. That is until very recently. In 2011, a study performed by the European Project on Genes in Hypertension (EPOGH) set out to confirm that a reduction in salt intake would reduce the number of cardiovascular events. They followed over 3,500 participants for almost eight years and their research surprised them. The people who ate less salt had the highest risk of dying; those who ate the most salt had the lowest mortality rate.
Just something to ponder if you were like me on salt. I know that it changed the way I look at Jesus’ commandment.
No matter what product you make, where you work, or what you do, you are in the relationship business. You individually. Your division. Your company.
No matter what product you make, where you work, or what you do, you are salt to the world. You flavor your division. Your division flavors the company. Your company flavors the world.
Now go act like it.
How can you create better relationships with those who interact with your company today?