I do not believe in luck. I appreciate good fortune, but it is just not reliable enough to call a friend. Luck has no place in business because it is an unpredictable force. Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best will not get the job done. So what is predictable? Hard work, perseverance, and one more trait that might surprise you.
That trait is love. And it has recently become clear to me that it is the greatest predictor of business success.
I strongly believe that love is essential to building a successful business. In fact, I just finished writing a book explaining my love-forward strategy. I have found that when you focus on building a product that people love and a workplace where employees can be their best, success follows. This approach creates a sustainable cycle of growth, loyalty, retention, and profitability.
Maybe you are thinking that love has no place at your work. Depending on the culture at your organization, it might even seem impossible that love could grow. But consider this — love is central to all human interactions. Business is simply a series of human interactions. So I think you would agree that love is central to the work we do.
Let's get back to the idea of predictable success. You do not get there by luck or by chasing impossible expectations and hype. You get there by producing a product that customers love and building a business that employees love to work for.
Because when you focus on creating lasting value — rather than chasing quick, unrealistic growth — you can build something lasting that you can be proud of. It is about having a vision and getting there with integrity and dedicated effort.
Here is how and why it works:
Love for your customers
How it works: You create a product that customers love, a product that solves their problems and makes their lives better. You keep showing your customers love by continually improving upon the product — listening and responding to their needs, delivering updates that surprise and delight them. And when problems arise, you respond with responsive, effective, and personable support.
Why it works: Because you focused on solving a real need, your product helps customers achieve something meaningful. Consistent interactions with your company will provide customers with the reassurance that you will continue to make them happy in the future. And that leads them to love and trust you, even recommending your product to others. It creates a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
Love for your team
How it works: You build a business where employees love to work. You do this by sharing a clear vision and showing the team how they are vital to realizing it. This means giving every team member a strong sense of purpose — making it clear how they are contributing to the larger picture. You then push and support them as they strive to reach new (and increasingly challenging) goals. And as a leader, you keep the cycle of love going by acting with transparency, kindness, and gratitude.
Why it works: That cycle creates sustainable growth and happiness. The team finds their work challenging and fulfilling, they are growing, and they feel respected. True, not every day will be perfect or a joy and issues will inevitably come up. But when employees are challenged and learning, they are passionate about being their best. That drives them every day and will be evident in everything they do.
Without love, long-term success will always escape you — no matter how hard you work or how much cash you have in the bank.
If you have read this far, then I can predict something else — you want to help build a product that delights and an organization that people truly care about, something meaningful and lasting.
If that sounds like the approach you want to take, you can read more about what love means to business in Lovability. It is a guide for achieving the kind of sustainable success that has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with hard work, perseverance, and taking a human-centered approach to work.
How has loved factored into your success?
Brian de Haaff seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world's #1 product road-map software — and the author of "Lovability." His two previous startups were acquired by well-known public companies. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life. Connect with him @bdehaaff