What business are you in?

Every business - including yours - is in the business of having people feel better ... whether you know it or not.

The primary motivation and the key consequence of everything we do is how we feel. Every action we take is to move away from pain or towards pleasure. Everything we do is in order to feel better. Sigmund Freud called this the Pleasure Principle: he said it motivates all human activity.

Why is this important in your business?

Because it is true for your customers too. They make purchases from you in order to feel better. When they buy your product or service, they are actually buying how that product or service will make them feel.

And it is the same for your staff ... their performance is based on how they feel. If you understand that you are in the business of having people feel better, and your competitors don't, you are like the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. This insight can reframe how you think about your product or service, how you tailor your marketing message and how you interact with your prospects and customers.

Richard Branson gets it. He says:

The idea that business is simply a numbers affair has always struck me as preposterous. For one thing I've never been particularly good at numbers, but I think I've done a reasonable job of feelings. And I'm convinced that it is feelings - and feelings alone - that account for the successes of the Virgin brand in all of its myriad forms.

I have a friend, Cameron, who also gets it. He is a mechanic. He noticed a very strange thing about his customers. They are happy to pay $1,000 to have their car repaired - but the thing they rave about is the free car wash, the car wash that would normally cost no more than $15.

In Cameron's waiting room, he provides his customers with a TV, magazines, comfortable couches, and coffee and tea. He does this because he realises that he is in the business of having people feel better. And he does lots of little things that have nothing to do with fixing cars, and everything to do with making people feel better.

It's one simple idea - and it has the power to transform your whole business.

What business are you in?