WYWO: What does success sound like?

Achieving small business success can sometimes feel like it requires a sixth sense.

Spoiler alert: your business was successful the whole time.

But what about our other five senses?

We know what success feels like: shaking hands, typing emails, the sting of paper cuts from counting stacks of money.

We know what it looks like: happy customers, charts with red arrows, neon “open” signs.

We know what it tastes like: victory, champagne, chicken (we assume).

We know what it smells like: coffee, more coffee, way too much coffee.

That just leaves us with…

The sounds of small business success.

People experience music differently. Some of us like alternative rock. Some prefer the soothing sounds of adult contemporary. And for a short period in the 90s, many of us were convinced we might actually like swing music.

Like music, certain sounds resonate more with some small business owners than others. Here are some examples:

  • Delivery dings: The ubiquity of food delivery platforms like Grubhub and DoorDash means many restaurants now use tablets to facilitate pickup orders. For some, the telltale ding of an order coming in signals a successful day. For others, it’s the sound of their margins shrinking even further.
  • Bubbling conversations: Whether it’s a quick chat with a client or a productive meeting of minds, the sounds of workplace conversations are an important aspect of running a business. But while some exchanges are worth your time, others can be a drain on your workday.
  • Ringing phones: incoming calls are (almost) always a good sign for small businesses because (almost) all calls represent an opportunity. For those who struggle with phone anxiety, however, a ringing phone can sound a lot more like nails on a chalkboard.

Whatever success sounds like to your small business, it starts with listening to your customers and your community—so make sure to keep those ears open.

Till next time!

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