“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

Peter Drucker

In the grand, often bewildering theater of life, where the plots thicken before the popcorn’s even buttered, there’s this quaint notion that’s been bandied about—that businesses, those mighty and minuscule, exist for a seemingly straightforward purpose. It’s not about hoarding stacks of cash in vaults like some cartoon villain or creating PowerPoint presentations so mesmerizing they leave the audience in a tearful, existential daze. No, it’s somewhat simpler, yet infinitely more complex—it’s about the artful dance of wooing and keeping a customer.

Imagine, if you will, a world where every business courted you like a lovestruck teenager armed with a mixtape filled with the greatest hits of the ’80s. There you are, strolling down the street, and businesses left and right are serenading you, each vying for a place in your heart (and wallet).

The butcher, with a twinkle in his eye, offers the choicest cuts of meat, while the baker, in a flour-dusted apron, presents a pastry so divine it could make a grown man weep with joy. It’s a courtship based not on fleeting whims but on the profound understanding that to win you over, they must offer something so irresistible, so utterly delightful, that you can’t help but return, time and again.

This, dear reader, is the essence of that seemingly mundane business mantra. But let’s peel back the layers, shall we? At its heart, it’s about connection, about creating something so splendid, so utterly useful or joy-inducing that it becomes a tiny, indispensable part of your life.

Like that coffee shop on the corner that knows your order by heart and asks about your dog by name. They’re not just selling coffee; they’re selling a warm, comforting slice of home. They’re the stage managers of a daily ritual that, without you even realizing it, becomes as cherished as the memory of your first bike ride without training wheels.

But ah, here lies the rub—the keeping part.

It’s one thing to dazzle with a grand gesture, quite another to sustain the magic. It’s like baking bread; anyone can follow a recipe and produce one decent loaf, but to do it day after day, with the same love and care, ensuring each crust is as golden and each crumb as tender as the last, that’s where the true artistry lies. It requires listening, adapting, and sometimes, letting your customers teach you a new dance step or two.

So, in this grand performance we call business, the goal isn’t just to bring the house down with a standing ovation; it’s to keep the audience coming back, show after show, season after season. It’s about crafting moments of delight, of genuine connection, that turn first-time patrons into lifelong fans. And perhaps, in the process, we discover it’s not just about the transaction, but the interaction, the human touch in the digital age, that truly keeps the world spinning.

In the end, it’s a reminder that behind every business strategy, every marketing plan, and every customer service manual, there’s a simple, powerful truth: we’re all just people, seeking a bit of magic in the mundane, a touch of connection in the chaos.

And if a business can provide that, well, they’ve not just earned a customer; they’ve made a friend. And in this wildly spinning world, what could be more precious than that?

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.