Symbols for Success

This Sunday in the USA we celebrate Flag Day. It’s a day to honor the symbol that has stood for so much for our country for so many years. So today I wanted to share a few thoughts about it with you, thoughts that speak to how you can build a business that endures for at least 200 years.

The flag has changed over the years:
The flag has been changed 26 times since 1777. That’s not really a lot of changes for that many years, but to stay as iconic as it has, means that not only have the changes been made in a way that is representative of the country, but not so much that people can’t still identify with it. You will face changes in your business, and you will lose some followers along the way. The challenge is to make changes in such a way that your people can still identify with you, even more people identify with you, and you’re doing more to make the world a better place.

The flag is a symbol:
As John Thune said: “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” It’s like seeing the “Golden Arches” or the pyramids of Egypt or the Apple icon. The symbol is something that communicates the same message across cultures and people and languages, and still shares the same message no matter where it is shared or who sees it.

The flag is more than a symbol:
As a business you’re so much more than just what you sell or the symbol you represent. I was talking with a client this week and when I asked her what she did she said “I’m a photographer” and that’s all she could really come up with to tell me about what she does, and has been doing for quite a few years. If you don’t have something passionate, something solid, something real, and something and/or someone identifiable behind the symbol all your work at creating a symbol is pointless. I can take photographs but I don’t have the skill or passion for it that she does, yet by not communicating what’s behind the symbol (in this case a job title) I have no reason to identify with or choose her over the other photographers I could work with.

The flag stands for people:
I talk with people who believe that numbers and dollar signs are the bottom line, like military maneuvers, votes or doing whatever it takes to have a perfect image. I believe that people are always the bottom line. Are you doing more to help your people, and even those who don’t completely identify with you, each day? Or are you so focused on the numbers that you forget that the numbers always represent people?

This Flag Day I encourage you to stand strong as a business owner, know you play a valuable role in making the world a better place, and do your part to help more people.

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