You see, when you perform an act of kindness you are doing something good from your heart, you feel happy as you get a sense of inner peace and you feel good about yourself. Physically, your brain produces chemicals such as dopamine, which is associated with positive thinking. Endorphins are also released, your own natural feel good, happy pills. These chemicals relax your nervous system helping you to feel less anxious, stressed or low. The warmth you experience when being kind is the release of the “emotional bonding” hormone called oxytocin, this dilates your blood vessels lowering your blood pressure, which also protects your cardio vascular system.
So what’s kindness got to do with my business?
As well as improving your own physical and emotional wellbeing, being kind to others can have multiple benefits for your business. It has been proven to increase motivation, productivity and enhance relationships with your employees, colleagues and customers.
Think about it, when you take part in a random act of kindness, what you are essentially doing is open heartedly giving love or compassion to others with no strings attached, an act of selflessness, not expecting a reward or recognition in return. This creates positive connections raising the energy and wellbeing of all of you, a collective win-win.
Random acts of kindness can help to strengthen your brand image, increase customer loyalty and open new channels to market. A number of large companies like Coca cola, KLM, Kleenex have performed random acts of kindness where they have given unexpectedly to customers leaving them feeling surprised and grateful, inspiring them to pay it forward and stay loyal to their brand. Some companies like Timberland and Pedigree use corporate social responsibility programs to do good for the environment, increasing brand awareness through positive media coverage.
One could argue that these random acts of kindness are actually clever marketing strategies backed by big branding campaigns and marketing budgets, they probably are. So what?
The point is random acts of kindness do not have to be grand gestures requiring a huge marketing budget but they DO need to be genuine, open hearted actions with zero agenda, expecting nothing in return.
Sure business is about making money but there are successful brands out there that have not forgotten their human side. So why should you or I? A lovely example is of A 10 year old LEGO fan, he had saved for the Emerald Night train set for two years only to discover that the brand had stopped selling it. He wrote to LEGO explainging how sad he was and if they had a spare set, unfortunately they replied saying there were unable to help. Lego then surprised him with the train set he had been dreaming of. His family was deeply grateful and uploaded a film of him opening the gift to YouTube, where it became a hit having more than 1.8 million views.
As a small business owner, there are many simple random acts of kindness that you could do to create positive energy and make a difference. You can do something different to surprise your employees or customers. Randomly give a bunch of flowers, pay for lunches, create a peaceful space in the office where people can come and talk to you, send a gratitude letter preferably handwritten as it is shows more thoughtfulness, mentor a young person, randomly give out coffees or cake in the high street, pay for a bus fair for the day, give sandwiches to the local nursing home. There are so many simple things you can do.
What’s the bottom line?
It is possible to pay attention to the human bottom line as well as the financial one. Being genuinely kind creates the attitude of gratitude, which generates abundance and wellbeing. Kindness illustrates values of integrity, goodwill and that you are united AND connected more than you may even realise. Whether you are a small business owner or a CEO of a large company surely kindness should be an integral core value of any business, a code of conduct to inspire goodness and not just a business strategy?