Every good business owner knows there are metrics for measuring success. Most often when we think along those lines, we immediately go to the bottom line in our profit and loss statements to determine the value and productivity of our company. The deficiency in this line of thinking is that it fails to adequately measure the outcome that our product or service provides to our clients, which I believe is central to creating a successful business. Additionally, it fails to allow your employees to see value in their work or measure your reputation within your industry.
As the Owner and CEO of Wavelengths Recovery, I am in the business of salvaging lives. My passionate team of employees work diligently to help our clients achieve and maintain sobriety by overcoming their addiction to the drugs and alcohol that demonize them. Every client has a unique story to tell and a treatment plan that fits their particular need. Unfortunately for me, I sometimes get caught up in the need to negotiate payer rates with insurance companies, pay vendor invoices, hire qualified employees, and navigate the maze of local, state, and federal regulations that govern my industry. It can be dizzying at times, and quite frankly, it keeps me from the things that motivated me to start my business in the first place.
So, every once in a while, I have to remind myself to step away from my spreadsheets to find my true success and reenergize my entrepreneurial passion. Even better yet, there are times when my business success finds me, and I’m reminded of our value beyond our bottom line. One such reminder recently found me in the form of a letter and photo from a former client, I’ll call her “Jane”. Her short but poignant note caused me to pause and reflect on the essence of my business and the team that worked diligently to get Jane on a path to sobriety. More importantly, the outcomes of her life since finding sobriety.
This young expectant mother came to Wavelengths Recovery filled with trauma, mired in regret and totally trapped in her addiction to drugs. For many in my industry, the challenge of treating a drug addicted-expectant mother is a huge red flag because the liability for treating a pregnant high-risk mother is immense. However; here at Wavelengths Recovery, we don’t live in our fears and we embrace the challenges placed before us. With that mindset we welcomed Jane into our Wavelengths family and began the process of helping her to heal and reclaim her life. To put it mildly, this was no easy task. It took perseverance by the Wavelengths team and a commitment from Jane. Finally, after 3 months of intensive treatment she walked out of our treatment center healthy, happy and ready to take on the challenges of life and motherhood.
As with many things in my business, we move on to the next task at hand, which for me meant a host of new clients who also needed our undivided attention. My team kept in contact with Jane through our alumni program, but our daily interactions had ended. And then one day, quite unexpectedly, I received a note and a picture from Jane. She had maintained her sobriety for 9 months and her baby boy was born healthy and drug free. She thanked the staff for giving her a second chance in life and stated in no uncertain terms that she and her son would not be alive today if not for Wavelengths. Attached to the note was a photo of her baby boy in a “onesie” with a Wavelengths logo emblazoned on the front.
I can’t begin to tell you how impactful Jane’s short note and photo was for both me and our entire Wavelengths family. Not only had we helped to salvage a life, but we also, God willing, helped to end the cycle of drug addiction that is often passed down through generations. Jane’s success was our success and her smiling baby photo validated all that our business had worked for throughout the year. We had made a difference!
So as the April tax deadline approaches, every Huntington Beach business owner will go through the annual ritual of meeting with their accountant and itemizing their profits and losses. I have yet to complete that process, but I know this: No matter what my accountant tells me, I already know I’ve had a successful year at Wavelengths and my bottom line has nothing to do with it. I ask each of you to remember Jane’s lesson. Each of us as business owners can make a difference with the products we sell or the services we provide. Whether we’re making someone’s vacation memorable or providing goods that help them get through the day, we can each make an impact. Certainly, turning a profit is important, but if you find your success in the passions that drove you to open your business, the profits will most certainly follow, and you will find fulfillment that money just can’t buy.