CenterEdge recently had the opportunity to sponsor and attend Foundations Entertainment University in Chicago, where FEC owners, operators and enthusiasts came together to learn, network and make decisions about their businesses.

Naturally, one topic spoken about throughout was the importance of delivering an exceptional guest experience. Most of us would agree that delivering an unrivaled guest experience is a top priority in the entertainment world … but it’s also easier said than done. Why is that?

Many businesses fail to understand that the best experience starts not with your guests and not even with your team members. It starts by asking yourself, “why?

Discover the Heart of Your Business’ Purpose

At Foundations, Birthday University’s Frank Price shared a snippet of Simon Sinek’s popular TED Talk “Start With Why.” He explained that the most successful experience makers all share a keen sense of why they’re in business. Your “why” should dig a little deeper into the feelings, memories or experiences you wish to create.

Doug Wilkerson, of Dynamic Designs, spoke of the importance of cohesive design elements in your physical space and coaxing the soul of a design theme to life. He mentioned a client who was building an FEC and loved airplanes because he and his father had built a relationship around planes. As a design concept, it would have been pretty straight forward to just install model airplanes or design the space to look like the inside of an airplane. But once their design team dug a little deeper, they uncovered the soul of the project and carefully selected materials, design elements and colors reminiscent of the era of early flight. According to Doug, once you have found the soul of design, all of your other design choices fall into place.

These are perfect examples of getting to the heart of your business’ purpose. Once you have a clear picture of why you’re in this business, and the feelings or memories you wish to invoke, all of your business decisions become easier. That purpose acts as true north on a metaphorical compass.

Fulfilling Your Business Identity

Often, people ask how you know if you’re fulfilling your purpose in a career or as a business owner. Business owners in particular have difficulty separating their business lives from their personal lives because you give so much of yourselves to your business.

It stands to reason then that if your business values and personal values conflict, this will lead to discontent. But, if you are clear on the answer to your “why”, on the soul of your business’ identity, or even on a specific core value (such as to “be the change”), you can view every necessary decision through the lens of whether it gets you closer to your purpose, or further from it.

As a leader, this means you should hire, train, manage and terminate team members based on your values. Doing so will impact how you treat your team and guests and, in turn, how staff behaves in your facility.

It’s important to remember, though, the truth in the adage, “values are who you are when you think no one is watching.” Simply stating your “why” isn’t enough. Any actions, especially when repeated, that contradict what you’ve communicated will be noticed, critiqued and can cause negative consequences.

If you haven’t reflected on the values at the heart of your business, consider making time to do it now and assess how aligned your recent business decisions have been with those values. For help determining your “why”, check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk or book, Start With Why.

No matter what you call the heart of your business – “why,” soul, purpose or core value – your business identity sets the tone for how you are perceived by your team and guests alike and impacts what you can accomplish within your community. Make sure it’s the identity you mean to create.

What is the core business identity of your FEC? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter

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