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The Happiness Business

Whether you like it or not, you’re in the happiness business. No matter what product or service you sell, your customer is looking for happiness, and counting on you to provide it.

People are always seeking happiness. In our seeking, we often mistake short-term pleasure for happiness, and end up unhappy, but it’s still happiness we seek. And if we make enough mistakes along the way, eventually we’ll find true happiness.

So for every customer, you’re a stop along the happiness journey. If you stay keenly aware of this fact in all aspects of your business, you will succeed.

We experience many types and levels of happiness, from the most basic to the sublime. From satisfaction of physical needs to glorious moments of joy, and countless levels in between. In the seeking, at this moment, each of us is looking for something slightly (or greatly) different.

Marketing happiness is difficult in its simplicity. It’s also critical.


· Listen to your customers. Understand as fully as possible what type and level of happiness your product and service provide.

· Tailor your message to precisely communicate customer happiness in that way.

· Take your message directly to the segment of your market that seeks the type and level of happiness your company can provide.


· Assume everybody needs your product.

· Assume what makes one person happy makes everybody happy.

· Assume that your product makes everybody happy in the same way.

· Blanket the market with features.

People move quickly along the happiness journey. It’s very possible, and optimal, that you can meet a single customer at several stops along the way, developing a “happiness relationship” that can have tremendous value beyond what the customer may have originally perceived.

In our own business, we meet the very basic need for security and survival (as perceived by the client) in the form of cash flow funding, the life blood of business. In this way, our business addresses the need for “basic happiness.” But in the process, we work together to locate additional business opportunities and grow the client’s business. This results in self-esteem, the sense of achievement, success, etc., which makes the client happy in a slightly deeper and less frantic sense. Along the way, we hope to build a relationship, a friendship, which leads to an even higher “form” of happiness. Ideally, we all share in that happiness which provides a very positive level of motivation and inspiration.

Much of our operational focus is on meeting that basic need. We know that if we can’t turn around cash flow in a hurry, we won’t ever get the chance to explore that next level of happiness. We know that all of our clients value cash flow for their “happiness,” so we make sure we can deliver it on their terms.

When you begin to assess your business from the happiness perspective, you’ll start to see aspects, positive and negative, about your business, from the eyes (and maybe even hearts) of your customers. You’ll begin to make changes, not only to your marketing message, but to your production, your administration, and even how you answer the phone.

So for your own happiness as business owners, don’t forget: whether you like it or not, you’re in the happiness business.


Tom SmithTom Smith is Vice President, Marketing for Riviera Finance, a nationwide commercial finance company and sponsor of the ASBDC. Prior to Riviera, he worked as an independent financial consultant and held various positions in finance and marketing for Xerox Corporation. He is married with two sons, and resides in the Tampa Bay area. Tom holds an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

With offices nationwide, Riviera Finance ( provides early-stage accounts receivable financing to small companies in need of cash flow. Riviera’s non-recourse factoring program includes full protection against bad debt, and complete receivables management services. Since 1969, Riviera Finance has funded over 20,000 small companies.

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