Building a Business with Empathy (and driving success…!)

This is a guest post from Jori Hamiltion (see her bio at the end of the article)

Empathy is understanding other people, sharing their feelings, and seeing things from perspectives. You’re essentially able to put yourself in their shoes. The benefits your personal life can reap with empathy are evident.

But so are the advantages for your small business. Building your small business with empathy at its crux can directly influence your success. Keep reading for more on how empathetic business building can help you succeed.

Grow Genuine Customer Relationships

Empathy is necessary for growing genuine relationships with anyone, your customers included.

It allows you to understand your customers better. You can learn their motivations, strengths, and limitations and get a holistic view of their world and who they are.

When you show your customers that you’re actually listening to and interested in them, they’re more likely to continue opening up to you. And that, in turn, gets you closer to understanding what they’re struggling with and how your business can help.

Improve the Overall Customer Experience

“42% of customers would not mind paying more when offered a warm and friendly customer experience,” according to recent customer experience statistics. Stats like this highlight the importance of customer experience and its impact on profitability.

Empathy can positively influence each customer’s overall experience with your business.

Let’s say you show them that you understand and share their feelings and experiences while offering your products/services to enhance their lives. This will lead to a quality customer experience they cannot help but brag about, strengthening your reputation. 

Increase Customer Loyalty

Of course, you want a customer to have an enjoyable experience overall. But you also want them to return for the experience as often as possible. Empathy can help initiate that loyalty.

Consistently showing each customer empathy is critical in building a loyal customer base. Treating each customer as a sales opportunity is a surefire way to turn someone off from ever engaging with you again.

On the other hand, truly caring about each customer as a person incites an emotional connection that keeps them tied to your business long-term. Touch their hearts, and they’re more likely to find a place for business in their life for years.

The more loyal customers you have, the better the chance of longevity in your small business.

More Productive Employees

One of the most significant advantages of empathetic business building is inspiring more productive employees.

More and more workers are leaving toxic workplaces and unsupportive managers behind for healthier dynamics. And the workplaces that take care of their employees are happy about it. This is because caring for your employees can lead to an overall boost in productivity.

When employees feel supported, appreciated, and valued by their company, they’re much more engaged and motivated. They’re more dedicated to producing quality work and collaborating effectively with coworkers.

So, if you want more productive employees, you must dig into empathy and care. You must ensure they’re taken care of physically and have the resources to perform their job responsibilities adequately.

Addressing employee health anxiety and emotional well-being is important too. Clear minds, happiness, and emotional maturity are crucial to boosting morale and productivity in each employee.

For example, anxiety increased in many workers due to the pandemic. Failing to address this increase in anxiety caused many small businesses to lose valuable employees, whether they left or stopped bringing their best to work daily.

Those companies that did help their employees with anxiety and other mental health challenges were rewarded with whole, happy, productive employees, which elevated their business during a time most were going down.

In addition to improving the dynamic with your employees, you can develop solid business relationships with empathetic business building.

Develop Solid Business Relationships

One person managing an entire small business is common. However, to scale, solid business relationships are necessary.

That said, it’s not easy to develop strong, long-term business relationships. And that’s in part due to their inauthenticity. Many owners go into business relationships looking for the benefit on the other side. If they don’t get it, they’re out.

Conversely, small business owners that initiate business relationships with the intent of them being mutually beneficial and genuine, often find themselves in the middle of a lasting relationship that boosts their business and person.

These kinds of relationships are only possible with empathy. The more a business understands you, and you understand them, the deeper and more fruitful the relationship can be.

Establish Your Brand More Effectively

Your small business will take much longer to succeed if you don’t focus on establishing your brand. Your brand is what sets you apart from the competition. It’s what your current customers recognize and appreciate. And it’s critical to the first impression potential customers get.

The success of your branding efforts relies on empathy, probably more than you realize. You must empathize with your customers to understand how to make your brand appealing to them.

You must also show empathy to the people helping you create your brand. It takes a lot of work to develop and maintain a strong brand over time. So, you must step into the shoes of your branding team to ensure they’re getting the support they need.

When you can show empathy in all facets of branding, it’s more likely to resonate with your ideal customers. It’s also more likely to be an innovative, enjoyable project for your team.

Become a Better Leader

Introducing empathy and care into your small business can be impactful on not just your operation but your leadership as well.

Empathy allows you to build better relationships with each employee. It enables you to establish a personal relationship with each team member in the first place. They’ll warm up to you and be more open when they know you care.

Your employees will then start to give you consistent feedback about how to better your company culture to inspire better in them. They’ll talk with you about your leadership style and how to improve it to fit the team better. You’ll also be able to handle conflict more productively.

Ultimately, empathy is vital to becoming a better leader.


The benefits of empathetic business building are apparent after reading the above. Don’t hesitate to incorporate it into your business on every level.

Start small when embedding empathy into the core of your company. Be sure you’re leading by example, showing your employees empathy in every interaction, and your customers too.

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, marketing strategies, and HR solutions. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach