One of my favourite exchanges from You’ve Got Mail—your basic chick flick with Meg Ryan (pre-Botox) and Tom Hanks, who these days is still just adorably Tom Hanks—goes like this…

JOE/Tom Hanks

It wasn’t personal (This after the big box bookstore he owns contributes to the demise of the small independent bookstore around the corner owned by Kathleen/Meg Ryan)


It was business!  What is that supposed to mean anyway?

I am so sick of that.

All it means is it’s not personal to you,

but it’s personal to me, it’s personal to

a lot of people. (she shrugs helplessly)

What’s wrong with personal anyway?




I mean, whatever else anything is,

it ought to begin by being personal.

As a small business owner I gotta say that it is personal for me. And I wonder if possibly the “it’s not personal” crowd need to maintain that stance simply because it would make it too difficult to sleep at night otherwise. Taking your business personally means taking full responsibility for how it interacts with clients, suppliers, employees, fellow business owners, and the community at large.

Is your business a good citizen? Does it support local programs and events? Does it pay suppliers on time? Treat employees with respect? Honour its commitments to clients… delivering on time, and on budget? Do you take responsibility when mistakes are made? And do you remember the small personal things… saying please, thank you, I’m sorry, and really mean it when you say Have a nice day?

We devote too much of our lives to work—often spending more time in the company of employees, clients, suppliers and fellow business owners than we do with family & friends— to not be guided in business by the same principles by which we are guided in life.

It’s all personal and that’s what makes it worth all the time and effort you put into it!