A few weeks ago, I visited a place that I had known for a long time, albeit many years ago. In my mind, I was expecting to see the familiar. What I saw was very different. So many things had changed… buildings once familiar were no longer there. Roads had been widened. Shops and stores that I had known so well were no longer there, replaced with shops and stores I had never heard of. For a few minutes I was confused, thinking that perhaps I had gone the wrong way and that surely this was not the place I had known. Until I saw it. I saw that one corner of the street that I recognized. I saw that one house where I had so many memories tucked away in my head.
Anchor points are those things in your life that don’t change. Those places, people, and things that are constants and that bring the feeling of familiarity and sometimes even comfort. I have old friends in my life that perhaps I haven’t seen in 20 years, but when we come in each other’s presence it is as if time stops. The familiar once again comes back, and we pick up our conversations that we had 20 years ago.
What would life be without anchor points? Those anchors that hold our ship in place when life takes a turn through that storm. Those anchors that we can rely on, and trust, and turn to. I think that family traditions can fall into this category. One of the reasons why Christmas is so important to me personally is that I find comfort in the same decorations, and music, and food, and family activities that we do every year. No matter what is happening in my life, those familiar anchor points of family memories and traditions surrounding Christmas make it that much more special for me.
And I think that anchor points in business can have the same effect. My wife and I went to a ‘famous’ restaurant in our city last week. It was one of those places that everyone said ‘you have to go there! It is amazing!’. When we walked in, at first we didn’t really see what the big deal was. But after a little bit we could see what everyone was talking about. It was the items hanging on the walls that had been there for decades. It was the menu that had items people had loved for generations. It was the sound, the servers, the smells, and the ambiance. It was a place chock full of anchor points that generations of people had grown to love. We could come back 20 years later, and remember it just as it is right now.
So when you think about your business, what are your anchor points? What is it that your customers can hang their hat on? What anchor points do your customers come to expect, and I would dare say, come to need? Whatever those anchor points are, you need to hold on to them. Let them be the ‘anchors’ that hold for years to come.