I know you want to run an awesome business. You want to be successful and have clients contacting you regularly to see if they can get your time. You want that waiting list of people that want to work with you because waiting 6 months for your time is worth it.
It’s great to want to have a business that is so awesome, the hard part is how do you get there? How do you build a business that stands out above the crowd so your reputation warrants that type of devotion from your prospects.
If you can follow these 10 commandments you’re going to be well on your way to running an amazing business.
1. You’re going to make mistakes, so just accept it
Yes the first step is admitting that you’re not perfect. Your prospects don’t expect you to be perfect either. In fact if you for some reason are entirely perfect in every respect they’re going to be creeped out and wonder if artificial intelligence is about to take over the world.
The goal is not to be perfect but to accept that problems happen, and then when they do you must confront them head on. Clients want you to deal with problems with grace. Many of my best client relationships started with problems that were worked out. Years later they’re my best source of referrals and more business.
Many of my best client relationships started with problems that were worked out.
2. The value you provide to your clients comes from the application of your knowledge to their problems
You aren’t worth anything simply because you show up. Butt in seat time is worthless to your clients so don’t expect them to pay for it.
The value you bring to the table is your knowledge applied to their problems. No matter what you sell, every purchase is a spend to solve a problem.
3. Give you clients freedom
Your clients should not be experts in your field. They should not be able to converse with you on deep technical details. If they could do this, why on earth would they hire you?
Part of your job as a business owner is to educate them so at the end of the engagement with you, they are better off than they were before. Locking them in to your services may be profitable in the short term, but few if any referrals will come from clients that feel they are locked in with no way out.
Give your clients freedom so they can control their own business. Always expect your clients to do what is in the best interests of their business. In fact you should encourage it, even if that means they don’t use your services anymore.
4. No matter how much you know, someone else knows more
You are not the smartest person in your field. There is always someone that knows more, so be humble. This humility should extend to those that clearly don’t know as much as you as well.
Behind each client question is often another ‘real’ question. It’s your job to weigh what your clients say carefully and find that question so you can provide the best service possible.
Don’t speak to them like some deity from on high. Listen to them carefully and take their thoughts in to account.
You are not the smartest person in your field. There is always someone that knows more, so be humble.
5. Don’t change things for the sake of changing them
I’m sure you have your ‘pet solution’ to a problem, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for your prospect. Don’t simply change something because you like that something more, or are more familiar with a single solution.
Too many service providers change their client's tooling because they don’t like the tools currently used. Before you change anything within your projects, step back and ask yourself if it’s truly in the best interest of your client or does it simply save you from learning something new?
6. You are not your job
Your job does not define who you are. Failing in some project, or having a total business failure doesn’t change your value in any fashion.
Your value is something you define for yourself. Letting it rest on your business or job is a recipe for defeat and disappointment.
7. Fight for your views, but graciously accept defeat
As the expert you should bring your opinion to bare with your projects. That’s what your clients pay you for, but if they don’t agree with you graciously accept it and move on.
Note the word graciously. That means you don’t sulk around as you implement the solution your client went with that you think is less than ideal. Sulking around is a sure fire way to do less than amazing work and loose any chance of a future with the client.
8. You’re in sales and marketing
Every business is ultimately in marketing. Every project you do is really a sales message to other possible clients. If you don’t market your services then no one will know about you and you’ll have no business to speak of. You may have a hobby that sort of maybe pays the bills sometimes, but that’s it.
Remember that marketing is not icky, it’s about showing the value you can provide to possible clients. Dig in and get intentional with your marketing so you can provide amazing value to those prospects.
9. You don’t know what’s going on unless you go see
Good service providers dig deeper in any problem. If you have a department head that’s against your project, go see them and find out why. 99% of the time when talking face to face the problem goes away quickly.
All you need to do is listen to the concerns presented and address them. Once people feel they’re heard, they’re almost always happy to come onboard.
10. Have a plan
If you want an awesome business you need a plan. Don’t be like most of the world in December as they commit to eating better and exercising only to find that it’s February and they’ve done nothing to move forward, so drop the goal.
Set yearly goals and then break them down in to quarters. Break them down in to weeks and get about the task of accomplishing them every day.
If you can operate by these 10 commandments you’re going to take your business from average to amazing. Write them down and pin them by your desk so you won’t forget them as things get hard.