As this year comes to a close, I’m enjoying reflecting on the business of my business. The beautiful thing about not giving up when times are tough is that you get to really shape your business to suit you. I just heard from a coaching client of mine. She took some time off to get in touch with the direction she wants to be going in. The result of that timeout? “I’m building my business on my own terms. I’m not listening to how everyone else runs businesses. Mine is unique.”
That’s so so true! I bet if we could line our businesses up there would be no two alike. We’re in a creative field and we’re allowed to handle our business in creative ways!
So I sat down with paper and pencil and looked at the early years in my business and compared them to where I am now. A lot has changed and it’s just gotten better. I suggest you consider taking time to reflect on your business and see how you’ve really grown!
Where I am now compared to where I was in the early years
1. I used to be willing to start wherever the client wanted to start. Now I have a non-negotiable starting place and it’s my Style Assessment appointment. No one works with me without making this their first stop. It’s perfect in every way. I get to really understand the client and know exactly where she wants me to take her. She gets to experience being listened to on a deep level. I can deliver on her promises once we’ve created that blueprint during the first appointment.
2. After this first style appointment, I’m really flexible and I didn’t use to be. I used to have very strict steps. Now I feel that’s antiquated. I need to go to the very next thing that will give her relief from the problems she’s having and that could be anywhere. It may be shopping right away, it may be staying in her closet for three appointments before going shopping. In that very next step after the style assessment, I solve the problems that are most pressing, ones that if solved will make the most difference for my client. What a difference that’s made. I’ve retained far more clients by doing it this way.
3. In the beginning, I said yes to anybody who called me. And I’m glad I did because that experience taught me how to have more clarity and work with the people that were going to turn into longterm clients and instead of quick one-and-dones. Saying “yes” to lots of things helped me know what to say “no” to. Saying no to one person who isn’t quite the right fit allows me to say yes to the person who is the perfect fit. At first, I was too scared to turn anyone down. Now I know it’s a win/win to turn someone down and I can do it guilt-free. I honor my conditions of satisfaction.
4. Oh my gosh! I always tried to read my client’s mind! I made assumptions about what a client could or couldn’t afford. Now I never read a client’s mind or make financial assumptions such as “She’s not going to be able to afford both me and clothes” or “She won’t want to see me twice in one month; that would be too much.” If I see a need, I put it out there. The client can always so no. I feel like I come off like the professional I am rather than someone being pushy about making money. They always appreciate how I’m looking out for them.
5. I’m not someone who dictates rules for the sake of having rules but I am an active educator. When I explain the value of something for her wardrobe the client really gets it. I share how I see things through my eyes, I relay benefits, I help her visualize a place for a new purchase in her life. I help her buy into the solution so she starts creating ownership even before she owns the merchandise I’ve selected for her. Stores are focused on sales. I am focused on results both immediate and long-term. I know this jacket I’ve got her in may be in her closet for the next six years. The salesperson isn’t interested in any of that. I am her valuable ally.
6. I used to focus on getting more and more clients. Now I focus on giving greater and greater service to fewer clients. The result? I’m busier than ever!
It’s fun to see how my business has grown up. And I can’t wait to see where it goes in 2018!
How has your business grown this year? Have you created a niche, marketed your services to a new group, discovered new resources for your clients? Please share one or two of your highlights, okay?
Blessings to you!