Stop trying to maximize your profits and focus on maximizing your relationships.
Scaling a business is hard. Big ideas and financial capital does not always guarantee success. Ideas have always come easy to me, but scaling use to be my biggest challenge. When I first started my business I was immediately thrusted with enormous challenges. Many of these challenges were personal and carried over into my business.
I soon found myself working for the business that I own instead of owning the business that I work for. No client seemed to be sufficient enough to pull me out of the red, so I began chasing one client after another in an effort to sustain my unprofitable business. I would win an account and immediately pursue another without investing the necessary time required to solve any of my client’s problems.
Now faced with an overflow of unfinished assignments and client expectations, I discovered something that changed my life as an entrepreneur. I realized that I had failed to serve any of my clients. I was too busy trying to build my business, yet I had not built any client relationships. I had not established any valuable connection with my clients, even worse, I had not provided any value at all.
I somehow fooled myself into thinking that delivering an assignment or meeting a deadline translated into value, but the client paid for that service. There is no value in only delivering what a client has paid for — that is expected. Value comes from an area that is completely unexpected, because value does not dwell within the scope of work, but outside the scope of work.
I immediately refocused my attention on not pursuing new clients, but serving the clients that I already had. Completing assignments were no longer my main objective, but searching for unique opportunities where I could provide unexpected value. I wanted to help my clients solve problems, but most importantly I wanted to search for those hidden unique value propositions that my clients had overlooked. I was not only meeting deadlines, but presenting new and innovative ideas that my clients were not expecting. I finally began to connect with my clients, and in return I helped my clients connect more effectively with their consumers — increasing their bottom line and most importantly their customer loyalty.
There is no value in only delivering what a client has paid for – that is expected.
So what did I learn? I learned that if I focus on serving my clients my business will grow exponentially. Not only did my clients extend our business relationship, but they became my brand ambassador. Our business relationship now extended over into their personal relationships. My relationship capital was now generating business for me while I was sleeping. My clients were not sharing with others about the work they paid for, but the value that I was adding to their business.
If you only focus on the money, then you’ll only see your clients as money. If you focus on the relationship, then you’ll see your clients worthy of your absolute best service.
Askia A. Jones