It is so easy to be get overwhelmed — be it by ideas, trainings, appointments, tasks, projects, and of course, BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects).
As a business owner, undoubtedly wearing many hats, it can be difficult to prioritize and focus. In a previous article, I wrote about creating a few buckets (or chunking) which was essentially to put your many tasks/ideas into major categories in verb form (Guide, Run, Build, Protect, for example). To tell the truth, sometimes even that can be challenging. The solution: pick one thing.
Am I being ridiculous? (in this particular instance?)
I know what it is for every single one of you.
It’s your #1 client who’ll be with you as long as you are in business. It’s also your #1 product, what everyone buys from you, whether or not you sell or even market it.
It’s your business.
Yes, this article is more about a change in perspective.
Of all the tasks you do or have on your list helping this person or that person, it should all be to serve your business first. Now the question is, of all these tasks that you’re doing, are they the BEST things to serve your business? Put another way, if your business was a person (a client), and you want to do your best to help them, what would you do? What wouldn’t you do? Is it to attend a bunch of trainings? Is it to network? Is it to dive through all those receipts and get your taxes done in time? We know that we’re supposed to serve our clients well, right? But are all those clients good for your business? Are there those that complain regardless of what you do or how hard you work for them? Are there those who perpetually ask for discounts yet purchase little? Is your business primarily serving just one client (a huge account!)? What happens if that client leaves you?
A lot of business literature will say that you should know your ideal client, understand his/her needs, and understand their attitudes/interests. You should ask for feedback, suggestions etc. If you think of your business as your ideal client, do you understand it’s needs? Have they changed? Do you get feedback from your business? Do you get feedback and suggestions from your team or staff? How can you help your business (your #1 client) best?
NOTE: I am not advocating for money-grubbing greed here, but simply practicality. This is less about money than it is about focus. Chasing the money or that big client is not always what’s best for your business (or you, for that matter). Which tasks/ideas/projects will really help your business best? P.S. Doing a lot of things poorly and jumping from project to project in various levels of completion won’t do that.
Your business is also your #1 product — not anything that’s in your menu, catalog, brochure, website, shelves, inventory, etc. (I mean product in a general sense, as in the “thing” you sell and get paid for; i.e. your different services are “products”. Product=offering)
When a client/customer buys anything from you, they are, in their minds, buying your business and business process. Not in terms of ownership, mind you, but in terms of relationship. They have paid to associate with you. When money changes hands, your customers/clients have decided that your business is worthy of them–yes, they might have paid for a product, but they also expect some measure of quality, efficient production, a good delivery system, a good accounting system, a level of customer service/courtesy, professionalism, a company with a good reputation, a business that has integrity, and these days, even a business that shares their values (politically, socially, environmentally). If your business disappoints a client in one or several of these, you will probably lose that client–it won’t matter if your product is good or even the best in the industry! While, you may not necessarily highlight or advertise the entire workings of your business in your marketing/promotional efforts, you can bet your client and especially your prospect are hyper-aware of everything your business does for them.
It is easy to focus and can be even interesting to work on your products, developing it, packaging it, photographing it, describing its features/benefits, advertising it. The same goes for your services. All of these activities are, of course, important, but it makes no sense to replace your flat tires of your car with the best tires in the industry, if your engine isn’t running! Ask yourself how much time you’re spending on improving some specific product, versus improving your #1 product–your business. Which tasks/ideas/projects will really improve the worth/value/quality of your business? (Consequently, when/if you decide to sell your business, its selling value (as a product!) will be based not just on your financial success and stability and assets, but also your clients/customers, your business operations, your brand and your reputation).
The next time you’re stymied by what you should focus on, what to do, think about how best to serve your #1 client and improve your #1 product.