Putting Clients First Could
Be Killing Your Business
We've all heard the business gurus
spouting mantras about putting clients first or that the customer
is always right. I say, "HOGWASH!" If you're an independent
business owner or an employee in a company, they only thing that
will sustain that business is happy, motivated people doing good
work in the business.
When is the last time
you really made a customer happy when you weren't thrilled to be
there? When is the last time you underpromised and overdelivered
when your heart wasn't in it?
If not clients,
then who comes first?
If putting your customers first
or making your customers right is draining your energy or killing
your motivation to do a kick-butt job, then stop doing it! If you're
a business owner or an employee, here's the secret behind staying
in business or doing an amazing job and having all the business
you can handle:
1. Put yourself
According to Thomas Leonard in his book
"The Portable Coach," the first of his 28 strategies for
business and personal success is to become incredibly selfish -
to put yourself first! Think about the old adage, "You can't
love anyone else until you love yourself first." For you to
do an amazing job at anything, you have to feel good, have energy,
have passion and have the focus to deliver. If you aren't putting
yourself first, then it's impossible to have all of these things
at the same time!
2. Put the
The business is there to support you
and make money. If the business isn't supporting you, then you're
not being put first. If the business isn't making money, then it
won't last much longer. Putting the business second is critical
to creating a sustainable business. This doesn't mean that you create
policies and procedures that are not customer-friendly. Truly putting
the business second means creating processes, systems and policies
that sustain the business - which means sustaining YOU and its employees,
investors, stakeholders and customers. A truly successful business
model is a win-win-win-win-win-win.....and it is possible!
Think about Ben & Jerrys', a very
profitable ice cream business that makes it's owners profits, creates
a great environment for its employees, turns out great products
that makes customers happy and gives a tremendous amount back to
3. Put clients
want to buy from successful businesses and frequent places they
like. Part of that successful formula is having happy employees
and a sustainable business. If either of those are missing, then
the customers won't show up for long. That's why customers must
be third in line when thinking about your business!
How does this relate to "Business
Too many business
owners agonize over how to create business models that really make
them happy and are profitable. Many spend hours slaving away unhappily
or by delaying satisfaction for years to put customers and the business
first. It's bass-ackwards! (excuse my French!)
If you aren't
happy, your business will not succeed for very long. Or if it does,
you're still unhappy, so what's the point anyway?
From this point on, design
your business in three steps:
1.) Get very clear about what
will make you happy, from
finances, to time off, to how you're perceived in the community
and by customers and how you'd like to interact with others. This
is only a short list, but you should be able to identify the components
most important to you that will make you happy and create a business
that supports those. If you have a hard time doing this, then hire
a coach to help you hone in on what's most important.
your business environment, including
policies, procedures, physical space, processes and systems so that
they optimize the interests of all of the stakeholders: you, the
business, customers, etc.
3.) Serve your customers well,
by paying attention to them, by making them feel great about doing
business with you and by letting your passion shine! Great customers
understand that you are a real person and your business must be
profitable - if you have customers who demand to be first in line,
without any regard to your personal satisfaction or business, then
they are just lousy customers. Take Donald Trump's lead and say
"You're fired!" to those customers!
I guarantee that you'll be a lot happier,
have better customers who do more business with you and your business
will flourish if you change your perception about why your business
really exists and start putting yourself first. It worked for me
and the results have been and continue to be amazing!