For the budding entrepreneur, the year 2020 will serve as a severe and lasting reminder of the risks associated with having your own business. This article began with a different premise in mind but that was in February. Businesses are struggling to survive and others are managing to thrive while we all manage our way through this COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, the recovery approach for some businesses will be different. It may take close to a year to put our eyes on a new normalcy. That should be plenty of practice for everyone to regress to the mean and curtail hoarding necessity products.
A year —- should — also be enough practice for clients/customers and potential clients/customers to strategize meaningful transactions with small business owners. Discount hunting and price comparison have really been on the forefront of most people’s minds. Bringing me to this point: I’ve often wondered why many businesses still proclaim to treat their clients/customers like family.
I get it. Capping the “c’mon down” pitch to a client/customer with a “where we treat you like family” could be considered a sound business strategy. Who wouldn’t want to be treated like family? Perhaps that depends upon how you define family, along the subjectivity of the treatment of family. Nevertheless, I’d make the point that it’s to speed up the notion that one will be catered to unconditionally…..as long as they’re a customer.
Our current virtual existence has sped up something else, simultaneously. Business Personality (See Parker Ed: C.P.R.). It’s the way to connect with the newer generation of buyers & clients/customers these days. Take a look at anyone with ‘characteristics of generations’ expertise. Millennials aren’t the only potential clients/customers, these days, that desire to feel the business’s purpose and think it’s motive, in order to believe in its brand.
The sea of entrepreneurs, small & minority business owners get divided into two camps; those who have principle and purpose aligned with potential clients/customers to make for transactional kinships and those that don’t do that. You can’t blindly touch a button on your remote control without landing on a “turnaround” TV show. (See “Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible, virtually all HGTV programming, you get the picture). It seems as though they are all regurgitating from the same playbook–the playbook that says you should extract the owner’s story, amplify their low points, and bring them to some glorious conclusion.
Just watch the very next show, you’ll see the tearful stumble down memory lane nanoseconds before the closeup of absolute triumph. The success of these shows leans on the consultant taking the time and exuding the energy to peer into the personality of the business owner/client/customer. It not only makes for intriguing reality television but also displays a sense of sustainability for all the new implementations.
The consumer landscape is becoming inundated with the personal touch as something sought after. The new strength has become whatever is personal to you, as an entrepreneur, you should be diligent in making it personal for potential clients/customers. This leads to burgeoning, longer termed relationships. Relationships that are more inclined to produce a more secured flow of ongoing business and referrals.
One could even argue that potential clients/customers would rather seek the “someone” behind the business service or product first, than just the business. Thumbing through the yellow pages hasn’t required thumbs, or pages, for that matter, in quite a long time. A time in which advertising how much you’d treat customers like family yielded a busy afternoon of answering calls.
The risk, you ask?
Well, let’s just say the compensatory return may not be abundant, but when it does peak, it will be redundant. The technological platforms we’re all forced to use, update, and perfect have also led to global opportunities for new clients/customers. The potential result is a steady stream of contact from client/customers/customers who admire your specialized skills and the attachment to your field.
Putting it plainly, volume clients/customers building is key. A manageable number of clients/customers will evolve over time the better you become at personalizing your good/service.
So, download this Monday Morning App when defining the personality of your business:
- How does the optics of your business align with the joy YOU have for your field?
- How would your current client/customers brag about your relationship?
- How do you use the swag (magnetism) of your business to personalize what you do for your current clients/customers? What about potential clients/customers?
Just as you think you’ve answered these questions pretty easily from your own perspective, try answering them again from the perspective of a client/customer. You have until the next Monday to apply what you’ve discovered to new behaviors. Now, that seems daunting.
In fact, one could say the task of identifying a business’s personality to align with clients/customers is so daunting that it just seems easier to say, “Hey, choose us, where everyone is treated just like family.”
This is not a knock on businesses that treat their clients/customers, or employees, like family. Although, with the current and future climate steeped in purpose-driven business relationships, personality compatibility can be seen as a friendship. The digital generation of client/customer hunting is upon us with no sign of retreating to methods of the past.
Prosperous business relationships will look more like “framily” — those we connect with like friends but rely upon like family. Personalization. For the #entre-mature.
Dr. Candice Dowd Barnes is an Executive Coach and Chief Operations Officer for Parker Education & Development, LLC. She is a prominent speaker and accomplished author of multiple publications. She is the co-author of Civility, Compassion and Courage in Schools Today: Strategies for Implementing in K-12 Classrooms and Success Favors Well-prepared Adults: Developing Routines and Relationships to Improve School Culture.
As an Executive Coach and CEO of Parker Education & Development, LLC, Todd Scott Parker distinguishes himself through his ability to deliver coaching and training in a dynamic way to various educational and business audiences. His work is both unique and creative. He blends evidenced-based strategies, techniques, and methods from education and business to help schools, small businesses, and other organizations to create sustainable models of success.