What are you doing to take care of your most important client?
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “my number-one client”?
- a specific name?
- how much revenue they bring in?
- the number of referrals they send your way?
- the amount of resources you’re willing to devote to them?
Do you ever think of your own business as your most important client?
Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in delivering their services that they often forget to assign a high priority to development of their own businesses. This has ugly consequences:
- You’re likely to end up on a revenue roller coaster. (You’re so busy serving your ideal clients that you don’t take time to market to your ideal prospects, which means that there’s no one in the pipeline to fill the gap if some clients go away.)
- You put too much power in the hands of existing clients. After all, if a handful of clients account for 90% of your revenues, it’s going to be tempting, if asked to jump through hoops for them, to ask, “How high?”
- You run the risk of not paying enough attention to what’s happening in the market and, potentially, being caught off-guard by changing needs of your ideal prospects.
So how do you avoid putting your own business-development needs last?
Intentionally and strategically assign them a high priority.
That means you:
- schedule time on an ongoing basis (think “weekly”) to explicitly focus on what I call the 4 P’s of business development: your Presence in the marketplace, your Prospects, your Products (or services), and your Professional/Personal skills
- take time out 2 – 4 times a year to step away from client work for an entire day and do some hard-nosed strategic planning for your own business
Both are important. Both are easier said than done.
But the good news is that there are ways to hold yourself accountable for making time to address these vital business development tasks.
My Cedar Rapids peeps are especially lucky to have two excellent local resources:
- Jennie Morton, owner of Herringbone Freelance, has started a weekly program she calls Marketing Sprint. Entrepreneurs who keep putting their own business’ marketing on the back burner gather for just one hour every Friday to address those important-but-not-urgent business development activities.
- Three times a year, I offer a full-day, in-town business development retreat called Escape and Accelerate. It’s a chance to get out of the office, be surrounded by the creativity-enhancing natural beauty at Prairiewoods Retreat Center, and play off the focused energy of other entrepreneurs who are putting their own businesses first. (I’ll keep you posted when I get the date of the next retreat confirmed.)
For those of you who aren’t local, my best suggestion is to identify another entrepreneur who’s equally challenged – and determined – to spend intentional time on business development, and arrange to be accountability partners for each other. Make your weekly accountability calls an A1 priority; schedule client work around them; and watch your outcomes improve.
What are some ways you’ve found most helpful in treating your own business with the same respect and care you give your important paying clients? Please share your strategies in the Comments section below so the rest of us can benefit.This entry was posted in business development and tagged effectiveness. Bookmark the permalink.