Many people say that the client comes first. But I disagree. If you are a service-based business owner, I believe that your business comes first. Serving your customers in an outstanding manner is just one of the many things business owners need to do, but not the only thing. If you always put the client first that means you’re putting your business second. If your business suffers or fails because you neglected some critical parts of the business – you won’t be able to serve your clients and you both suffer.
“Serving your customers in an outstanding manner is just one of the many things that business owners need to do – but not the only thing.”
I recommend that you put your business first! It is a balancing act. As a responsible business owner, you must make sure that the needs of your business, including marketing and sales, finance and billing, organization and planning, and employee relationships are supported in addition to serving your clients in the best way possible. Serving your client in an outstanding manner is critical for your reputation and repeat sales, but if you are so busy serving your clients that you can’t do the necessary marketing, you will not have clients when you have completed your work with the existing client. And if you are not on top of your finances, strategic planning, and employee relationships, your business will suffer and you will not be able to serve your clients in the best manner. This is not being selfish – it’s just good business.
“I recommend that you put your business first!”
One way to ensure that all areas of the business are covered is to block time on your calendar for each of the major areas of the business – and hold those blocks sacred! (Or if necessary, move a block to another time during the same week.) For example, let’s say you determine that you must spend 2 two-hour blocks (4 hours total) per week contacting prospects. When a client has an emergency and you must respond during one of your prospecting times, move that entire prospecting block to another time during the same week – ensuring that you are still spending the same 4 hours per week working on your business, you just changed the time. You can do the same thing with the other important areas of the business.
Another way to stay on top of your business and still provide outstanding service for your client is to develop processes and procedures that automate much of the back-office work – freeing up more of your time for you to work with clients. While this takes time to set-up, it will save you lots of time in the long run.
Are you putting off your marketing efforts, or are you putting off your important financial issues so you can give your clients outstanding service? Remember that your first priority is to your business! What strategies will you use to stay on top of your business and also provide excellent service to your clients?
Remember that your first priority is to your business!