A few months ago, my life changed—and you’ll laugh when you hear why: Waste Management started picking up our trash and recycling.
I know. Sometimes it’s embarrassing how little it takes to make me happy.
Neither you nor I have time for the whole story of why we trekked to the dump for 15 years, or why it took nearly 5 months to get our first bin picked up… but cut to the chase, and you’ll see a massive disconnect:
The people 800 miles away in Arizona are dutifully arranging everything with the customer in a really friendly way, but the local Route Manager doesn’t return phone calls and seems to possess an insufficient amount of gray matter to find the Waste Management bins on our road and communicate with her drivers.
If this were an isolated event, it wouldn’t make much difference, but unfortunately, it’s the way things are today—pretty much everywhere with most big businesses—and it highlights something really important for people like you and me, who work for ourselves.
Big Business vs Small Business
One of the biggest advantages you have as a small business owner?
Your business IS small.
Maybe you lament not having a big advertising budget. For sure, you aren’t going to hire Madmen to get name recognition and you’re not going to see yourself plastered all over local tv or hear yourself sponsoring The Morning Edition on NPR anytime soon.
It might be easier if you had tech help you can’t describe or an assistant you can’t afford.
Maybe you dream about having somebody else clean your studio, return your calls, make your appointments, do your bookwork and handle social media.
And how awesome would it be if someone who knew what they were doing took charge of finding new clients and keeping you busy doing the “fun” part?
But here’s the thing:
In a big company where there’s money for someone else to take care of all those things, there’s going to be a protocol for everything—from how often the bathroom gets cleaned to how to answer the phone and what to say in every situation.
There’s (most likely annoying) hold music on the phone, inaccurate estimated wait time on the help desk and ”customer care” that feels more like “go away” than “we care.” The people you finally talk to aren’t free to make decisions that matter. Customer Care Agent A sends you to Agent B who tells you that Agent C is the one you need, and when Agent C puts you on hold, your call drops.
You know what?
It’s not just you and me. Everywhere in the world, people are getting tired of being on the receiving end of dealing with big business.
Tired of feeling like nobody’s listening.
Tired of having to call 10 times to get simple stuff taken care of.
Tired of being treated like all 7 billion people on the planet are the same.
And that’s where you’ve got the edge
Your clients want connection… and you’re a master of connecting with your hands, your head and your heart.
Your clients want to feel seen and heard and understood as individuals. The skills you developed that make you a great practitioner help you to show up that way with every person you meet. No one on the planet is better equipped to make the clients you’re here to serve feel special.
Your clients want to know that you are real, and honest, and relatable, and that you care. Omigosh! I know that’s the perfect description of you… right?
You have the speed you need to give clients an answer—and satisfaction—right now because you make all the rules.
You have the ability to change your mind and do what makes sense to keep your clients happy—without asking permission from someone higher up the ladder.
You have the authority to break your own rules any time you like… because even if you hire others—for tech support, web design, social media, financial or legal consultation, or anything else—you are always at the top of your own ladder.
When you answer the phone, your clients know they’re talking with the OWNER… the BOSS.
Your business is the lifeblood of your practice
Embrace it. Own it. Give it life and breath and attention. Talk to it. Make friends with it. Connect with it as if it mattered.
When you stop ignoring and avoiding your business, you can make it a true reflection of the work you do.
When it becomes one more aspect of showing up as the best example of your work in the world, people can see your value every step of the way along their journey with you.
Remember that it’s your business. Create it in your own image and it will connect your dream and your clients in a sustainable reality.
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