You all know me as an author, but creating worlds filled with naughty doctors and supernatural sex-gods is only half of what I do.
In my other life, I’m a business process advisor, with over 20 years of people and operations management experience. This time of year I see a lot of bloggers, PAs and fellow authors talking about new service business ventures for the new year. I find sometimes while consulting, people get too wrapped up in the idea of the business and forget to understand the essence of success first. So here are some of the simplest things you can do to keep yourself focused on success while taking on the exciting adventure.
THE THREE KEY ELEMENTS:
Understand HOW you’re going to conduct your business first.
Many think this is the last step, when actually it’s the first. Without this, you’ll over-commit, under-deliver and make things exceedingly difficult.
Consistency, Reliability, Quality (CRQ)- THESE ARE MUST HAVES. And are, believe it or not, at least 80% of the equation for success with a service business.
The #1 thing that drives repeat business is knowing that you’ll get what you were promised, when it was promised, and with the same quality every time. If you master this, everything else is easy. But this is the #1 reason businesses fail.
Consistency – deliver the same experience each time.
Reliability – deliver what you promised when you promised it.
Quality – deliver the product you promised – It’s important to note that setting expectations about what the product is up front will ensure that you and your customer are defining quality in the same way.
Once you’ve made that a focus of how you will operate, then move on to the WHAT. The plan for consistency, reliability, and quality will drive what you can commit to in the next phase.
Know the essence of your business and don’t stray from it until you’ve mastered it and it’s what you’re known for. This means that you may only offer 3 services verses 10.
Remember if you are a service business, your essence is to serve your customer based on the need that brings them to you.
For example, if you are a PA, your essence is to make your client’s life easier. So you if you have a process that causes additional work for the client, are never available when they need you, are inflexible in how you communicate, or haven’t established expectations so that they can know what to expect from you, causing inconsistency, you’ve failed to embrace your essence.
If you focus your practices on the essence, “How do I make things easier for my client?” and run all things through that filter, you’ll make better decisions and ensure that reliability, consistency and quality follow.
Important questions to ask:
What is the essence of my business?
How do my potential clients define reliability? How do I?
How do my potential clients define consistency? How do I?
How do my potential clients define quality? How do I?
How will I know that I’ve delivered a quality product?
Why am I doing what I’m doing?
What is my end goal?
What is my plan if I should fail to meet a client’s expectation? (important to know this up front – and a hint – communication is golden when it comes to saving relationships. Every business messes up from time to time.)
And the most important question of all that many forget:
How will I know I’ve been successful?
You should know the answer to these questions before starting.
So there you go. The most important things about establishing and conducting a service business that I see people neglect regularly and then wonder why they’re failing.
Here are a few quick tips to keep from undermining CRQ
for online service businesses using social media.
Remember that some of these are perception. If you’re constantly posting on social media about being behind, being sick or other wise, even if you meet you deadlines, if could create a feeling of unreliability with potential customer, even though you’re not. So use security features to keep your private posts private and put a consistent public message that reinforces CRQ.
Another kiss of death for an online business is posting negative comments about other customers or making passive aggressive posts. If someone has to wonder for a second if the post if about them as a customer, they will most likely no longer want to do business with you. These undermine the essence of any service business.
So with that said, with a little planning and commitment to your essence and CRQ, there isn’t one of you out there that can’t rock your service business in 2016!
I wish you all much success!!!