I have learned SO many things during my time running my own business. I have made far more mistakes then were needed, that is for sure. But I also did one thing right that perhaps made all the mountains of mistakes I made just that, mistakes…and not un-doable ruptures in time and space.
The one thing it turns out that I have never failed to do, is care.
You would be surprised how many businesses fail because they don’t remember this one simple and crucial tenant of business.
It doesn’t matter if you are manufacturing trash cans or making blow up dolls…it doesn’t matter if you are a farmer or a magician…the one simple element that will keep your clients coming back even when you mess up…is they know that you care.
I write this blog post to all of you independent business owners out there. To all you who aspire to be. Because I broke the rule you should never break…I move my practice virtually every season. And this very well could have done me in.
This is not smart. I have been told by everyone this is not smart. Yet it has almost become a compulsion. I have no idea why.
My business after this last move…the 5th move in 8 years of business…left my appointment book very very spacious, with blank spaces that should have had 20 or more names in them a week.
They stayed blank. And I didn’t know what to do. Was this it? Was this the end of my run? Did I have to tuck tail and return to corporate America and give up my dreams?
I must admit, my mind went there.
And it wasn’t until I talked to a number of people who all had the same advice…after they berated me for moving so often…the told me to call my clients.
I said “No.” Repeatedly. Until someone finally asked me why not.
“I don’t want to be a telemarketer,” I said.
“You aren’t a telemarketer,” she said with confusion on her face “You are a healer.”
I just looked at her, letting that information sink into my thick skull.
And I started to get it. There is a resistance to change. Every time I move, the space they have gotten used to is gone. The space that used to hold them, and listen to them, and cry with them, and heal them…is no longer. And it’s hard to push past that and start again.
It’s also hard to navigate places you haven’t been before. It’s not as comfortable. And we crave comfort.
So I did it. My book had been empty for almost 3 months. I started calling clients. Before long I was up at 20 booked for this week. I didn’t even get close to half way through my list.
And when they came in this week this is what I heard. “It’s hard coming to new spaces, thank you so much for caring about my needs and calling to invite me in. It was just the reminder I needed.”
Thank you so much for caring about me….
Almost every single person said that same line.
And the truth, the real truth is…I do.
In fact I left message with folks I hadn’t seen in years hoping even if they didn’t call for an appointment that they would fill me in on their lives. I feel like we had a relationship, and I missed it.
So from one business owner to another, whether you are in the biz of steel or rocks or cleaning supplies…no matter what your gig…we need our clients…and if they know, I mean they really know that we care, then you will have the backbone of a healthy organization for many years to come!