As a business owner, you have to do a number of things well in order to thrive. Aside from finding the right people and keeping cash coming in the door, most of your time revolves around delivering the actual service. Delivering a service, rather than a product, means working with people which makes the delivery complex because of individual expectations and needs.
However, in the interest of growing a successful professional services business, I’ve learned to reduce the complexity by focusing on these three key principles:
- CARE about your clients and fellow teammembers
- and demonstrate that caring in the way that matters to them.
- Earn and build their TRUST in you.
- Add VALUE.
That’s it. Everything you do should flow from these three key principles. For example, when I apply this to my everyday tasks, I think of the following:
- LISTEN with the intent to understand.
- Be PROACTIVE – do your job before people have to ask you if you are doing your job. Don’t wait to be told what to do.
- Be RESPONSIVE – return calls and emails immediately.
- COMMUNICATE directly, honestly, clearly, and frequently.
- MANAGE EXPECTATIONS – supports clear communication and minimizes potential disappointments.
- MEET COMMITMENTS – deliver on your promises.
- ASK QUESTIONS.
- OFFER SOLUTIONS, not problems – keeps a project moving forward.
- CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS (when appropriate).
- Be FAIR with everyone.
- Be CONFIDENT, knowing the project and your areas of responsibility better than anyone else.
- Use FACT BASED INFORMATION.
- MANAGE the client’s MONEY as if it were your own.
- Understand the client’s GOALS and DESIRED OUTCOMES.
- Execute your work EFFICIENTLY. To do this: 1) Write stuff down, 2) Track action items, 3) Manage the process to get it done and help others, 4) Communicate status.
- LEARN from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
- SHARE knowledge help others grow.
This represents my non-exhaustive list and I know all of us can think of more. The main point is that if you align your actions with these three principles in your services practice, you will have an ever growing and successful business.