When it comes to owning/running a small business each and every customer or client is worth their weight in gold. We want to make sure that they are blown away by the excellence in our products or services. And while yes, while we feel confident we can provide the customer with what they are looking for, the real work begins with retaining them, and giving them the motivation to keep coming back.
In the service industry, this is where many of us fall down, especially in the beginning. We want each customer or client to see us and/or our small business as an answer to a problem, or as something that enhances their lives. We want to provide the best service that we can, and in our efforts to impress and retain our customers, we can find ourselves trying to solve more of their problems, and be all things to all people.
In my industry, it can start small, maybe a little website update as a favor, or uploading some video to a client’s Facebook page. Then it mushrooms into requests for graphic design or SEO updates. And if I start, it’s hard to draw the line when I get in over my head. I am a writer, a consultant, and a coach. That’s what I do. I don’t do graphic design, web work or Reiki. I don’t do anything but what I claim to do. But I’ve had clients who want more – SEO, web design, blog construction – but that’s not what I do. I don’t know how to more than dabble. I’m not going to sell that dabble-ability.
And these types of requests aren’t exclusive to my field. I have people see that I’m a coach and want energy work, chakra clearing, or even Reiki. All of that is fine and valid, but it isn’t what I do, or what I am trained to do. I don’t advertise my business as a one stop shop for all things fantastic – I am a writer, consultant, and coach. Period. That’s what I do, and I do it well. I don’t try to impress my existing clients with an ever expanding bag of skills, I do what I do. When I have someone wanting more than I do, I refer them on to someone specializes in graphic design, website design, SEO, or even Reiki. Someone that I trust to provide quality service, and someone I know can deliver.
I cannot, nor can any service provider, effectively be all things to all people. If I tried to do more than dabble in graphic design, I would not be focused as hard on my writing. My attentions would be entirely too divided to be good at any one thing.
It’s important that you remember to not over-promise, because if you do, you run the risk of under-delivering. I mean, if a client hires me to write for them, I am confident that I can deliver a quality product. If I client wants me to work on their SEO, well, I’m not so confident.
If a request is made that is outside of your area of expertise – say so, and have a list of professionals to refer to in place. You have an area of specialization, and so do other businesses. Don’t spend a ton of time doing something wrong or just halfway, take the time to have someone else do it RIGHT! Don’t your clients deserve that?