My neighbor has a very hyper-active dog. When they first began to try to take it for walks, I often wondered who was walking who. It took some time before they were able to change the dynamic of being the ones who lead the walk, and not the other way around.
I see business owners do it as well. Heck, I have done it too. We put off doing the things that we know we should do in favor of things that we could and should be delegating.
Should you focus on your business before you focus on your clients?
Yes, I know that this is contrary to what most people, even I on this blog, have said, "After all, without our clients and customers, our business would not exist!" Please allow me to put this in some context before the customer focus mob comes at me with torches and axes, asking for my head...
When Putting Customer Wants and Needs First Becomes a Detriment
When you put the customer’s every need before your own, in the end, you do more harm than good to you and your customer.
Have you ever met a new parent who hasn’t slept well in weeks, hasn’t left the house, hasn’t talked with an adult in months? Have you seen them put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cabinet? Or worse, get everything packed up and ready to go and forgot the baby at home?
Why does that happen?
Because when we don’t take care of ourselves, we are unable to take care of anyone else. The same thing happens in our business.
When we don’t put first things first, the client and customer suffers.
If we spend our days and weeks putting off our own development and the important tasks that will get us to our goals in favor or answering every email, call, and being at the beck and call and whim of our clients, we become irrelevant and of less value.
I see this happen a lot in marketing agencies. One agency I worked with recently had one client that was almost 80% of their business. Needless to say, when anything came up with that client, everything else got dropped. As a result, there was no bandwidth left to do their own marketing and sales, and so there was no consistency in bringing in new clients. And so that one client continues to be the majority of their business, and they continue to drop everything for the slightest reason. Any new client that came in suffered and didn’t stick around for long. Staff development got put on hold, working on the important long term things were delayed. They can’t change the world, because they do not run their business, it runs them.
Even worse, that one client also suffered. At times when they should have pushed back because the client wasn’t doing what would get them to their goal, they didn’t for fear of upsetting them and them possibly going away.
When we don't do the important things to better our business, our customers will eventually suffer. A few weeks ago another marketing agency executive who was looking to grow his business and "wanted to get started".
First, he said he would schedule the call on Friday. That was two weeks ago. When I asked if he went in another direction, he replied, "I have to make sure no one else needs me first."
Are you ready to break the leash and be the one leading your business? What is holding you back?