As entrepreneurs, we all strive to do our best. We want to obtain new clients and keep our current clients happy. We work on improving our skill set and being a worthwhile investment to our clients. Yet, many of us fail in one area or another.
For myself, I found that I could deliver beautiful, functional, easy to navigate websites that achieved my client's goals. However, I could never get my own site completed. I wanted it to be everything and to be able to do everything, but the end result was that it did nothing. I could not be objective about my own business. After all, I poured my heart and soul into making this endeavor work, it was part of me.
If I had a prospective client call, who found me from a referral, then I always sent them a list of my current client's websites. I never sent them to mine and if they had looked at mine, I cringed. Honestly, I would not have sold my website design or functionality to another client, and I would never hand it to another client as a finished product, so how could I change?
It finally dawned on me one day that I needed to treat my own business as I did one of my clients'. I had, over the years, developed a list of questions, concerns and points that I went over with every new prospective client. I had even went as far as to turn this into a form that I used regularly. I found it was an essential tool to me and my business. I referred back to this form often during the design and development process. I even had a checklist that I used when near competition to make sure I had "dotted every i and crossed every t".
I then enlisted the help of my husband. I gave him my form and had him go through the list, with Me being the client. This turned out to be a great exercise. I learned a lot about my business. I know this may sound funny, but its the truth. Even though I created this business on my own and it seemed I should know "every in and out", I actually learned a lot by putting things into words and writing them down.
Before this exercise, I would consider any and every business in the world a potential client. I mean, after all, isn't my work on the world wide web? However, I discovered that my passion was for Start-Ups because I love to help people get their business off to the right start. My other focus was for long-term businesses that gotten "stuck" and wanted to see growth.
In the end, I had my own form filled out and I was able to create a website I can be proud of. I also add new content and work on it every week, just like I recommend to my clients. I changed my business model from simply websites to all types of marketing both online and in print. I'm keeping up-to-date with training and adding new skill sets that fall into this category. I'm even eliminating things that no longer reach those objectives.
What could you learn from being your own client? You might be surprised. Try it and let me know what you found. In my next article, I'll discuss another great insight that resulted from this exercise.