Effective Solopreneur: Getting Personal with Your Business

Getting Personal with BusinessWhen I was a kid, one of the most common phrases I heard was, “It’s not personal, it’s business!” Of course, like any kid, I soaked up that message in the media and movies, believing that somehow business relationships were vastly *different* than, and separate from, personal relationships. The message was that to be successful in growing a business, one must also be cold, ruthless, and uninvolved.

Then, I started my own businesses and realized that concept was way off the mark!

In every single business, what has brought the fastest and most sustainable success has been developing and nurturing *the relationships*. Relationships with new and existing clients. Relationships with potential clients. Relationships with vendors. Relationships with fellow service providers. Relationships with providers of complimentary services. Relationships with fellow associates and networkers.

Running and growing a successful business is pretty much ONE BIG relationship-fest, all of which is very personal!

Clients do not hire unless they feel you will deliver on your promises. Vendors do not support your business unless they feel you will deliver on your promises. Associates do not refer you to others unless they feel you will deliver on your promises.

Realize that you are also a client, a vendor and an associate to other business owners. Yes, healthy and successful business relationships are a two-way street.

When clients feel heard, treated with respect and appreciated, they want to do business with you. When vendors feel heard, treated with respect and appreciated, they want to do business with you. When associates feel heard, treated with respect and appreciated, they want to do business with you.

Is that really different from any other relationship? Don’t we all want to feel heard, treated with respect and appreciated?

Along the way, I’ve heard a lot of advice regarding business relationships. One of the most helpful was actually focused on human relationships in general, and I applied it to business: Jack Canfield said that it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to appreciate you. Holding that expectation sets us up for disappointment and resentment which poison our relationships with others.

However, he also said…

When you walk into any room: Approximately 25% of the people in the room will like you immediately before you even speak. Approximately 25% of the people in the room will dislike you immediately before you even speak. And, the remaining 50% of the people in the room could care less, either way.

Applying Jack’s point to business, I realized this: Give your attention and energy to the clients (potential, new and existing), vendors, and associates who naturally appreciate you and your services.

Stop trying to impress the unimpressable. Release the need-to-please the unpleasable. Let the unhappy ones go about finding those service providers with whom they naturally connect so they have a chance of being happier.

Set your intention to work with clients who appreciate and value your products and services.
Let it be OK that it’s not 100% of the people and businesses on the planet. Trust me, with 25% of the businesses appreciating you, you will do very well! Plus, because you are happier, those 25% will hire you more and refer you more to like-minded business owners.

If you’ve got existing clients who never seem happy, who are always complaining, it’s time to have a talk with them. If you have had a happy client suddenly shift into an unhappy one, take the time to find out if it’s a temporary or permanent issue. If there is no way to fully support the client in a way that’s enjoyable for you, it’s OK to encourage them to find another resource. That’s my diplomatic way of saying fire the client. Someday, they’ll thank you!

Following this process of focusing only on the clients who truly appreciate you, and letting go of those who don’t, allows you to savor the happy relationships with clients, vendors, and associations while having more fun in your day-to-day business! Successful and happy business owners take the time to get to know and support their clients, vendors and fellow associates. They also appreciate clients, vendors, and associates who support them. Are you one of those clients, vendors and associates?

It’s your turn to share your stories and thoughts in the comments below. What is one step you can take today to focus on the clients who appreciate and value you?

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15 thoughts on “Effective Solopreneur: Getting Personal with Your Business

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Getting Personal with Your Business -- Topsy.com

  2. My husband and I together run a window cleaning business (for 15 yrs now). One thing we always do is remember the names of the people we clean for. And oddly, I can remember voices of people when they call to book a job so I pretty much know who it is when they call (no caller id! I know, dark ages! lol)

    Also, of course there are some customers who gripe right off the bat. Those still get a smile. Even when we don’t want to, lol. They need us, and we need them. In the end, that’s what it’s all about. That and just being a good, friendly service business.
    .-= sheila´s last blog ..Word of the week- Determination =-.

    • I love that example of recognizing voices, Sheila! I’ve done that, *YET* it always surprises me when clients recognize *mine*. LOL! Many say, “Nancy, you don’t even need to say your last name…we know it’s YOU!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

      As far as…

      Also, of course there are some customers who gripe right off the bat. Those still get a smile. Even when we donโ€™t want to, lol. They need us, and we need them.

      I know it’s counter-intuitive, but when you let go of the gripers, you send a message to the Universe that 1.) You matter, 2. ) You deserve respect and appreciation, and 3.) Your self-esteem and self-love get a big boost…ALL of which cause the Universe to mirror back clients who know you matter, respect and appreciate you/your services. Here’s a call that talks a little about this phenomenon: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sandraleeschubert/2009/06/02/wild-woman-network-radio …in addition to http://cocreationcafe.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/ ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Let go of fear, and embrace love. Your business with THANK YOU for it!

      Many blessings,

  3. This is all so true, Nancy. In my husband’s business, a local company in the food industry, he always remembers what each of his customers buys. When he sees one of his customers out and about in town, he can look at them and say, “Dark chocolate almonds,” or “Lots of raw walnuts during the holidays.” He can also say, “Has grandkids out of state,” or “Sends care packages to kids in the military.” So he brings each person what they love, and they feel cared for and remembered – which they are.

    In my own business, providing intuitive coaching and readings, I provide extra support to help my clients integrate their changes, through accountability, availability for questions, and ongoing friendly connection. I’d like to increase this, though, so we have even more warm-hearted connections.
    .-= Harmony Harrison´s last blog ..Intuition Wins the Financial Decision Game! =-.

    • Harmony, it sounds like your husband has the personal-touch figured out! I’m sure his customers FEEL this energetically and respond by buying more and referring often. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I have all the confidence that you will easily and joyfully increase the warm-hearted connections.

      Many blessings,

  4. Right on Nancy!
    And it inspires me to think about writing a piece on the NPA Paradox – ie. realising that ‘nothing is personal’ tends to draw people to more open, less self conscious and certainly more heartfelt interactions with themselves and the world – which in common language usuage, equates to – a more personal lifestyle!! :0)
    Thanks for sharing, and being in my 25% likers! ;0)

    • Looking forward to reading your article on the NPA Parardox, Joel!

      Thanks for stopping by and being one of my 25% likers, too …I forgot to mention in the post… we often like those who like us. Mutual Admiration Societies build and sustain businesses!

      Many blessings,

      • Hey Nancy!

        Mutual Appreciation Societies – what a great thing!
        You ROCK btw! ;0)

        I’m writing that article now, and will be sure to credit you for the inspiration, and link-back!

        Love & Mutual Appreciation,


  5. Hi Nancy, I like this article. And the comments about remembering details reminds me of a post I wrote last year in honor of my local fruit and veg vendors, who really had this relationship thing down to a fine art! (http://soulbusiness.com.au/the-Italians – bless them!).

    I remember reading about this kind of personalisation when I first started studying business- having systems to remember your clients brays and send them a card, for example. What I guess I’ve learnt in the years since is that it’s important to let it evolve organically for you and your business. It’s not like a formula, y’know? (of course, you never said it was). But there’s my 2 cents anyway. Hope it makes sense! ๐Ÿ™‚
    .-= Yollana´s last blog ..A Little Update =-.

    • Yollana, thank you for stopping by and sharing your comments here. Whether it’s remembering clients birthdays or listening closely, and remembering what each client prefers, I agree the bottom line is: Business is Personal!

      BTW, I loved your article! I hope you’ll be updating your blog again soon so we have something to read and comment on. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Many blessings,

  6. Hi Nancy…very wisdomful yet full of common sense, if there is such a thing ! Yes business relationships do feel personal. What ever you are “selling” clients are attracted or not to your energy around how it can help them…you are your business and some people will like you others won’t and you are right we must focus on the open doors because the closed ones need to work out why they are closed !

    Blessings and light
    Gina Hardy

    • WOW, wisdomful…what a word!

      Thanks for the comment, Gina, and for reminding folks that it’s all about the energy we put out and the kind of clients that attracts. So many business owners think they need to have the same type of clients as other providers, but I know that we each offer something unique…which means our clientele is unique, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Many blessings,

  7. Hi Nancy,

    Yes, business is personal and I like Jack Canfields comment: itโ€™s unrealistic to expect everyone to appreciate you. I think I took a while to realize that and I have to remember to stop comparing myself to others and know that the people who will be attracted to my approach will be the ones that I resonate and connect with.

    Thanks for connecting,
    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last blog ..12 Things I Wish I Had Known Earlier In My Lifeโ€ฆ =-.

  8. Hi, Suzie ~ I’d say there are a LOT of folks who took a while to realize you can’t please everyone. Chellie Campbell calls those who instantly like her “my people”…and those who don’t “not my people”. That takes the judgement out of it and makes it feel better.

    So glad you brought up the comparison issue: We really are all unique with something special to offer. Our energy is better served focusing on THAT, and not on comparison games.

    Many blessings,

  9. Nancy, thanks for the great article! I really appreciate the relationships I’m forming in my business. Absolutely love when people get exactly what they want from my products. And I even look forward to negative feedback because it gives me an opportunity to fix the issue and help this customer as well as incorporate that change to make my proucts and customer service even better!

    Keep up the great work! ๐Ÿ™‚
    .-= Amandaยดs last blog ..Relaxation Gift Set =-.

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