If you own your own business, you've got plenty of people to keep happy, not the least of whom are your clients or customers. Not only do these people provide the revenue coming into the business but there also is a great feeling that comes with contributing to the success and happiness of your clients.
There are plenty of relatively simple ways to keep everyone content. Here are six to get you started.
1. Pay attention. Make sure you anticipate clients' needs. Get to know expectations and communication style. If you’ve been working with someone for a while, you’ll pick up on patterns and habits if you are paying attention.
For example, if emails are always short, a client might prefer to talk through weightier ideas. Instead of sending a big idea via email, pop over a short note to schedule a phone call to discuss. Also, consider what matters most to the client. For instance, each Friday does the person consistently ask questions about inbound referrals, web traffic or other accomplishments for the week? If so, then answer that question on Friday morning before the client has time to ask.
2. Consider the client's day. As an extension of pay attention, get to know an individual's schedule, what a person's days are like and show some respect toward the situation. If you know Tuesday is a typically hellacious day, don’t add to it with a pile of emails. Instead, save the less pressing matters for Wednesday afternoon or communicate in advance on Monday.
3. Ask what matters to your client -- and his boss. Get to know the communication style of the company and how your client is managed and help accordingly. On that same tip, find out what makes his boss tick. Act and deliver on what will make your client the hero.
4. Stay ahead of the curve. Prep in advance for the predictable chaos. Planning helps everyone stay ahead and also to prep for contingencies without a panic. This also allows room for more strategic and creative thinking. (You know, where we all get inspired and make great strides.) You alone can be the initiator of positive change that will benefit the whole.
5. Own your mistakes. And do it quickly. If you made a bad call then apologize and adjust course. Everything can’t be a sure win in this world -- no matter what field you’re in. Just don’t search for excuses that displace the blame. Be accountable, and recognize even the best laid plans don’t always go the way you hoped.
6. Go above and beyond. Do more than what is asked or what is planned to do. In work life, we can get so focused on the day-to-day grind that we lose sight of the main point, which is that we’re all in this together. Step outside the proverbial box and jump in to help out when you’re good at something. Your skillset may be more than what’s been scoped for you, so think beyond your assigned role. You may be retained to help on pure marketing but have expertise in product marketing, which falls under a different domain. Why not offer ideas, tips and suggestions?
Remember, you succeed by helping your clients succeed.