Is Your Business Ready For a Do-Over?

Let’s say the business of your dreams allows you a comfortable income, enough money for contributions, more than enough for retirement purposes and a little bit of fun along the way.

However, your clients get in the way.

They may contact you too much, not follow up on their
commitments, cost you too much, drain your energy or may
just be the wrong clients for you at this stage of your business.

Maybe it’s time for a Business Do-Over.

What does a Do-Over require?

First, review your client list.
Second, check out how you are acting in your business.
Third, evaluate, eliminate, elevate and expand your business.

For either long or short term clients, depending on how your
business operates; you always want the best business fit.

What does a good fit mean to you?

A good fit is your Ideal Client.
An example of a good fit is someone:

- Ready to pay your fees.
- Prepared to respect your ideas and input.
- Willing to do whatever it takes to be successful
- Able to commit to the process of success.
-Willing to be satisfied with the process and its outcomes.
- Ready to ask you the right questions that push them to
where they want to be.

When you are signing up prospects, what they are called
prior to becoming clients, the prospect may seem excited,
ready to go forward and say Yes! To everything.

Then things change.

Clients may turn on you and themselves; the client may be late
with fieldwork, consistently cancel appointments, stretch out
the contract, (especially if is time dated) and do many other
things that make you question your abilities, commitment and
theirs as well.

What do you do?

Step One: You Evaluate the process.

- Did the problems occur because the client does not fit your
- Did you bend your own rules?
- Did you become too attached to your clients’ outcomes?

No matter the cause, you must reevaluate.

Operating your own business does not mean you were meant
to suffer. It is time to take stock of your existing client
base, your criteria for new clients as well as where your
life, and business are heading.

Reassess the client:

1. Is the client following through, creating success and
satisfied with the outcomes?
If the answer is No, time for a conversation.

2. Is the client lazy, unwilling to stretch themselves or
unable to take directions?

If the answer is Yes, again, time for a conversation.

If the results of the conversation are that the client will not
change, or transform, time to let them go.

This is also the time for you to evaluate your process.

Reassess yourself:

- Are you using sales techniques from years past?
- Are you satisfied with your initial presentation?
- Do you want to quit and start all over again?

Maybe it’s time to go back to the beginning.

- Why did you want to start your own business in the first
- Has your niche been empty for a while?
- Do you like what you do?

When looking at everything you do as if you are a beginner,
you will get the opportunity to see with more clarity.

Step Two: Eliminate anything standing in the way of your success:

What is the one true thing bothering you about your business?

- Do you work longer hours than necessary?
- Are your fees too low? Too high?
- Do you have the time in your schedule to complete
the required business tasks?

First, STOP! Wasting Time.

Small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals who are not successful can waste loads of
time on inconsequential tasks.

-Give up answering your telephone. Hire a service or only
answer your phone at specific times. Leave a voice mail
message that says: ‘I will return all telephone calls between
the hours of 11 a.m. and noon, and 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. during weekdays.’

- Clean out your office.

- Do only tasks of high value, and then go for a walk.

- Review your clients and friends and eliminate those who
do not support you.

- Answer your email in the afternoon only. Use the morning time
for high-level tasks. If any message requires an immediate
response, wait until the next day to attend to it. Always let
issues settle for at least twenty-four hours.

If possible, hire an assistant to do these tasks for you. It is
time to create a clean plate, to go back to the beginning.

Then, fire your lowest paying clients. Yes, I said fire. Trust
yourself that you will be able to attract higher paying clients,
train them better and make you more money.

If you work strictly on commission, as in sales or real estate,
stop working with losers. If a prospect has not purchased or
listed in over a year, reframe your contact time to once every
three or four months. Send a letter, postcard, email them or
pick up the phone.

Just don’t spend unnecessary amounts of time pushing them.
It doesn’t’ work, you will get frustrated and letting them go will
give you more time and energy to find newer, better prospects.

Step Three: Elevate Your Standards

It is time for you to raise the bar, as far as you, your
business, your clientele and your values are concerned.

First, you. If you are not living up to your own expectations,
take a survey of clients and friends and get feedback.

Ask them questions like:

“What five words define me?”
“ What do you know about what I do?”
“ What do you think I do?”

You may be amazed a how your clients and friends perceive
you. Be willing to listen to them and adjust your own evaluation
of yourself.

Are you providing Nordstrom’s service?

One thing Nordstrom’s subscribes to is:
“Act as if it is your name on the door.”

If you own your business or are an independent professional,
this goes without saying. But does it show?

The other motto from Nordstrom’s is:
“Respond to unreasonable requests.”

These statements go hand in hand with your business. Also,
do you have an assistant? Without an assistant, your success
may be limited. We were not meant to work alone. Reassess
the technical aspects of your businesses. You may need just
to hire someone to submit your articles, redo your website or
handle your mailings.

Do you have a business vision or are you just going from
day to day, client to client?

With a true business vision, all your decisions are easily made, because all your decisions are in alignment with your vision.

Create a vision for your business, align it with your goals and
mission and start anew.

Also start anew with your choice of clients. Make sure that the
criteria you have established is criteria you stick to. The more allowances you make for new clients, the more you will pay
in the end.

The right fit, your ideal client, is the only way to go.

Step Four: Expand Your Business

To expand your business can mean many things. It could
indicate more clients, higher fees, or fewer clients. My strong suggestion would be to fire the troublemakers. If not fire, do
not re-up the contract. Be clear in your determination to
expand your business by expanding your marketing. If you
already speak, write articles and have written a book, it may
be time to conduct seminars or teleclasses on a consistent
basis. It may also be time to expand your geographic area,
possibly going virtual.

This would mean you would need a good website, blog and a
hookup to Skype in order to speak to people throughout the world.

Check your market for comparable fees. Customers like to pay a more than the other guy for many reasons. It could be for bragging rights or just thinking that if you charge more, you are worth more.

Maybe that is something for you to ponder. Are you charging
enough for your services? Consider: you are not selling time,
you are selling know-how.

Like the plumber who comes over, fixes the leak, and five
minutes later charges for a full hour

The plumber knew what to do.

So do you.

Do not accept clients or customers who only buy on price. You
will not want them. What is the value of the solution you are providing? Price is derived from understanding the value to be provided to the client, not hourly or cost pricing. If price
came from cost, fee per hour for service, then Starbucks coffee
would cost about fifteen to thirty cents a cup. What is the value
to the customer or client? It is risk versus reward. What is the cost
not to solve, versus the benefit to solve the problem?

Bottom line, stop charging hourly fees.

There are many things you can do to expand your business. Determine that the business of your dreams provide you with
the income, enough money you desire, the clients that work the
best for you and time to enjoy your successful life.

Copyright 2011

Author's Bio: 

Joanne Victoria, co-founder of Gemma & Bixley and a Professional Business Intuitive, has been a business practitioner for over 25 years as a Real Estate Broker/Owner, CFO of an investment company, CFO and Sales & Marketing Director of a home-building company and CEO of her former business, New Directions. Joanne provides insights into Big Picture outcomes for clients and offers action steps essential to make dreams come alive.

Victoria guided numerous organizations from insecure financial circumstances to increased levels of success.

Joanne is the author of 5 books including: Vision With a Capital V- Create the Business of Your Dreams, Lighting Your Path-How To Create the Life You Want, How To Achieve Your Dream Business and Pushy For a Moment-Instant Solutions to Everyday Challenges.

Joanne’s observations on what people can do to succeed have been reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, national Business Journals, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Marie Claire magazine and national television and radio programs.

Joanne‘s ability to see the big picture allows her to leap over logic presented by circumstances and individuals. Joanne’s philosophy cultivates methods for identifying commanding life choices, then trusting those choices to promote growth.