Today’s Post By Joe Farace
Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.—Helen Keller
Most entrepreneurs start a business because they’re passionate about something. Book lovers launch e-publishing enterprises, photographers start photo studios (that’s my story), and art lovers open galleries or design studios. But you’ll need more than passion to become a success in the coming year, you will also need to set yourself apart from other businesses that are offering similar services.
- Be an original. Don’t be like everybody else. Look at your competitors and make sure that you have nothing in common. If the only thing that separates you from the competition is the name on the front door, the color of your carpet or website background color, you have reduced your products and services to a commodity and all commodity purchases are based on price. Don’t just look different, it’s important that you express this difference to potential clients.
- Look for a gap in the marketplace, then fill it. It may seem unlikely that there could be anything new but the opposite is often true. Look for new technology and develop products and services around it. If you think the Internet is finished growing you are wrong. The Web is a toddler taking its first, halting steps and you can leverage Internet technology, along with wireless communications and hand held devices to offer new photographic services and products as well as market the ones you already have.
- Don’t practice on your clients. Know what you’re doing before you hang out that shingle or website. Knowledge of your craft and having technical skills needed to successful complete an assignment must be a given. Over time, you need to develop policies and practices that will enable you to do a better, faster job for your clients. Enthusiasm alone will not sustain your enterprise; you still have to know what you are doing.
- Treat clients the way you want to be treated. These days bad customer service is the norm and one way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to treat clients like the gold they really are. The temptation with start-ups is to worry mostly about cash flow and the thought of refunds or even giving a client “something for nothing” sounds suicidal but customers are the reason you’re in business. I have found that every product or service I “gave away” to satisfy a client request or complaint has been returned to me ten-fold. Most clients were astonished that instead of giving them the expected grief, I was understanding and gave them something for their trouble.
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