Sometimes it’s difficult to do for ourselves what we do for others: the cobbler has no shoes, the doctor doesn’t have regular check ups, the attorney doesn’t have a will. The same is true for a lot of us in the service industry. We market others better than we market ourselves, we encourage updating websites while we neglect our own, we offer tips on negotiating that we don’t take. When we have clients who don’t take our advice, it is frustrating; when we don’t take our own advice, we become our own worst customers.
I was reminded of this recently when I attended the WPEO-DC Onboarding event hosted by Sodexo last week. Sandra Eberhard, the Executive Director of WPEO-DC and Darlene Fuller, Senior Director of Global Supplier Diversity at Sodexo, used 12PointFive’s WBENCLink profile as an example of how to improve your online resume. WBENCLink is the national online database of all certified women’s business enterprises and corporate members of WBENC. When a company applies for WBENC certification, they fill in an online application and that application becomes the company’s profile in the network. When my profile was up on the screen in front of the group, I remembered that when filling out my application two months ago, I had used the exact same description of my company in two separate fields. I knew that key words were important but I didn’t know which section to use key words and which to dedicate to flowery prose. I figured I would finish my application, then follow up to get the answer and fix my profile. Since becoming certified, though, I actually hadn’t looked back at my profile in WBENCLink. I know a clear and complete profile makes it easier for companies to find me. In fact, I’ve been telling business owners for 15 years to review and update their profiles for that reason. Despite my experience, I was missing an opportunity to showcase what my company can do for potential clients. After receiving great feedback and advice from the group, also potential clients, I did review my profile and sent language to update it.
There’s probably something in your business you know you should do but haven’t done. So how to go from being your own worst customer, to your best customer? Picture your valued client or a good friend. If your client or friend asks you for advice on a tough decision, in your area of expertise, you wouldn’t hesitate to help them.
With that in mind, one of the best things we can do for our businesses in 2018 is to treat ourselves like our own best customers. To get started, I wrote down 4 intentions for 2018. I share them here to remind, motivate, and hold myself accountable in the coming year.
- Set aside time for business maintenance: Just blocking off time to update my materials and tweak my marketing language made a huge difference this week in my time management.
- Show up: If I hadn’t shown up at the WPEO Onboarding event, I wouldn’t have acted so quickly on updating my profile.
- Be Present: After showing up, it’s important to listen, listen, listen and participate so you get the most out of your time. While my online profile wasn’t perfect, receiving feedback from the group was priceless.
- Follow up: When the reminder popped up on my calendar to update my WBENClink profile, I did just that and now it’s done. I’ll still revisit regularly but I have a head start on 2018.
We’ll see how I do. Looking back on 2017, are you your own best customer? Is there anything you want to do or do differently in 2018?