Who Is Running Your Business?

by : Gerry Rose

How many times have you heard, "I couldn't make the meeting. My customer needed me." On the other hand, one of my favorites is, "I jump through hoops for my clients."-and then after four months of jumping, the client doesn't call back. I often hear "The client will not return my calls" from vendors. What is the answer? It may come from the question "Who is running your business?" Would the vendor have better maintained the customer if he were a little less available?

This article is special, as it addresses the entrepreneur: those of us in business who have chosen to leave Corporate America behind for the good life. What is the good life? Many describe the good life as having more flexibility, being able to come and go as we please. Most entrepreneurs I interview go out on their own because the values they acquire during a lifetime of experience (15 to 20 years) are different from when they started their corporate jobs. We are taught that the customer is always right. Often we're so eager to please that we compromise the very reasons we start our own business. We attempt to satisfy our customers by compromising our values. Who is running your business?

We say, "I'll slow down as soon as I make it." We continue to work at a harried pace, never really learning how to enjoy the life we attempt to produce. We drive ourselves crazy in an attempt to satisfy our clients. Often we end our business careers never satisfying the client or ourselves.

Many entrepreneurs make the decision to become self-employed to gain quality time with family. Others want more time to spend in the community, giving back to the systems that support their lifestyles. I often chuckle to myself by the idea of the deathbed question, "What would you have done differently?" None will ever answer, "I wish I had worked harder." However, because we're taught that the customer is king, we now decide to jump through the proverbial hoop to satisfy. We lose sight of the fact that now our customers are running our business.

You might equate success as a time in the future when all your business is by referral, and people are lined up at your door waiting for you to be open. That would be nice! What if I told you that you could have that business right now? The only thing that you have to change is how you react to your clients. You need to take charge of running your business.

People want to do business with busy people. Now is the time to become busy. It is important to "couch" your time with a busy-person attitude, even with an empty plan book. If you are running your business, your plan book is full in anticipation of appointments. Many of us who have started businesses from scratch will tell you that initially we'd take any client that came along. However, as time moved on those of us who were fortunate enough to build a successful practice became more selective as to whom we chose for new clients. Being selective is a very important lesson to learn if you want to survive as an entrepreneur-and maintain any form of sanity. When booking appointments you need to pause and evaluate your plan book, even if it's empty. You are in control. Don't just jump at the first empty space. You may consider this deceitful, but reconsider. You are in control, so take control by being in charge of your time and your business time.

How do you pay the bills with no appointments? Consider this, especially if you are just getting by or working harder than ever to make sales: become a strictly referral business today. It is as simple as changing your. Sales reminder: People naturally want what they cannot have. This applies to every sale and every referral. Think about something you once wanted and now have. How about that car that was just too expensive? What about your dream home? OK, maybe not your dream home, but one that was just a little out of your price range. How about that special person? Remember the first kiss? How satisfying was it? It was great. The same thing can happen when selling. It's up to you. Do you want to continue on the same wheel, running in place or just staying ahead? Or would you prefer to be in control of your life? Make the choice today to run your business. When you do, it truly will be the start of a wonderful life.