I remember years ago hearing an early childhood educator explaining that in children's art, whatever is important to them is usually larger than life, and out of proportion because that was their focus. At that time, when I looked at my young daughter's sculpture of herself, sure enough, the earrings were massive (she desperately wanted to get her ears pierced).
If you relate this concept to your business, I wonder if we tend to focus most on what is important to us rather than what is of crucial interest to our clients or customers? In other words, we've maybe taken our eyes off the ball and been all consumed with getting the word out about our product or service, when we are not even speaking the right language, one that translates well to our target audience.
As someone who last year hosted 80 events, I can tell you that much of our time is spent -- excuse the expression -- "getting bums in seats." And these days that is getting harder and harder as people are super busy and are hunkering in for the cold of this economic winter.
It is also extremely stressful, as people leave it to the last minute to register, so you never really know where you stand number-wise until the day of the event, when it is too late to cancel. Or you make the decision to pull out, and people later appear out of the woodwork, disappointed that the event is not going to happen.
It's a financial seesaw where some you win, and others you lose. It therefore pays to look at the big picture -- of your own business and everyone else's rather than focusing on one aspect, no matter how important it may be to you. It's a changing world of business, and if our businesses are to survive, we need to be flexible and prepared to change how we do business. It's time to reflect, rethink and redesign what we do.
Easier said than done. Many of us are locked into delivering our products and services in one way, but it behooves us to look beyond that and truly reflect on what our customers need and want, not what suits us to provide for them or what makes us the most profit. Remember if no one is buying, you're not making money at all.
Where do you start?
1. Check in with your customers. Find out what are the pressing issues and challenges they face. They will be pleased to be asked.
2. Look to see if there is a fit with something you could offer to relieve their pressures or address their problems.
3. Revisit your offerings, ask yourself what could still be offered but re-tweaked and packaged in a different way.
4. In this tight economy, people are looking for value for money. Do the math, number-crunch the figures and see how you can come up with something that is affordable, but still allows you to make a profit.
5. People like to feel they are getting a deal. Be prepared to give something away in order to attract them to your business and other purchases.
6. Once you have decided on your new track, let your customers know. Thank them for their input.
7. Consider starting up or reviving your ezine so customers frequently hear from you. Make sure you provide value-added information and don't just promote your business.
8. Use social media -- like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to spread the word. The price is right.
And like the earrings, just because you want something badly doesn't always mean that it will happen straight away, sometimes you just have to wait until the time is right,
Follow Anne Day on Twitter: www.twitter.com/companyofwomen