Taking Emotions Out of the Equation
Entrepreneurs are passionate. That is what makes them able to endure all the pain and heartache of running a business. This passion pushes them through the tough times because they know that what they are doing is so important to them that they will stop at nothing to fight for their business.
This passion can sometimes be used against you. Here are a few examples of how entrepreneurs can fall into emotional traps and how you can avoid them.
Many entrepreneurs want to seem like team players, especially when just starting out. Some customers can recognize this and use it to their advantage. They ask for discounts, breaks or flexibility and in return, promise that they will use them again or be sure to recommend that entrepreneur to all their friends. This is a common trap that you should not fall for. Be confident in what you are selling and the price you are selling it for. If your product is good and you are satisfying a need of your customers then they should be willing to pay the price you are asking because they see the value in your service. If you are going to discount your product to enter the market or to showcase a new product - do it for every customer, not just the ones asking for it. If a customer really wants a discount, make them earn it. Offer a referral program so that when they tell their friends how great you are and they end up using you, then (and only then) do they get some kind of return. Also, service in kind trades never work. You can’t pay your insurer in beer so why should your customer be able to pay you that way?
You take pride in your work so don’t let someone talk it down. Be confident in what you do and be willing to own your mistakes when they happen. However, if someone is deliberately trying to undermine you and your team, remember that you have the power to walk away from the situation. You will always do more damage by saying something in a heightened emotional state than by taking the time to clearly lay out your side of the story. Try and avoid people who intentionally get under your skin as this is their way of masking their own self-deficiencies. Use tools like email and text messages to clearly get your point across without interference by others. Be sure to set expectations right out of the gate and make sure that everyone (including you) stick by these standards. That way when you go to present the hard work you have done, it is clear what you are going to receive in return. If someone is winding you up, don’t stoop to their level. Show that you are the professional who can keep their emotions in check. People will respect you for this. Finally, don’t be afraid to fire your client. Some working relationships are just not meant to be. Save yourself future headaches and move on.
It is natural when you are starting out to say yes to everything. There is an inherent fear in all of us that the future is uncertain and that someone might never approach you again. But if what they are asking does not fall under exactly what your business offers, then simply say no thank you. This may seem crazy at the time but it will save you in the long run. You have to stay true to your brand and what you are offering. By doing something that you are unsure of or you are uncomfortable with, you are potentially compromising your brand and therefore, your reputation. If you have done your research and truly know your market then there will be people out there who need the services you are offering. Now, this does not mean that you cannot be constantly trying to fine-tune your products based on customer feedback, that is an important part of growing any business. What I am trying to say is don’t try and fit a circle into a square hole just for an extra boost in sales.
Do you find yourself falling into these traps? Email me and tell me your stories of how this has affected your business in the past.