I help entrepreneurial professionals grow their businesses. My clients are mostly expert practitioners and expert firms. Why the “entrepreneurial” distinction?
In the early days of my consultancy in 1995, I’ve met doctors with busy clinics making a few million a year, and lawyers with over a dozen paralegals. They looked busy and successful. Perfect clients, or so I thought.
They were doing well and happy with the level of income they were generating, but they just wanted to keep the ball rolling and not lose momentum. Their biggest challenge was finding leads. Consistently.
Every business owner faces that challenge. But not every business owner is an entrepreneur. According to the dictionary:
- A business owner is “a person who owns a business in an attempt to make a profit from the successful operation of the company.”
- An entrepreneur is “a person who owns a business and takes on greater than normal financial risks to do so.”
Entrepreneurs are business owners with more skin in the game. By “skin” I mean they’re willing to make an investment in their business.
Both financial and psychic investments.
Owning a business is not enough. Even having the desire to have a profitable one is not enough, either. It’s the willingness to take risks and invest. It’s the desire to grow, try new things, perhaps even scale.
When I was a young, aspiring, inexperienced consultant trying to get professionals to hire me, I didn’t ask the right questions. I failed to see, looking back, what were now obvious red flags.
We all do this when we first start out.
But in my case, I took on some clients I should have never taken on. I wasted an inordinate amount of time, money, and energy trying to educate, cajole, and convince my clients on why they needed to follow my advice.
These projects came at a huge cost to me.
Both financial and psychic costs.
I eventually learned three key elements that changed things around.
- Define, as clearly as possible, who I wanted to help.
- Focus only on those who sought and valued my help.
- Attract them to my business rather than chase them.
Today, I advise my clients on doing the same. The result is a win-win-win. A win for me, my clients, and their clients, too. It’s transformative. Some have even changed their entire business models based on following that very simple yet very powerful piece of advice.
The point is this:
There are either financial and psychic investments or costs.
They are inversely proportional, for the lesser the investment your clients are willing to make, the greater the costs you will undoubtedly incur.
Your goal, therefore, is to work with only those clients with an appetite, willingness, and ability to invest in their success. And the only way to find them is to have them find you.
That’s power positioning.