Are you suffering from expert-itis?
What I mean is this: are you on the receiving end of so much information, opinion and “fact” (and I use that term loosely) that you feel like you’re on a never-ending roller coaster ride?
What I’ve found is this…
Much of the online expert advice simply does not apply to many solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and small business owners I work with.
And it’s causing a lot of confusion, frustration and stress out there.
Remember this: even if the advice is good and solid, it doesn’t mean that it applies to you, your particular business, your current circumstances, your needs and, more importantly, your customer’s needs.
Fundamental to anything you choose to do in business is the focus on your customer.
Do they need it? Do they want it?
I’ve worked with many downtown business associations who’ve thought that homogenizing themselves into a mall-like atmosphere by creating uniform hours of operation is the solution.
I don’t agree.
I believe that each and every business needs to be open for business when their customers need them to be open.
If you’re a commuter-based community, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. is not going to appeal to those who leave your town by 6 a.m. and don’t arrive home until late in the evening.
The same goes for everything in business.
Be open for business when your customers need and want you, in the location(s) they need you to be in (bricks and mortar and online) and stop worrying about the experts who say you have to do this and have to do that.
What you have to do is MAKE MONEY.
And the only way you’ll make money is to:
Provide a service(s) and/or product(s) that your customer wants or needs. And yes, sometimes the customer doesn’t know what they want or need until you point it out to them. Which leads to…
Informing and educating your customer on the benefits of your product(s)/service(s). Show them how, by using your offerings, it will result in results. Which means they will experience…
Greater efficiency, effectiveness or pleasure, or reduced pain/problems by using your offerings.
In a nutshell, we need to provide things that increase a customer’s pleasure or reduce their pain, solve a problem (sometimes a problem they don’t even [yet] know they have) and do it because we know our customers better than they know themselves. (well, that might be a little bit of a stretch, but you get my drift)
I see so many clients who are driving themselves batty by quoting the experts, doing things that in and of themselves might be quite good, but really don’t suit their business and their customers.
The only expert you should rely on is YOU. You know your business best. You know your customer best.
Of course, listen and learn. Absorb knowledge.
But wisdom is knowing whether that knowledge is pertinent, applicable and useful to you.
Wisdom comes from trial and error, application and experience.
So it’s OK to be dizzy from it all…occasionally. There’s a ton of information out there, with many voices clamouring for attention with their see-me-hear-me-follow-me-like-me-do-what-I-say stuff.
Your job as a business owner is to cut through the noise, decide what works for you and your customers, and never be afraid to go against the grain, swim upstream or walk a different path.
I remember the old saw that parents used to use with their children: “If all your friends jumped off the bridge, would you do it too?”
Dare to be different. Do what’s right for you. And beware the expert who says their way is the “right” way. There are many “right” ways, and many possible solutions to any particular problem.