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Got A Handle?

I once visited a therapist who had two doors to her office – one that got you into the foyer, and the next that led to her inner private office. The first one had two handles and acted like a normal door. The second only had a handle on one side – her side. So you couldn’t open it from the outside (just in case you went insane from waiting while another client wiped away the tears/rage/frustration/radical truth of her session). I always saw this as an interesting metaphor.

So many times with our business we have that outer door with two handles locked down in the form of beautiful business cards, a well functioning website, great people skills, and clients who love us. But what’s missing is something really clear for our customers to buy.

If your services or offerings feel like a smorgasbord, it’s just too hard to get “in” to your business. There’s no handle. The door feels un-openable because it’s all too confusing, overwhelming, unclear, and ambiguous. So customers leave, and they’re never quite sure why. Yes it’s literal when it comes to a real door, but in a business, it just feels like something that seemed like a good idea – and then never happened.

Stand for something – it doesn’t have to be everything. Commit to highlighting it. You’ll feel a bit like “but what about this? And that? And I also do this!” Just calm down. They need to find a handle to get in and walk through the door – because if they don’t – they’ll never find the treasures of your company, services, or products in the first place.

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Amy Swift Crosby is the founder of SMARTY, a women’s entrepreneurial network based in Los Angeles and Boston. SMARTY creates programs for women, panel discussions and hosts peer group meetings to support women in the growth and success of their small businesses. Amy is also a strategist and copy writer and works with brands to establish strategy, positioning and messaging. She has worked on campaigns or projects for hundreds of consumer goods, luxury, hospitality and service businesses – but some of her favorites have been for GUESS, MGM Mirage/City Center, The Mandarin Oriental, Ian Schrager Hotels and Christian Dior. She is the moderator of SMARTY’s entrepreneurial panels and has been speaker at women’s conferences all over the country. Her blog about small business is a leading voice in the entrepreneurial space.

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