Forgive me for being Captain Obvious here, but as women, we are often referred to as pleasers. And while we all know the downside of this in our personal lives, it can also actually tank a business. The way it shows up in business is our desire to offer personalized touches, to over deliver, to support the client in ways that are above and beyond. The clients love us, we feel great, and our business’s bottom line bears the burden.
But really, you bear the burden. Because the business’s bottom line is your bottom line. When we continually give more to others, we take away from ourselves. A little of that is OK, but a lot will cost you real money, time, and eventually, personal satisfaction.
The other day I was working with a business owner who runs a financial services company. She was explaining her struggle to scale because the model she wants to provide requires so much personal support that she can’t see how it could be reproduceable unless she went the franchise route. Here’s what I told her.
“A high-touch business model isn’t scalable.”
And then I told her that the first place to look is your margins. Break down exactly what a client “costs” you in internal time. Then ask yourself some hard questions: Why – and I mean really why – do you go so far above and beyond to please and delight the client? Is it at your own expense? Is it because you’re the owner and you want everyone to love your business and working with you? Do you really like being liked? *gasp*
Once you’re clear on why you’re doing things a certain way, look at high-touch models that have been disrupted, and ask yourself whether there’s room to learn something there. For her, a similar industry that was disrupted was the legal industry. LegalZoom came along and offered great service at more affordable prices. Their lawyers on staff are helpful and nice to work with, but they deliver what you buy and nothing more – unless you want to pay more. And that’s ok!
There is no shame whatsoever in remembering that your business has a job to do, and that job is NOT to work for free (or almost for free) so that you’re seen as the nicest, smartest and most generous person out there!
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