When cashflow gets tight, a natural response is to start eliminating those expenses that aren’t ‘essential’. How do you meet your clients’ needs and ensure that you don’t get crossed off their essentials list?
understanding your needs as a soloist can help improve not only your enjoyment of your work and wellbeing, but also your performance. To ensure you’re not crossed off your client’s list of essential services, you need to be sure you’re meeting your clients’ needs. This begs the question: what do people really need? In my last article, I looked at our needs as soloists and found that in addition to our basic physiological needs we have the ABC of psychological needs of autonomy, belongingness and competence. Most businesses meet some need – sometimes indirectly and sometimes creating more needs in the process. You can trade on your client’s fears and get them to continue buying your product because it gives them a temporary feeling of security or feeling good. For me, making clients buy five products to meet a need or setting up client dependency is akin to selling junk or creating waste – it is not only unethical but not sustainable. The idea of creating services or products that help your clients to the extent that they no longer need you may seem to conflict with the purpose of business. Aren’t we here to maximise profit? Well, no, not all of us. Most soloists I know and work with have moved beyond this approach. They want their work efforts to be more than the passing of time or making a buck. They are interested in providing great services or products that truly improve their clients’ lives. A sustainable business for uncertain times addresses clients’ needs as directly as possible and does not create more needs in the process.
How do we create businesses that meet clients’ needs?Your business may already address a basic physiological need. For example, you may produce the snuggliest winter coats this side of Antarctica and thus be meeting people’s need for warmth. Or, you could be addressing the need for shelter by providing access to home loans or rental properties. As a bookkeeper you are addressing your clients’ need for security and sleep – knowing that their BAS will be in on time! When I look at the businesses on my outgoings list that I consider ‘essentials’, it consists of businesses that not only meet some of my basic physiological needs but also my psychological needs. They give me choices, make me feel that I belong, and help me grow.
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