You may sometime hear someone say, “Business would be great if it wasn’t for two things: customers and employees.”
While the statement is true enough, it betrays a mindset that is harmful to growing a business. Hating your customers is not a growth strategy. Having negative feelings about your team will ensure you stagnate at best, and disappear at worst.
Clients, or customers if that better describes your relationship with the people and companies you serve, are the reason your business exists.
Wait. You thought the reason your business exists is to make money for you and your shareholders? Making money on the net line is the result of doing a lot things right. You have to make more money than you spend. But the money that you spend shows up on the Revenue line of your P&L when you deposit the checks you receive from your clients.
To remind you how important are your clients, go ahead and delete the revenue from the top 20% of your client list. What’s that you say about money? The order of things matter. Your business exists to serve your clients. Money is the outcome of doing that well. Not taking care of your clients well eliminates money.
When your client presents you with a difficult–or seemingly impossible–challenge, when they behave badly, and when they act from a place of scarcity and fear, remember that they are why you exist. Remember too that solving their problems gives you new capabilities that you can use to solve other client’s problems.
Your clients are the most important asset you have. Without them, you have no business. Speaking poorly of your clients is an example that your team will follow.
Employees, like all human beings, can be difficult. They can cause you problems, and they will, from time to time, disappoint you. They will also exceed your expectations, do the impossible, and delight you and your clients.
Without employees you cannot serve your clients. If you want to grow your business, the speed at which you can do so is directly proportional to the caliber of the employees you hire, the leadership you provide, the culture you create, and the processes and systems you build for and with them.
Much of the time, the problems you see with your employees are the result of some constraint that needs your attention, some donkey you need to remove from the bridge to clear the path for your people.
If you want your employees to perform for your clients, you have to perform for them. Harboring bad feelings towards your employees is a governor on your businesses growth’ the more you turn up your resentment and frustration, the slower you grow.
Words have meaning. Words also have consequences. Instead of seeing the challenges your clients and employees present you, see them as opportunities to grow, to improve, and to do meaningful work.
If you would grow your business, you have to love your clients and love your people.