Today I was driving over to my mother’s house and was thinking about the state of my current venture, Capital Interactive. About one month ago I quit my full-time salaried job to create a new startup that provides clients with customized web solutions. Recently I have been experiencing added stress resulting from an increasing client base, inconsistent cash flows, and uncertainties in the future. These are basic issues that a budding entrepreneur faces … it is normal. While I know that I face a rocky road ahead, there are valuable lessons that I am learning along the way. I look forward to sharing these lessons with all of my readers, and hopefully you can comment on, and contribute to my entrepreneurial lessons. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll compile all these lessons into a book.
Lesson One - You are the solution to your client’s problems, let them know that.
Last week I was given two clients by a guy that was referred to me through a previous co-worker. After getting the details on the new clients, I had a conference call with one of the clients. The client was expressing their desire to have an email solution that allows them to store their emails in folders and access all of those emails via the web as well as their desktop. I suggested going with a Microsoft exchange email solution. Additionally, the client was concerned about down-time on their website as a result of a previous hacking incident which knocked their site down for approximately 24 hours. I suggested using AtWatch which is a simple site monitoring service. After submitting a proposal to them they later agreed to the suggested services and I’ll be setting it up for them sometime next week.
Regardless of the solutions that I provided them, there was an interesting incident that occurred during the conference call. The existing web solutions provider (the guy that is giving me the clients) on a number of occasions went through a detailed explanation of how we planned on migrating their server next week, various email solutions, and how to avoid future down-time. On the other hand, I simply interjected two simple solutions throughout the conference call that they later agreed to. Initially I thought that my business associate was successfully comforting the client with his robust knowledge of the technical solutions that he can provide. Later I determined that while flexing your technical knowledge may impress some people, the client is less concerned with your actual knowledge of the services you are providing. Instead they are more concerned with your ability to produce. At the end of next week (hopefully), I will have proven to the client that I am able to provide the services that I agreed upon.
Bottom line, I am the solution to my client’s problems. I don’t need to bother them with anything more than a basic explanation of how I will solve their problems. (I’m sure there will be the rare occasion where there is some technically savvy individual who wants to know more about the technical details, but they are the exception to the rule.) How do you let the client know that you are the solution? Give them a list of solutions (both written and verbally), and then produce the solution. Once you provide the client with a finished project they can sleep well at night knowing that everything is good.
If you have any differing opinions, please feel free to comment.