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Are You Leading By Example? an Entrepreneur's Self-Care Impacts Service to Customers

by Lori Saitz on September 2, 2009

Lori Saitz

Guest contributor Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She helps people show appreciation for and give recognition to others. The main (delicious!) tool her team uses to help accomplish this important feat is through The Gratitude Cookie(tm). A thin, crunchy cross between a butter and a sugar cookie, The Gratitude Cookie is so named because if you’re eating the cookies, you’re encouraged to think about something you are grateful for as you munch on each one.

Lessons from the oxygen mask speech
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know the flight attendants always recommend that you put your oxygen mask on before assisting others. Why is that?

Because if you’ve not taken care of yourself first, it becomes impossible to help anyone else.

I find it interesting that so many business people spend the majority of their time focusing on taking care of everything and everyone else, at their own expense.

Nevermind that this is not good for your personal well-being, this is simply not good business practice.

Financial advisors who are in debt (credible?)
Would you be willing to work with a personal trainer who is overweight? Or a financial advisor who is in debt? Likely you would prefer to work with someone who has the results you are seeking; someone who is at the top of her game. And the only way to be that person for your clients is to make sure you are keeping your commitments and, as Stephen Covey says, “sharpening the saw.”

An entrepreneur’s self-care impacts service to customers
My theory is that customer service has as much to do with helping yourself as helping your customers; that delivery of value suffers when the person or people running the business are not taking care of themselves. Yes, customer service is about serving the customer, but if the business owner or her employees are not a priority, the customer feels the (negative) effects.

And that’s never good for business.

Relevance of commitment
Part of taking care of yourself is keeping your commitments to yourself – including I believe one’s health and self-education in one’s industry – let alone commitments to others. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a Keith Ferrazzi Who’s Got Your Back event in Miami. Weeks earlier, I had mentioned this opportunity to several people in my network and many said they would like to go. But when it came down to it, not one followed through. I went anyway because I had committed.

Commit to sharpening your saw
Not attending this particular event doesn’t make someone a bad business person. But it’s the not keeping the commitment and not taking advantage of an opportunity to sharpen the saw part that hurts their success.

Many of the things that create success are easy to do. The flip side is that they are also very easy NOT to do.

You won’t necessarily see the results or consequences of your decision right away, however, over time, weeks or months or years, it makes a difference.

Do customers really know if you’re keeping commitments to yourself? And do they care, as long as you’re doing what you say you’ll do for them? The answer is YES. On some level they do know. If you’re not willing to keep your commitments to yourself, especially in sharpening your own saw, somewhere down the road -and from my observations – I suspect clients will not be as certain that you’ll continue to keep your commitments to them.

So make a commitment today
…to do what you say your going to do, however you define ‘sharpening your saw.’ It’s not just for your business and for your clients, but for yourself (and future success).

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