I’d always referred to my business as my baby but a woman once told me that I literally had to start treating my business like a child. That little tidbit turned my business into something magical.
I’d been taking any and every client who approached me wanting to do business, whether or not they were a good fit for us. That meant taking one-off projects that didn’t really fuel my business at all…they were the equivalent of feeding only junk food to my child. They were French fry clients and while they were easy money, great at the time, they just end up clogging us up because we were eating too many.
I had to start thinking of my clients as food for my baby. That meant fruit and vegetable type clients…clients who had a lot of staying power. Mmmm. Fiber.
By taking on all of those clients who weren’t really serving my business at all besides providing pay checks for my team members I was starving my child so everyone else could eat.
Once in a while a French fry is great, but French fry clients aren’t going to feed my child in a way that will sustain them and help them grow. If all you have is French fries, you’re going to get sick eventually.
So I learned I had to start treating my business like an actual child but I also learned I needed to start treating my team like a real family who would help nurture that child.
Do you watch Mad Men? I love that show and highly recommend it. In case you don’t watch it, it revolves around an ad agency on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. It was a time when secretaries were “only” secretaries, pregnant housewives smoked cigarettes and sipped cocktails over lunch and a handsome man in a suit could get away with anything.
Peggy is a character who started as the new secretary of the main character, Don Draper. But Peggy ended up becoming a copywriter, no small feat in those days. In one episode in Season 4, Peggy confronted Don about an award he won for a commercial she’d come up with the concept for. In his acceptance speech he didn’t mention her. She had expected some sort of thanks and she was quite upset about not being acknowledged in any way to which Don vehemently responded, “That’s what the paycheck is for!”
Clearly Don wasn’t interested in offering praise.
It’s important for you to believe in your team like Don does, but you have to make them believe in your business in order for everyone to win. That means praising people when praise is due and rewarding every new idea brought to the table whether it ends up working or not because it very well could provide nourishment to your child.
What’s on the menu for your business these days?