66 – March 7
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”—Maxwell Maltz
Self-esteem begins here: Anyone who doesn’t like you is an idiot.
I used to bend myself into all kinds of pretzel shapes, trying to get people to like me. It was usually futile, because there wasn’t much there to like—or dislike for that matter. I didn’t know who I was. I just knew I wanted to be accepted, and thought of as smart, talented, and beautiful. I was afraid that I wasn’t any of those things. I looked up to other people that I judged to be better than me, and gave them the power to judge me. If they liked me, I was relieved. If they didn’t, I was crushed. But I was never safe, never secure. How could I be? If people like the mask I show them, they don’t really like me, they like the mask. I have no chance of being loved for who I am if I never show who I am.
Eventually, I figured this out. If I find out who I really am, then show it, I figure my chances of having someone like what they see in me is approximately fifty-fifty. A 50 percent chance is a big improvement over a zero percent chance.
I am a self-confessed acknowledgment junkie. I love applause and compliments. But I used to want them from everyone. Now I just want them from “My People.” My People are fabulous, smart, terrifically talented, discerning, intelligent, successful, spiritual, and loving. Like you.
Everyone else is an idiot.
Today, act as if this were true for you, too.
Because it is.
“I am a fabulous person and all fabulous people think so, too!”
Nothing makes us doubt ourselves more than being confronted with “The Competition”. You and your business could be humming along for years, fat and happy, and then someone else shows up doing the same thing. And cheaper! Or suddenly the new guy in the sales department is bringing in more business than you. Or a big department store opens near your little boutique.
And maybe then some of your clients go running off to sample the wares “The Competition” is offering. I know during the last recession, there were suddenly a zillion money coaches, therapists, and consultants offering seminars and teleclasses on how to make more money.
So what do you do them?
Welcome to Business Growth 2.0!
I know it’s a shock when you were the only game in town and had no competition and now you’re losing some customers to the new kid on the block. Of course it’s scary. But it’s really a call to action.
For perspective, you can say prayers of gratitude and thanks that you got to build your business without having to worry about the competition. The new person has to be very concerned about you. Of course, the most usual business ploy is to have a lower price and “loss leaders” to get people in the door. But after they’re inside, now she has to be better than you, more fun than you every step of the way.
This is a wake up call for you to be creative and inventive in your marketing, in offering some low-cost loss leaders yourself. Do a survey of your customers and ask what they most value and appreciate about you and your services. If you can talk to some of your best people who left and ask why, it will give you some ideas. Is there anything that needs improving? Find out and take action.
Maybe they are just checking it out and after a couple of months they’ll figure out that you are better and they’ll be back. Make sure you always welcome them with open arms, and publicize special discounts or a free session or two for old customers (my one-time gym sends me an invitation every January to come back with no initiation fee and two free months). If they like some special program, find out what it is and set one up yourself. Learn from them.
And you know what? Often you can befriend your competition and help each other out.. People don’t take one self-help seminar and then they’re done. They usually like the attention and support of coaches, seminars and mastermind groups and sign up for them regularly. Figure out how you could join together and cross-promote or do joint ventures
Don’t get into a price war. No one wins if you do that. My firm belief is that price is not an obstacle with personal service businesses. Back in the 90s when I did my classes live and got everyone from the local networking groups, there were many other business coaches and seminar leaders at the meetings. At that time, I was the most expensive. But there was a cache to that, too, see? People said, “How is she able to charge so much and fill her classes every time? It must work!”
All this really means is that you’re ready for the next step in sophistication and upleveling your business. Congratulations! New adventures await. “There are no problems, only opportunities for growth.” Don’t you hate that? But it’s true.