What stands as the infrastructure of your business? If you are a solo-preneur, a home-based business owner or even just a small business with a partner, then the infrastructure isn’t an organizational structure, rather it’s how you do your business. Something holds your business together and keeps it going. I posit that one of the underlying structures for tiny businesses is consistency.
Consistency has as its meaning that of holding together, adhering, maintaining its shape – whatever “it” is. It has a nuance of harmonious agreement between elements of a thing. Thought of in terms of a business, consistency could apply to:
- a suite of services or products
- policies of customer care
- a business’ reputation
- the idea that our “walk” is in harmonious agreement with our “talk”
Is our business’ stated goal and vision in line with [consistent with] the products and services we offer? If my stated business is as a life coach, then my product offerings will not include workbooks about investing. If my stated business is as an insurance agent, then my product offerings will not include workbooks about self-improvement. This is a very simplified example, but to the point.
If my business website claims that customer care emails are promptly answered…are they? Are my actions consistent with my stated policies? Do I wait to hear from my clients or do I have in place a system of contact from me to them? If I state, somewhere in my business materials, that I care for my clients, then do I follow that with actions? For instance, if my business were that of a life coach and my clients signed a contract for services that spanned several months of consultation, do I have built into it a way for myself and my client to give one another non-consulting feedback? I would want to know if the client had questions, if the client understood clearly, if the client were doing the exercises, if the client were regretting the association. Not only do I want my clients to be “happy,” I want them to be getting the value from my business that I say they will.
I think a business’ reputation depends in part on consistency. Do you, in your business, do what you say you will do? Does your product do what you say it will do? Does your service deliver what you say it will deliver? Every product should perform equally with every customer who uses it. Same product. Same service. Client to client. Customer to customer. There should never be a time when favoritism gives one client advantage in your business from another.
Walking the talk and talking the walk are cute but true ways to say that you deliver what you advertise. Every time. That your products and services are in harmonious agreement with your business goals and vision. I have a favorite asian food eatery in my community that has a particular dish I really enjoy. This business also offers home delivery. Over the past two years, I have ordered this dish about eight times utilizing their home delivery option. Every single time, the food is delivered in the space of time the hostess said it would arrive; it has been hot; it has been packaged in such a way that none spilled; and it has been consistently delicious. Every time.
Makes me wonder if some people get into a business and don’t realize that they might have a “hit” or two that people will want time and again. Makes me wonder if these people realize they will have to deliver this “hit” many, many times and that it will need to be consistently wonderful each time. Musicians are like that…there are some songs a singer becomes famous for and that song will follow that singer for the rest of time…and crowds will want to hear that particular song sung by that singer and will want it to be sung just as beautifully as the first time. For the business person, being consistent with products and services can get tiring…but these same products and services are new to each new client and customer.
Healthy businesses are those who are consistent with every aspect of their business, from products to customer care.