“Personality has the power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless.”
– Paul P. Harris.
How would you describe the personality of your business? You probably haven’t given it much thought. Do you know who will think about it? Your customers. From the moment they compare different window cleaning companies in your area to when they decide to hire you, they are forming opinions about your business when they call you back to clean for them again. It is easy to get lost in the everyday minutiae that we forget every interaction our clients have with our office staff, our techs, our website, our social media pages, and our marketing. To rethink what they feel about our company. Those feelings and observations will form the basis of your company’s public personality.
Your business will inevitably take on parts of your personality. If you are a single owner/operator, it may be a 100% reflection of your personality. As obvious as that is, owners rarely take time to consider how that may look to our potential customers. That type of self-awareness is rare because it’s uncomfortable. I mean, who wants to analyze all the things they need to work on? Not me. It’s way easier to run the company the way you want to and tell the customers they can either take it or leave it. If you plan to stay small and don’t have a lot of overhead or high payroll, that’s probably not going to be much of a problem. Even bad window cleaners can find and maintain a customer base that they may connect with for one reason or another.
Most of us, however, want to grow. To do that, you will need to hire people, which will mean that other personalities will influence how your business is perceived.
The more you hire, the more you will need to separate your personality from your business’s character if you want to find success in your growth.
This isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that the company won’t retain aspects of your personality. You want your business to keep your customer’s love qualities and miss them if they are gone. What it will mean, however, is that you will have to take an objective, rather than subjective, view of how your employees, your marketing, and your business habits are making you appear to potential clients.
That is where sustainability comes in. Suppose we fail to help our customers see value in the BUSINESS personality rather than in us as an INDIVIDUAL. In that case, we can inadvertently stunt the ability of our business to grow. We will develop what I call the “A-team/B-team” syndrome. This is where clients begin to think that you must have sent the “B-team” or a less qualified team that will give them an inferior product when you are not on the crew. I’ll go into more detail on that topic in a future article. For now, let’s focus on what you can do to ensure that your customers learn to appreciate and see value in your company’s personality rather than being drawn to you as a person.
Learn from customer’s complaints and adjust- As your business grows, you will naturally lose a degree of control as to how your business functions in the field. This will lead to the occasional complaint from customers. While it is important to speak with the techs and find out what they could have done better, do you take the time to see if an adjustment needs to be made in the way you run your business? If there is a common complaint that keeps coming up, you may be able to implement safeguards or guidance that help your employees avoid those mistakes. Being willing to make adjustments that give your techs the best chance to succeed is always in the best interest of your business.
Hire people who have the personality you want your business to reflect
Nothing can adversely affect the personality of a business more than the wrong hire. A person’s skill and experience level are meaningless if they harm your reputation by exhibiting negative or unprofessional personality traits. Don’t underestimate the quality of compatibility when looking at a potential hire. It’s much easier to teach a person to use a squeegee than to train a negative person to be positive. You can also hire people who excel in areas that you may struggle in. This will allow your business to adopt your strengths while letting others provide the qualities you may lack.
Take control of how your business personality is being presented
Don’t forget that you can control how your business personality is perceived. You can do this through your website, social media, marketing, and any communications you have with your current or potential clients. Keep your personal and business social media separate from each other. Avoid writing posts that could be perceived as tasteless or insensitive to fair-minded people. Similarly, avoid complaining about customers or sharing details about private disputes in a public forum. Every time you put something out into the universe, you have the power to make sure it puts the personality of your business in the best light.
Adequately communicate to your crew what qualities are important to you
Part of ensuring that customers have the best view of your company’s personality is to make sure your team knows what they are expected to do. They are, after all, the main representatives of who your company is. Train them to view the qualities you and your customers expect them to exhibit as priorities. Be consistent in reinforcing those qualities by positive affirmation when you receive compliments and addressing concerns as soon as possible.
While it does take some extra effort to monitor your company’s public personality, it’s not a big deal to maintain once it becomes part of your routine. Giving your business that self-awareness is a huge advantage over your competitors. It’s an important step in the growth and sustainability of your business. Just remember, if a client ever tells you that your business has a great personality, it is a compliment.
-By Gabriel Gutierrez