Posted Friday, February 18, 2005
Recently, I was reviewing our website statistics. One of the sites that had a link to mine caught me by surprise. Since this is a family publication, I won't include the name of the website. But, let's just say it contains a four-letter word that people do not use in most business circles.
The website was basically a bulletin board for people to rant about other companies. The posting about my website started out with the subject, 'Is this website just a little too slick?' The postings went on to say that my website had a lot of sizzle, but no steak.
My first thought was, 'How dare they say something so rude after I worked so hard on my site. Are they trying to say that my business has no substance? They know nothing about me and what I do. I can’t believe they would attack MY business image.'
You see, those of you who have met me know that I am a small business image consultant. I work on everything from customer service to documentation and training. Basically, all the behind-the-scenes things that affect the business image. How could MY website have a bad image?
Then I took a step back. And, with a huge gulp of reluctance, I admitted to myself that they were right. Earlier that week, I had started to redefine my business services. Small business image consulting no longer 'fit' the real me. And somehow that was showing through on my website. It WAS a bit too slick. It was not getting to the essence of what I wanted to say.
Instead of just changing my website, I decided to take on a more important endeavor. I took a look at my identity and my brand. I found this amazing book called Make A Name For Yourself by Robin Fisher Roffer. This was the wake-up call that I needed. After pouring over the book, I began to get in touch with my natural gifts.
While documentation has always been a part of my business, it wasn't the part that I 'played up' at networking meetings. Small business image consulting sounded exotic and sexy. It got people talking about customer service and the importance of it. It got me speaking engagements. It got me lots of press. This was all of the sizzle that they mentioned on that bulletin board. But, it didn't get me what I needed most. The steak - more phone calls and emails requesting my services, and ultimately, more satisfaction.
I decided to put my writing services in the forefront. In addition to my technical writing, I now specialize in lengthy documentation and press releases. The process of redefining my business was a scary one. All these feelings of fear and inadequacy appeared. I started to wonder what people would think of the change. Would they think that this was bad for my business image?
Then, I started to wonder how many other business owners are just offering what sounds good. How many of them aren't expressing their natural gifts through their business. How many are afraid to make a change?
None of us should be afraid to redefine our services or to create a brand where there wasn't one before. Now I am more secure in what I do. I am true to myself, my passion, and my gifts. It's a freedom and a liberation that I've never felt before.
My services no longer have an exotic and sexy sound to them. But, at least now I can offer the sizzle AND the steak.
About the Author
Leila Johnson owns Johnson Solutions Group in Rio Rancho, NM. She acts as Your Virtual Documentation Department. Leila is a versatile writer who works with those small businesses that don't have the time or expertise to handle their documentation. Leila can be reached at 505-896-9379 or through her "new and improved" website at (http://www.johnsongroups.com)