We’ve all heard it said that there is no “I” in “team.” What if you are a sole business owner, or solopreneur, though? Is teamwork still important? If so, can you still succeed as a team member even when there is no team? Don’t be misled by the term “solopreneur.” Even though you may be responsible for your business without the help of others, you are still a member of a team of service providers. Just as importantly, you will be most successful if you see yourself as a team player when it comes to working with your clientele. Teaming With Other Business Owners Unless you work in a very specific niche or in an extremely rural area, you are most likely in competition with other service-oriented businesses. Commonfig’s philosophy is one of teamwork and helping one another for maximum personal fulfillment (and business achievement), and this is true even when it comes to your local competition. Consider the example of a real estate agent: although she is in direct competition with other realtors and agencies when it comes to both listing houses and finding buyers, she is also in the position to help other professional real estate agents. If one of her competitors goes on vacation, for example, she can take calls from his clients. In turn, if she is ill or has a family emergency, the other agent might cover an open house for her. This not only helps each real estate agent keep his or clients, but it also keeps the clients happy. Working with clients and meeting or exceeding their expectations are the goals of working in the service industry. Everyone benefits when business owners team with other professionals in the field. Teaming With Clients It is important to see yourself within the framework of a team when it comes to working with clients. You’re not in this alone; no matter what the job, you must take your clients’ needs and desires into consideration. The person paying for services is a valued member of your team, and his input is not only valuable, but vital, to your ultimate success. Imagine a carpenter with flawless technical skills. If a client wants her cabinetry built a certain way but the carpenter provides her with something completely different, it won’t matter if his execution is perfect and his seams are precise. It won’t matter if the type of cabinet he built is the one that 99 percent of his customers want; what matters is that he did not value the input from the one who was hiring him for this particular job. Allowing your ego to get in the way of teaming with your clients is a sure-fire recipe for a disaster! Remember that although you are the one in charge of your entrepreneurial ventures, other service professionals and clients are members of your team. Think in terms of “we” and not “I” for continued success.
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