Serving Others vs Serving Yourself In Business

business coach business that makes you happy customer focused make yourself happy primary care self-preservation selfish selfish vs self-preservation what makes you happy Jul 26, 2020

Recently, I received a business email that was very thought provoking. This email discussed the need to pay attention to what your customers are asking for so that you can provide better service. Sounds simple right? After all, making the customer happy is Business 101. 

 Well, what happens when your customers want you do something that doesn't make you happy?

 What if it's not what YOU want to do?

 What if you have ethical concerns about carrying the product or service they're asking you for? 

 Do you continue to serve them what they want if it's making you unhappy?

 This email really caught my attention, because it's a situation that I went through early in my Naturopathic career. All through medical school, we were told that we would be Primary Care Providers that could treat anything that walked in the door. We were discouraged from turning cases away as new practitioners while also being cautioned to refer when necessary if the patient was out of our expertise area. Such mixed messages!

 So, when I graduated I started a primary care practice and I did this for 2 years. I was miserable! It wasn't my passion and I was riddled with anxiety and concern for my patients. Did I order the right test? What if all the tests were negative but they weren't getting better? Were they going to respond to their treatment? If not, what would I recommend next? If I made even the slightest mistake then someone could be hurt or die! This was something we heard often during school, and let me tell you it does NOTHING to help with your anxiety!

 So, after careful thought, I decided to focus my business on what makes me happy and I would refer everyone else for treatment outside of what I offered. I still had my training and expertise to intervene if necessary, but I was no longer shackled by trying to be something that I'm not and offer services that my patients wanted but made me miserable. 

 In the normal business world, coaches will tell you to find a niche and stick with it. Other coaches will tell you to make the customer happy at any cost. Since this was such a hot-button topic for me, I decided to discuss this topic from both viewpoints. There's wisdom in both sides, which makes this somewhat of a dilemma! Are you ready? Let's dive in!



Viewpoint #1: Customer Focused

Every business coach and business owner will tell you that keeping your customers happy is crucial to the success of your business. After all, you want to grow your customer base, get good reviews, repeat business, and referrals. Creating a pleasant and unique customer experience is the way this happens. 

 If your customers are asking you for a particular product, service, or experience, then you would be wise to listen. If you're not willing to offer them what they're looking for, then your competitor down the street certainly will! It doesn't matter if you personally would wear the product, use it, recommend it etc. Your business is about serving others and creating a desirable outcome for THEM. Serving your customers will ultimately help you as well. 



Viewpoint #2: Do What Makes You Happy

This is your business and you can structure it in the way that resonates with you. Every business coach will tell you to identify the market that you're trying to reach. You're going to attract the kinds of people that you can help the most by your passion and desire to serve. If you're doing what's authentic to YOU and you've done the work to accurately identify your ideal customer (i.e. who they are, what they want, where they shop, what they wear etc.), then they would be in alignment with your business model for the most part.

 Also, if you believe that we live in an abundant universe, there's no fear of competition or lack. There's no need to mold yourself to fit the status quo. The people who are meant to be your customers will show up. Don't be afraid to refer people out for those goods and services that customers are asking for that you don't offer. Building up a referral network of other complimentary businesses benefits everyone! You can't be everything to everyone! If you're offering goods and services that don't resonate with you, then your customers will pick up on that. You can offer something you don't believe in to meet the expectations of other people, or stay true to what makes you happy? Which would ultimately be more damaging?

So what do you do?

 Stay open-minded! It's important that you stay true to yourself, but also continue to serve others. If you're thinking about diversifying your business, then one solution is to ask your customers if they would be interested in a menu of options that you're considering. In this way, the customers are getting what they want, and you're still offering things that would make you happy. 

 If you think you may be experiencing some limited beliefs in this area, then dig in and explore it! There's no right or wrong answer, and it's ok to try out one path then switch to another. You're human and changing your mind and your beliefs is part of your growth and evolution process. 



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