Repeat After Me – “I Have Only One Business”

Imagine you’re ten years old, and there are huge stacks of cardboard boxes towering over you. It’s a maze. It’s a fortress. And you’re allowed to climb all over them.

Inside every single one of those boxes is a dozen bottles. Fine wines, liquor, you name it. It may sound like a caterer’s dream, but I was just hanging out in the warehouse of my grandfather’s wine store. My parents worked with him, and so I kinda grew up there.

1000’s of bottles. One business.

The store ran ads every week, because every week there was a different special, a different deal. A new wine, a new vintage, a new label. Customers came in, and often the parking lot was jammed, with a line from the cash register snaking towards the back door.

Can you imagine if every time a new bottle came in, my grandfather had to open a new store to sell it? Create a new and separate ad? That’s crazy thinking, isn’t it?

One business can handle a whole lotta bottles.

You can breathe a sigh of relief. While you may be the world’s most amazing neurofeedback practitioner, just because you also want to provide nutritional education and support doesn’t mean you have to start a second business.

If you’re consulting around marketing and brand development, you don’t have to kill yourself trying to start a new consulting practice to offer organizational development and leadership training.

You’re just adding more bottles to the shelf. Seems kinda obvious when you think about it. But, what if you need another website? Or another stream of income? When does it become separate business?

A business is defined by the people it serves.

A business exists to help people solve a problem. Not just any person, or just any problem. The same business that fixes holes in your teeth isn’t going to be the same business that fixes potholes in the road.

If your message is talking to the same kind of people, about the same kind of problem, then no matter how radically different the offers are, you can keep it all under one roof.

Meditation CD. Spiritual healing session. Hot rock massages. Pilates classes. Nutrition consultation. Health strategy session. Spans quite a bit of territory, but because it addresses people healing from traumatic injuries, all of these offers connect. One business.

One business. Two businesses. Why does it matter?

Well, aside from the overwhelm that can rise up when thinking about running more than one business at a time, it all boils down to one word: Momentum.

A customer that buys a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau one week, may buy a case of Burgundy the next. And then the next week, on your recommendation, they may end up trying some white wine, and finding out they like that, too.

All people, including your clients, are complex human beings, with a large variety of needs and wants and challenges. By the same token, problems are rarely solved with only one solution or approach. A good dinner may need both a rich red wine for the steak, and then a sweet dessert wine for afterwards. An injury may need massage, exercise, nutrition, and spiritual connection to heal.

But if you’re already known as a specialist in neurofeedback, say, how could you ever expand your business without losing clients? Good question. Let’s take a look.

Keys to Adding Bottles for Momentum

* Single Answers Can Be Suspect

After touring through the world of healing, where there has to be at least one gazillion different ways of doing it, I’ve come to the conclusion: there is no one single ‘best’ way. If you are dedicating yourself to just a single modality, it’s hard to do that without having a least a little bit of unconscious modality chauvinism creep in.

Offering a sensible variety of approaches that work together and support one another can actually increase the trust your clients have in you. They’ll know that you’re growing and learning, too. And that you are more concerned about helping them, than in just doing “your thang.”

* Variety is the Spice of Life

Even people who have the most “dog with a bone” tendencies still like change and variety. By providing variety and change that is sincerely helpful, and yet still has focus, it means that they will be able to change focus, without leaving your business.

They’ll stick around and drink more deeply at your fountain, just because you’ve got different flavors. And this means that not only are they getting more and better help from you, but for you, that’s one less client you have to replace.

* Quality leads to Quantity

Because you’ve got multiple solutions all supporting the same issue behind Door #1, people are getting even better results. Which means they come back, as we’ve already said. And bring their family. And tell their friends.

Even your best clients may feel like your services are especially profound, or different, or, let’s face it, weird in some way. If you have a few different bottles available for different tastes, chances are it will be easier for them to think of something that a particular person would like.

Go ahead, take that breath, and start stacking your shelves with whatever bottles float your boat, and support your focus. Your clients will thank you, and your business will have that much more help going into momentum.