Our personal values, client relationships, and business processes are the nuts and bolts of a business. But none of these stand on their own. It's important to remember they are intertwined.
What do your values, relationships with clients, and your systems in a business have in common?
They all play an important role in successfully building a business YOUR way.
See... when it comes to having a business and running it successfully, it’s important to understand that the nuts and bolts of business are intertwined. What’s often discussed as separate fundamentals of business never stand on their own. That’s because they have one thing in common, and that’s YOU.
To make it coherent, it’s important to know who you are, what you stand for, and how your brain is wired.
No idea what I’m waffling on about?
Let me introduce you to Sara Loretta. Things will make sense in a minute.
Sara Loretta and I meet in Geek City
Sara Loretta is my new guest on the podcast. We get along like a house on fire.
Like me, Sara is a bit of a geek. She gets a thrill out of being organised. The passion I have for Monday.com, she has for Notion. (She is your Notion expert to my Monday.com know-how. As a matter of fact, Sara is a Certified Notion Consultant. One of 40 in the entire world! Her recently updated template bundle is called ‘Notion for Designers’. )
I also appreciate that Sara is not a mincer. She’ll tell you exactly what she thinks (opinions fly!) and she values it if you do the same. If your ideas go against hers however, you can expect a swift and firm NO.
The clients that mesh with her, on the other hand...
Nuts And Bolts Of Business: The Role Of Client Relationships In Business
A few minutes into our conversation, I already have to stop Sara and double check I understand correctly.
Within 3 months of starting her business, Sara had 40 clients. (Yes, you can read that again!). 6 months into running her business as a side hustle, she quit her full-time job.
I needed to know the story behind those explosive numbers!
The answer to the HOW was one we’ve touched on before: the importance of client relationship building and referrals.
At the start, Sara reached out to people she already had a relationship with and who knew her personally. They knew the quality of her work. It was a matter of time before the referrals piled into her Inbox.
Now, several years in, Sara nurtures her existing relationships with clients. Sara is adamant that when the invoice is paid, the client relationship building isn’t over. Within 90 days of finishing the projects, clients can expect a follow-up call. It’s company policy. The conversation is casual, but genuine feedback, referrals (including referral incentives), and future projects are all on the table depending on the client she has on the other side of the line.
A few of Sara’s loyal clients have become her trusted entourage. She can run ideas past them and expect honest feedback in return. In Sara’s book, it’s part of the essentials of business.
Nuts And Bolts Of Business: The Role Of Values In Business
But as much as Sara values her clients, she’s not afraid to turn down a business opportunity when other people’s beliefs don’t fit into her own value system.
We go in business because we are passionate about something. Unless you carefully craft a value-based culture that is in line with your personal values, you will not be proud of what you do or keep the fire alight.
But it goes further than that. People buy from people they like, feel connected to. Because of this, how you work and who you work with matters. Be firm on aligning values and the people you work with will shout your name from the rooftops. Fail to walk the talk and you can expect to be called out.
Last but not least, saying NO early on when clients don’t align with our values avoids a lot of heartache down the track. It’s the best way to skip unreasonable client tantrums and unpaid invoices.
Of course, all this ties in with the processes and systems we have in our business. They should be entirely guided by the value-based culture in business and make aligning our clients with our values a doddle.
Which brings us to the last part of the holy trinity of essential nuts and bolts of business.
Nuts And Bolts Of Business: Processes And Systems In A Business
One of Sara’s core believes is that she is her own person. Nobody should tell you how to think, how to do things, or how to run her business. Business Sara’s Way; 100%! The systems in a business should reflect that.
It makes entirely sense that Notion ended up striking a spark in her. That’s because Notion is an open source platform with endless opportunity. Unlike many of the out of the box project management tools, nobody tells you how to do anything. The flip-side of that, of course, is that you won’t be up and running in a mere 30 minutes. Unless you find the ideal templates that work for you, you’ll spend a bit of time learning the Notion ropes.
But it also offers opportunity to get it absolutely spot on for you and your business.
Like me, Sara has a less is more approach with the amount of gears you incorporate in to your business. Fail to do that and you end up with a hotch-potch of systems in a business that all do something that may or may not be useful, but end up eating all your time and energy (and that of your team).
We need to remember that the tool does not make the creator. It’s easy to be distracted by all the noise and to get carried away by all the gizmo’s we are told we can’t do without. Sara’s motto is if the stripped-down version is supporting the client experience, we’re all good.
And so we‘ve come full circle in our conversation with Sara about how the nuts and bolts of business are intertwined. Nothing is its own separate thing; everything is connected. And ultimately, it all comes back to how you run a business YOUR way.
About Passions And Learning
Sara is as passionate about Notion as I am about Monday.com, so we end up comparing notes. It’s good to keep an open mind and to learn what’s out there. We have that in common too.
And then we start talking about learning, and putting in the hard yards, and embracing negative feedback (so we can learn from it).
We giggle and we agree that we should have another podcast later down the track, because we have only scratched the surface of what makes the fundamentals of business!
We may actually do it…
Did you like what Sara has to say as much as I did?
If the flexibility and freedom that comes with Notion sparks your interest, check out the FREE Basics Notion Training and the multiple Free Templates Sara whipped together. This is also where you can find her signature Notion for Designers Bundle.
Sara is also very cool (her words) to answer any questions you may have, so if that’s you, contacting Sara should top your to-do list. (You only have 39 alternative contacts. Just pointing that out here! )
Connect with Sara Loretta
Sara’s Twitter and Instagram handle is @thesaraloretta