Are you someone that is hyper-organised and loves the detail? Are you someone who is juggling a family and working with clients around your children? Are you currently in full time employment but work (or want to work) as an image consultant, seeing your clients in the evening and at weekends?
Implementing some Business Systems
Whatever the scenario you need some business systems in the background to allow you to be as efficient and professional as you need to be. Being an Image Consultant is about working with the public, it’s about customer service and creating an experience that your clients will want to repeat year on year and most importantly of all, share with their friends.
Within your Image Consultancy business it is worth setting up systems or check lists for certain activities that you frequently do.
Do you have a process that you follow when you speak to a client? Do you have a check list that you complete for every enquiry? If you don’t you should. It doesn’t need to be complicated. If you write things on a scrap of paper make sure that you commit this to a space where you will NOT lose it going forward. Some of you will prefer a paper based system, others an online system, both are fine! Following up with clients, remembering their Birthdays or a special occasion that you shopped with them for, will make a huge impact and add to their experience. It might be that you keep an eye out for items in the shops and send a text message when you see something. The customer experience is vital and this allows you to be remembered. Creating something unique for them will make it very clear to them that you offer so much more than just a Styling Experience – and that it goes much further. Don’t keep everything in your head, put a system in place for this and track the frequency of which you are in touch.
Keeping on top of our paperwork and devising a filing system that works (so that you can find information quickly and efficiently) is also essential. This goes for your computer documents as well.
Putting business systems in place is all very well, but when you are time poor it’s easy to put things off!
It goes without saying that time management is absolutely vital. You need to ensure that you are punctual with your clients – ALWAYS take their phone number in case of hold-ups or problems so if you’re going to be late you can contact them. Also during a consultation be aware of time so that you don’t run over mainly because it cuts into your profit and it maybe inconvenient for your client.
Time management when you are working on your business can be much harder to control and whole days can disappear with no obvious changes! Have a realistic to do list and work your way through it. Also I find setting aside chunks of time to focus on a project very helpful – typically 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Concentrate – ignore the phone, email, Twitter and Facebook – it’s amazing what you can achieve!
Do you have a separate bank account? If you don’t you should. Without a proper system for your finances you will come unstuck. This area can be a huge time drain if you don’t get yourself organised and if bookkeeping isn’t your thing then it will probably be cheaper in the long run to find someone to handle this for you.
Knowing your numbers will make life a lot easier at the end of the tax year as well as allowing you to control your cash flow and see how well your business is performing.
This part of running an Image Consultancy business is probably our least favourite area as most of us would prefer to be out helping our clients rather than stuck in the office – but be warned without some basic systems in place your business won’t last very long!