What’s the purpose of wet floor signs from the perspective of a business owner?
Believe it or not, your answer to that question can tell you a lot about how you run your business. It doesn’t matter if you have a brick-and-mortar retail location or you sell strictly from your website. This exercise is purely hypothetical.
So what do you think? What’s the purpose behind wet floor signs?
If your answer is “to protect the business from legal liability if anyone should happen to slip on on the premises,” you may have uncovered a dangerous mindset that could threaten the vitality and growth of your own business.
What might this sort of response tell you about yourself? To put it plainly, you’re focused on the wrong thing.
What’s at the Center of Your Business?
If you’ve got a “protecting what’s mine” mentality (as indicated by the aforementioned response the the wet floor sign question), you’re exhibiting symptoms of an defensive-minded, self-centered entrepreneur. You place your own interests at the center of everything you do.
On the other hand, if you said that the purpose of the wet floor sign is to protect people in your store from getting hurt, you’re showing that you’re a customer-centered entrepreneur.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your business or yourself. It would be foolish not to. But when you focus on your business instead of your customers, you’re putting the cart before proverbial horse.
You’ve heard it a hundred times: “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Not to build a store, invent a product or make a name for itself. If you want to get good at creating customers, you need to make them the most important thing.
Playing It Too Safe
It’s hard to grow your business proactively when you’re playing defense. If you’re too invested in protecting your reputation, image, your perceived upper-hand in relationships, etc., you’re probably playing too safe.
Risk-taking empowers you to make bold promises in your marketing. Playing it safe makes for boring advertisements.
Customer-centric courage frees you to offer strong guarantees, which can often increase sales by 300% even while inviting buyers to ask for their money back if they’re not fully satisfied. When you put your customers first, you’re willing to reverse the risk back on yourself.
Self-centered businesses hesitate before giving value in advance. They’re worried about getting ripped off by cheapskates or copied by sneaky competitors. Customer-centric businesses know that offering value in advance brings more leads in, develops more trust and establishes more authority in the marketplace. Sure, there’s a little more risk involved, but the upside potential is worth it.
Business isn’t about you. The companies and solo professionals that really make a difference are usually those that make it their priority to take care of their customers. They want to make the world a better place, not just put money in their bank accounts.
Which description sounds more like your business?
This illustration probably seems overly simplistic, but I think it’s also rather instructive. I’d love to hear what you think about it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section.
P.S. If you’d like to hear about some of the most courageous marketing and guarantees you can imagine, you might like to listen to my interview with Space Shuttle engineer-turned-consultant Mark Fox.