The most exciting businesses nowadays are agile and responsive to changes in the market. They are conscious of their footprint both physical as environmental. As the world is rapidly changing and clients are demanding businesses to be engaged with their surroundings, you need to be laser-focused on providing the best service to your clients in the right context for them. It’s not always about who offers the cheapest solution or which company is the biggest. It’s about which company that is closest to the client’s needs and values, where it’s no longer a client/supplier relationship, but one of the business partners.
Make the Internet Work for your Business
The internet has given us a bunch of tools to help companies reduce their physical and environmental footprint. At the same time, it has provided the headspace to keep start-ups nimble and focused on forging real relationships with (potential) clients. Think of virtual offices that provide you with visibility and flexibility. Or think of secure fax services that eliminate the need to get expensive fax machines and take care of the whole process in the cloud. Or consider the ways we can build our businesses with freelance workers and pay-per-service SaaS models, which reduce overhead for most companies.
Become a Business Ninja
To be a business ninja, you do need to change your mindset though. Running a business does not always mean having a building with your name on it. It does not necessarily mean having a staffed reception desk when a client comes in. It might not even mean having staff come in 9-5 each day. What about people printing documents to read, rather than digesting information from their screen (controversial really!). The danger of all these things (and many more other archetypical ‘office’ concepts) is always that the process of ‘running a business’ overtakes the focus on ‘delivering a service’. That being said, some things you will never be able to phase out, such as invoices, billing and just general business admin (like taxes!).
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Go Back to Basics
Being a business ninja basically means questioning everything and going back to basics. This is why running a business on a shoestring is such a good exercise as it really forces people to cut out the fat.
Start with an MVP
A business ninja will start with an MVP (minimum viable product) and deliver services from that perspective. What does the client really need?
A business ninja is also aware that what the client has asked for is not always what he or she needs. Asking further questions and not being afraid to push back and help a client tweak their assignment should be part and parcel of any negotiation.
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Be a Part of their Business
That’s what it means to be a business ninja, you are as much as a supplier/partner to your clients as being part of their business. Their success means your success. And, as you will cut out the fat and unneeded frivolity in your own business, so will you do so for theirs. Soon, you will be seen as a pivotal part of their business, crucial to maximizing their effectiveness. This is where the lines blur between providing ‘just’ a service and being a core partner for your clients.
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