Almost all companies are the same. Very few strongly stand out. My web development business Hatfield Taylor Company is not immune to this. It’s very difficult to admit this, but you have to understand that despite our success, my company is not in the vicinity of where I imagine it being. What would be the point of continuing if I thought that it was?
Now, how do I make the company better? It’s a very tough question…but there’s no doubt that it has its solutions. No doubt at all.
We are very involved in promoting our client’s web presence as a whole, and what we are really good at is building custom websites (think OCC bikes as opposed to a Harley.) The truth is, we rarely build custom sites anymore. I’m finding that it may be less about “from the ground up design and development” and more about a quality website that’s simply much better than the competition’s. I mean seriously, there are incredible developers putting their product out there to be customized to your clients design and functionality needs (with unique implemented design of course). WordPress sites for example, are absolute playgrounds. It cost a quarter of the revenue to develop, and right now that’s important to people. But what do we offer?
There are thousands of companies that do the same exact thing.
When you ask our clients what has Hatfield Taylor Company done for you, you will walk away with a positive view of my business. Paul Burkett, a local lawyer, referred to our superior service stating “I was looking for something beyond ordinary in terms of presentation and market splash, and they handled it. They are always on time, no delays, very creative, and hands down the best experience I’ve had in the web and marketing area.” We have also been made aware of the national awards that our clients have won because of our work, and some that are so busy that they are passing on business to their friends.
That’s really great to hear, but it’s not enough to make us strongly stand out in the long run. We want our clients to feel that no other company can accomplish for them what we can. In fact, because we are still very small compared to some, we work very diligently.
I am not talking about the loyalty we have earned from our clients, but the awesome customer service we provide. Customer service is easy; we are never far away, we always put the client first, and we give them a quality product every time. It takes more than great customer service to keep the business.
As entrepreneurs, we are passionate about what we do, but in my case, is it web design or graphic design? I don’t think so. If that were the case, I’d be working for an advertising agency or a larger web development company. Don’t get me wrong…I love what I do, but there is more to it than that.
So what is it? I love working for myself, but that is only one reason. I believe that we do better work than most of the companies out there, and I’m not too modest to say it. Let’s say that there may be superior coders or graphic designers, but we offer more than that to our clients, and they know it. If they call my cell phone at 7:30 on a Saturday night, they know they will get a response. If they have a small idea, we help them build it into a big idea. We help them make a quarter million a year more than before they met me. But that’s still not it. Not even close.
No one is irreplaceable, and we provide service with that in mind.
What is the “magic touch” really? You’ve seen it. There is one local entrepreneur that comes to my mind, and I will leave him unnamed for now. He has the “magic touch”, and is responsible for many of the great restaurants in Montgomery, among other ventures. Although he’s a successful serial-entrepreneur, that doesn’t mean he always makes a bucket load of money on the services he makes available. When you consistently create the BEST product, you don’t have the best profit margins. The sheer number of people that support his great products is what makes the little bit of extra money spent worth it and profitable in the end. He gives his customers the BEST there is to offer, and he does it with class. And when you experience something he has created, you…feel. He gave me a great piece of advice that I’ll never forget. He told me “Not only should you have to earn the communities support, but they should also be deserving of your product”. This causes you to place a higher value on your work, and it also allows others to truly appreciate what you have given them, because they understand that they deserve it. The ones that don’t deserve it will move on, because they don’t understand it. Remember, dollars are really just thank you notes. If you don’t provide something memorable, there is no reason for anyone to thank you. If his products disappeared, people would miss them, a piece of their life would be missing. I can remember how sad I felt when Joe’s Deli moved out of its East Fairview location. The memories of popping the top on a root beer, eating a great pastrami on rye, and the great service have stayed with me to this day, and I miss that experience.
We have to earn the support of the community, and at the same time make certain that they would miss what we offer if it was suddenly taken away from them. That is what we are working towards. I want to be noticed for the great work we do.
Now, back to the other attention-seeking entrepreneurs. Success is giving them what they want, as well as what they need, and making it look easy. I think they deserve it! If you start a business and keep it running, it means you are trading many important things in your life for success. That’s what the average person will never understand. The fifteen-hour days, the stressing out over finances, the quality of the product you deliver… it takes its toll. They do deserve the best. But not all entrepreneurs are equal…it’s a simple truth.
So how do we become the people that prospective clients seek out to solve all of their exposure problems, and strongly stand out at the same time?
It is not an easily answered question. Although I lie in bed thinking about these things sometimes hours before I fall asleep, maybe it is as simple as customer service and a great product. That will make you a good company for sure, but can it make you a great company…one to be remembered? Perhaps, but it will most likely entail much more, such as my past, the things that make me a real person.
I am the person who learned everything he could tolerate about the real world, mistakes and all, before putting on his suit and tie, and perhaps a decade after everyone else my age did. Authenticity, incorporated into my professional, grown up life.
Yea, maybe that’s it. You have to find YOUR “Magic Touch”, the “it” factor that makes you and your company the sought after one.