Clients Want Results: Show Them the Baby, Already!

I read a quote today that left me thinking about the early days of my business. Back then, it seemed that my systems tripped me up as often as they helped me. I wasn’t an “old hand” yet and I had not learned that starting a new project was NOT the time to investigate a new piece of software or a new system to accomplish this task.

Then, I assumed all things would go perfectly every time I started a new job, and I believed that this new program, system or tech tool wold make my pending project simpler, no matter how often that theory had been proven wrong. I remember staying up late, turning off my timer so I didn’t charge my client the time it took me to wrestle with my technology and creative issues long enough to pin a project to the mat.

I was ever-optimistic and did whatever was required to meet the deadline, but I knew I couldn’t tell the client the bends I’d endured to deliver. I couldn’t. It would be unprofessional. Every job should be a breeze. Every delivered project should be like “old hat” to a professional. Right? At least that’s how I felt the clients needed to see the final product.

And today, I see this quote:

“Clients don’t want to hear about the labor pains. They just want to see the baby.” – Andy Lansing, CEO, Levy Restaurants

I think that about sums it up. Clients really don’t need to know all the details.

That’s why we develop tight bonds with our “virtual” peers. That’s why we call to share the personal and professional victories and failures with someone who really understands that having a font suddenly quit producing symbols in the middle of a newsletter deadline isn’t a small issue. And they understand that, no, you can’t simply substitute another font after a one year run with this branded piece. They understand that an issue with emails that don’t arrive timely (or at all) isn’t a tiny or a passing problem. It’s an open-artery kind of problem that will mean the death of your business. They get it. They bemoan your situation with you.

Your family can only understand so much of what you do all day, if they don’t work right beside you. Your personal friends will try to get it, but will fail as often as they succeed. Your clients don’t need to know — they just need their own “baby” delivered in what seems like natural birth without drugs, pain or discomfort for anyone.

For those in the midst of launching a business, hang on tight. Build a network of peers — virtual and/or physical — to get you through the tough times. Rest assured that the bonds you build in this way will become some of the strongest you have ever known. Treat them with care, nurture and grow them. They will be worth even more when you are an “old hand” than they do now.