Running a service business requires a unique personal skillset. In this article, Dorie Clark will show you what it takes.
For a small business, service business leadership starts with the business owner. Unless you identify your own strengths and weaknesses, you won’t be able to do it for your business. Understanding who you are can help you reinvent yourself and make running a service business much more effective.
By the end of this article, you’ll learn how to go about this the right way. You’ll get a chance to learn from Dorie Clark, a true expert on the matter.
Listing all her achievements would take forever. She’s an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She’s also the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out, Inc. magazine’s #1 leadership book of 2015. The book also made the Forbes list of Top 10 Business Books of the Year.
You can depend on Dorie for more than a few nuggets of wisdom. Let’s see what it takes to reinvent yourself and how this can impact your service business leadership, Dorie Clark style.
How to Reinvent Yourself
Dorie states that reinvention is a huge part of our lives. It has certainly been for her. She states that the way she runs her business has drastically evolved over the years. She started as a marketing consultant and a small business owner. Since then, she has branched out into many different areas.
She did this through continuous reinvention. She explains that the worn-out model of graduating from college and slogging away for the rest of your life doesn’t work anymore. To truly succeed in running a service business, you need to keep improving yourself on a regular basis. Your thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs need to morph and evolve.
Let’s take a closer look at what this actually means.
Your service business leadership depends heavily on your personal makeup. The first step to reinventing yourself is taking a hard look in the mirror and seeing who you are. Being 100% true to yourself is of the utmost importance here.
But not everyone can answer this question with ease. To help people along, Dorie developed her ‘three words exercise.’ All you have to do is to ask about a half dozen people to describe you in three words. This will give you a good idea of how people look at you.
Dorie shares a story about a particular experiment with her clients. She gathered them in a room and asked one person to step out for a moment. All the others wrote down three words that describe their colleague. Perhaps not surprisingly, 7 out of 10 people wrote creative.
The person who stepped out might’ve thought of himself as creative. But this serves to confirm that creativity is a trait that dominates his personality. This means that creativity could be the top quality set sets him apart from other people.
Understanding what others perceive of you can give you clarity. One of our clients experienced this when he wanted to improve his service business leadership with CEO Warrior. In his words:
‘My personal life has improved, my relationships are better. So I now have more clarity on where I want to go, how to get there, and now I have somebody behind me to help me get to my goals and get to my vision.’
Figuring out who you are can be a profound experience. Running a service business is hard enough to make you lose yourself. To reinvent yourself, you need to find something that can serve as a cornerstone.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone (But Not Too Far)
Stepping out of your comfort zone is so overused that it’s become a cliché. But there’s a good reason for saying this, as it’s necessary to reinventing yourself and running a service business more efficiently.
If you’re not stepping out of your comfort zone, you’re not growing. You keep doing the same stuff over and over again and your service business leadership will never change. The growth and results of your business will reflect this.
But Dorie mentions another extreme. She advises against pushing yourself too far away from your comfort zone.
Dorie explains this with her own example. As an introvert, she knows that this is not a trait that traditional business people appreciate. But it never stopped her from being true to herself. Instead of apologizing, she learned to own up to it and find a way to turn it into an advantage. She still steps out of her comfort zone, but she also comes back to it every once in a while.
After taking a hard look at yourself and getting feedback from others, you’ll find out what you should work on to improve yourself. Through stepping out of your comfort zone in a healthy way, you can take action and reinvent yourself continuously.
But how does this translate to running a service business? It’s because reinventing yourself can set your business apart from other businesses, particularly your competitors.
How to Use Your Reinvented Self to Build Your Business
Reinventing yourself is about uncovering what makes you authentic and then getting the most out of it. The market responds positively to authenticity, so this can be your competitive advantage.
Once you start reinventing yourself, you’ll gain a huge confidence boost. And like its effects on many things in life, confidence is one of the most important components of running a service business.
You can see this in Mandie Hogan of Rowells Services. She’s a Warrior who joined us about two years ago, which has been a life-changing experience for her.
‘I am definitely a lot more confident in my interactions with everyone that I work with. I love to be a leader I love to grow. I love to see the changes in my personal self,’ says Mandie.
That’s the essence of reinventing yourself. Let’s drill down to the specifics and recount the benefits of applying your reinvented self to running a service business.
Networking Becomes Easier
Once you start reinventing yourself and the confidence that comes with it kicks in, networking will become much more effortless. You’ll be able to approach people much more easily, knowing that you have something unique to offer.
Now, let’s get back to the comfort zone talk for a moment. Many people think that networking is about going to major events and shaking as many hands as possible. If you’re an introvert by nature, this might not be easy for you. And if you force yourself into it, it can easily backfire.
But Dorie explains that you only have to adjust the approach to fit your strengths. You can invite people for one-on-one coffee. Or you can have a small dinner with a select few.
The point is to do whatever that can allow you to be more comfortable with yourself. And with that, your newfound confidence will come to the fore. There are countless ways to network. Don’t limit yourself and choose what works for you. Creating connections is a highly important part of running a service business, which your reinvented self would be very adept at.
Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
Dorie has met a lot of people who feel like what they have to offer isn’t enough. At the beginning of her career, she felt the same way as well. Working on her own, she felt like people wouldn’t choose her over a big agency. And yet, she’s now a lot more successful and well-regarded than many of those agencies.
She shares a moving story about this in her book. One of her clients had a profound reinvention experience. She started her career as a poet before making an unlikely transition into management consulting.
At first, she thought that people wouldn’t take her seriously because of her background. She felt embarrassed and avoided talking about it altogether. But through her reinvention, she learned how to own it and turn it into one of her strongest suits.
As a small business owner, she had no illusions of presiding over Nike or Apple, but she had her own unique selling proposition. Her poetry background made her a master communicator, which did wonders for her business.
There are many stories like Lydia’s. After your reinvention, you’ll realize that you have many more strengths than you previously thought.
Start Reinventing Yourself
A proper reinvention can truly open your eyes to opportunities you never knew existed. Once you realize this, running a service business will become a much more powerful journey.
Dorie has helped countless people achieve this. Her rich experience transformed the lives of many, and their businesses thrived as a result.
When you start reinventing yourself, your service business leadership will evolve to the better. You’ll be able to avoid stagnation and grow in both your personal and professional lives. You only have to take that first step.
Has success been elusive and you feel stuck?