I asked a fellow business owner today what one big thing they learned after going into business, this is something super interesting that they said:
If people can get behind WHY you’re doing something, more than WHAT you’re selling, they will support you.
What is your inspirational message and how do you create an excellent product?
I remember in real estate, being told to sell the benefits, what a house has to offer in terms of how it will make you feel and enable you to live your life, as opposed to the facts and features associated with the house you’re selling.
People relate to emotions and how things make them feel, not necessarily the logic behind your offer. And I’m very guilty of this, laying out the positives and negatives of what I offer, not necessarily WHY I’m doing what I’m doing.
Here’s my WHY:
I believe that administration, the day to day running of your business, what happens in the office and in the background, is hugely important, and underrated, in our businesses. Administration is like the bones of a business, they’re directed by the brain, and you certainly can’t see them, but you couldn’t move forward without them. This is my first WHY – to encourage people to prioritize and realize the importance of administration and how it can be a force generator for your business or hold you back if you don’t do it right.
My second WHY is that I believe administrative professionals aren’t valued, encouraged, utilized and promoted the way they deserve to be. Think, for example, about an office manager for a construction company, they come into the office, get up to speed and start running that office efficiently and effectively. They create new procedures to save time and money in the company and continually improve the business by running social media and taking on HR responsibilities. Now, it is possible they move into an HR, marketing or bookkeeping role if the company grows sufficiently. They may further their education to move into such a role, or they may have such a reputation they’re promoted to an unrelated role such as operations manager because they’re so well liked and respected in the company. But this, I think, is unlikely. My worry is that such an awesomely talented person stagnates in their administration role, and thus administrative operations within the business stagnates with them. In contrast, think about a general labourer in a construction company. They take the labour job and do great and move into an apprenticeship. They become a carpenter, then move on to specialize in one skill or another. They start to lead one or two guys, and if they’re good enough maybe they become a foreman, and then maybe they move on to become an operations or project manager. For this role there’s a very clear career progression for someone willing to work for it. I think the way admin is currently conceived and set up there aren’t the same opportunities.
This is a WHY for my business. I think an administration company can provide the administrative services a business needs while offering a professional environment to administrative professionals that would enable them to be promoted. Here’s how I see this working – my company, Black Oak Admin hires and trains new administrative professionals. Their first client, or the first company they work with, is a basic answering emails and making client calls job. They master that and are ready to stagnate or move on. In most situations this ambitious person will leave the company needing to find, hire and train a new person. Working with Black Oak Admin, the business that administrative professional works in won’t have to worry about it, we will have someone trained and ready to move into that position. We’ll understand the business needs and be able to facilitate that move smoothly. And the out-going administrative professional will be placed into another position with another of Black Oak Admin’s clients that is more challenging, with more responsibility.
Administrative professionals, therefore, can have a long and ambitious career with an administrative company such as Black Oak Admin. They can move up through the ranks without losing, in fact gaining, seniority. They can have access to supervisory and managerial responsibilities within the organization they’ve worked their way through.
This is my second WHY, I think this offers more opportunity to administrative professionals while providing important benefits to businesses.
Which leads me to my third and last WHY. I think hiring administrative services could be very effective and cost efficient for businesses. I think out-sourcing administration would alleviate the burden of hiring, reduce training time and improve the training process with supervisory continuity and succession planning. I think an administrative professional working with clients while still maintaining relationships within their own organization would allow a higher quality of work with a larger network that can be relied upon to answer questions, solve problems, provide growth and development opportunities. The Black Oak Admin system also allows professionals to share an assistant before they can pay for someone full time, or buy as many hours as they need. This will give businesses access to higher quality administrative support with less searching and less inconsistency.
Asking this question of my fellow business owner was so illuminating. Hearing her passion, vision and commitment to the reasons WHY she decided to do their business reminded me of my own passion and vision and reason WHY. And I think most importantly she’s right, the ultimate sales pitch is your reason WHY, and if you’re not sharing your passion and vision with your potential clients or customers, how can they believe in you and why would they want to work with you?