The Orchid Principle
How do we build a business? This is the ultimate question. Our quest to grow our company in our vision is something we all strive for. But how do we do this? How do we market ourselves to create awareness and attract our ideal customers? Some of life’s biggest questions have the simplest answers. I will try to offer my philosophy on one of the most important questions in business.
I have entitled this article: The Orchid Principle. Do you or someone you know love orchids? Orchids need an incredible amount of tender loving care. They need to be fed, watered, and even placed next to a compatible companion orchid in order to thrive and grow. You may ask, is all this worth it? Okay, yes! Orchids, when cared for properly, will bloom continuously for over a year! This is a major reward. You may be wondering, this is interesting, but what does it have to do with building a business?
In my course, The Designer’s Coach, I describe 6 fatal flaws of a design business.
1) No Strategic Vision
2) Non-cooperative teamwork
3) Dangerous Marketing
4) Fan Sale
5) Poor customer compliance
6) Poor Negotiation Skills
Each of these flaws can be overcome by understanding The Orchid Principle. Let’s break down each failure and see if we can relate growing orchids to growing our business.
No Strategic Vision
Does your business operate without a vision of where you want to be in 5 years? Do you function day by day making decisions that do not have a strategic basis? As a leader, you must lead with a plan.
Let’s look at our orchid garden. Your goal in 5 years is to have the most beautiful collection of orchids. You can close your eyes and see the orchids with their fabulous intricate design and intense color. You have hundreds of them. Your greenhouse is a festival of amazing orchids.
Now, close your eyes and imagine your business in 5 years. Is it the orchid garden of your dreams? Can you see your ideal business? Like an orchid, can you see the shape, the textures and the colors? Who is your ideal client? How will you approach and find it?
Whether your company is a one person operation or has dozens of people on the payroll, your business must operate as a team. Does your team understand your strategic vision? Are you struggling to make sure the messages you work so hard to create aren’t undermined by uncooperative employees or contractors? It is a serious problem when your team works in a state of disharmony.
Did you know that orchids do better when they are mixed with compatible species? This is teamwork! It takes a trained grower to know this about orchids. You should also build a team, even if you are the only one in your organization. Team members include not only employees, but also suppliers and vendors.
Many times I have seen advertising throw money as if it magically encouraged dating. This is an ineffective attempt to generate leads through misappropriation of resources. What ends up happening is paying an extraordinary amount for a lead. Also, the most valued type of lead, the referral, is basically ignored or taken for granted.
Many orchid growers look forward to orchid shows. I recently attended one this spring at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This is truly an amazing event. Each orchid vendor puts on fabulous displays, one outdoing the next. If each seller sells the exact same product, orchids, how do they generate awareness? The successful ones do it with great arrangements, deployments and specialization. They know the magic of merchandising, display and finding a niche.
How will you get noticed? What will differentiate you from the competition? What will your niche be? How are you going to create a brand? Simply placing an ad in the local newspaper is throwing your money away. Marketing is a careful process of creating a perception and awareness of who your company is.
I have seen people try to sell without a plan or system. This leaves the designer working in a confused state. Sometimes you may be selling for price and sometimes for value. The design team has not established a position in the mind of the consumer and does not project a clear value message. There is also the problem that the sales team is not properly trained and appears unprofessional.
Orchids need to be nurtured and cared for, just like your customers. Each orchid can give you years of growth. New shoots grow from the old. Your clients you care for will recommend clients like her to you. You build a business with one customer at a time. There is exponential growth by focusing on getting the most out of each client. Get to know all about her and encourage her to give you references.
Poor customer compliance
Once the deposit is received and the order process is underway, the task of delivering on their promises begins. This is the critical area where most companies fail. There is very little room for error in meeting your customers’ expectations. This is because, if the perceived value is not achieved, the customer will consider that their expectations have not been met, and then the consequences could be a dissatisfied customer. To achieve flawless customer compliance, systems must be created and implemented.
Did you know that growing orchids successfully also requires a system? Orchids need adequate light to thrive and they feed first to grow and then feed to bloom. If problems occur, there are special foods to promote growth or resistance. If the orchid grows too large, it must be carefully cut, divided and replanted or the original orchid may die.
Orchid growers know these systems because they have been tried and tested for many years. You must develop your own systems. Some will be unique and some will be time-tested industry standards.
Poor negotiation skills
How do you trade? Do you understand the nuances of the negotiation process? Are you able to correctly analyze who are the decision makers? After establishing your business as values-based, can you receive your just reward? It all comes down to this, the bottom line. The final measure of success will depend on your margins. This is a complex business, and unless you understand that your business must operate on certain margins, you will not be successful. Most companies will price each job based on the urgency of the cash flow statement and do not understand the detrimental effects of a price cut.
How does this relate to orchids? Have you seen the price of orchids lately? Do you think orchids have a higher cost price or what the customer is willing to pay? Orchids arouse emotions, and the orchid seller knows it. How will your business awaken the emotional side of your customers?
Decorating is an emotional decision. Your business offers the best opportunity to sell products at the best price. You decide, do you want to sell daisies or orchids?
For more information, come to my website: www.thedesignerscoach.com