In a sense, consistency is the practical result of a commitment to clarity in your business. As you become clear about the complex nature of the services you provide and the market you have targeted, each small component of your business will add to and reflect the overall purpose and function of your business as a whole.
Consistency has something to do with integration. When anyone encounters a small part of your business, they encounter the whole. Each component reflects the larger service vision. Let’s briefly examine some of these elements.
- Language: How you talk about your business needs to be consistent with the overall intention of your work. I once saw a flier advertising a massage chair that was comfortable and easy for the “patient” to use. Since the rest of the text did not lead me to believe the business was targeting their chair exclusively for use with sick people, the choice of that word was clearly inconsistent.
- Marketing tools: Your brochures, business cards, letterhead, advertising, and even phone manner should all present the same image and message about the conviction and intention of your work.
- Professional tools: Do you use the right equipment in the right way for the market and service you have chosen? Do you use paper towels, disposable face cradle covers or linens for you head rest? Each has a place in the appropriate practice.
- Environment: Does the environment you create for your practice support or detract from your service goal? If customers find parking a hassle to find, they may feel the frustration is not worth the effort. Or perhaps they don’t feel safe walking in your neighborhood and it makes them nervous to think about leaving your office. For the internal environment, make certain that the flowers and air are fresh. Walk into your bodywork environment with beginner’s eyes and see what type of impression it makes. What do they see, hear, or smell? Get a massage on your table to see what the client will be looking at and experiencing for the length of the massage.
- Personal style: Some people simply, who function well doing chair massage in the workplace are like fish out of water at a convention center. A New Yorker may have to be toned down his or her personality a bit to be effective in California. What is your personal style? Does it fit well with the overall focus of your business?
According to Thomas Alva Edison, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” That perspiration is what I call persistence and persistence is just another facet of consistency and is an essential element for business success.
Consistency brings an essential level of stability and predictability to your business operations for yourself and your clients. Without consistency clients wouldn’t know when to call for an appointment or how to budget their time and money to make certain your service is a regular part of their lives. They also wouldn’t feel comfortable referring your service to a friend if they thought you were unreliable. Consistency means creating and sticking close to a business plan. How many clients can you expect to have this month? What will your expenses be? What type of referral network do you need to set up?
If you know you need to send out appointment reminders every week or make a presentation to the local nursing group in order to keep clients coming in, then do it. There are no shortcuts to doing what needs to be done. If you pay strict attention to accomplishing the small details of your marketing strategy, you will find yourself worrying less and less about cash-flow crises. If you take care of your bookkeeping every week, you will have little to fear from the IRS or the phone company.
When you operate a business with consistency it is easier to make changes and know whether or not they are effective. If everything is done differently every day, it is impossible to develop true expertise or intuition because you never know which actions cause which results. In a similar sense, consistency puts the qualities of conviction and clarity into a feedback loop. If a particular marketing approach does not seem to be working, perhaps it is because it is inconsistent with your overall vision or is not being communicated clearly to your market. Consistency provides a check and balance system for your business.
A good recourse policy is the best guarantee of consistency. Having a recourse policy, such as a money-back guarantee, says that you believe in the quality of your service and trust that the client will appreciate it. When you trust a client, particularly a new one, it is easier for them to trust you. If you don’t have a recourse policy there is no way for client feedback to alert you to problems with your business.
The impact of consistency on the success of your business is undeniable. Consistency provides the nuts and bolts, day to day operational stability that keeps you going in the direction intended. It is a type of consciousness that brings together the motivation provided by conviction and the communication provided by clarity into an organized plan of action. Without consistency your business is merely a ship without a rudder, tossed about by the waves and going in no particular direction.