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A Client's Perspective

2008 | Sep 3 in Guest Contributor , Leadership

By Gretchen Kehan, Client Experience Manager

Several times a year, we offer public seminars for small business owners ready and willing to work strategically on their business in a supportive environment here in the Sonoma wine country. I have been involved with these events the last few years and am consistently inspired by the entrepreneurs I meet. Their dedication, motivation, and enthusiasm are contagious, and for two days I get to witness the unfolding of their business visions and help create a community of small business support and counsel.

One very bright and talented business owner I met at our last Leadership Intensive Seminar, Kimberly Wilson, offered to share her experience on our blog. I hope you find her story as inspirational as I do.

My E-Myth Journey

by Kimberly Wilson

The E-Myth Revisited has been my small business bible since I was introduced to it during a class at the Women's Business Center in 2000. While creating a yoga studio (now with three locations) from my living room in 1999 to a 4,000 square foot 3-level facility in the heart of DC's artsy Dupont Circle, I used the principles of this book to grow.

The two biggest messages that I've taken away over the years is the importance of creating a consistent experience for your clients and that if you create a business that can't run without you, you don't have a business, you have a job.

Kimberly Wilson

As a fan from afar for many years, I was delighted to find that E-Myth offers 2-day workshops focused on this gem. I've watched the schedule over the past few years and eagerly signed up for July's session many months ago when I found an opening in my schedule. Getting away from my business for a few days is not usually a problem, thank goodness, but I do find myself online and checking in as often as possible. Hopefully that will change as the business continues to mature. Below are some ways in which I hope to deepen the lessons of E-Myth as I continue to grow as a leader of a business that can easily run without me.

"A Ha" Moments

My first "a ha" came when our facilitator introduced the staff from E-Myth Worldwide by the result that they bring to the organization. For example, the graphic designer ensures the website is visually appealing. This helped fuel the next big "a ha" that staff should be shown how their position is supporting the customer experience and fulfilling the show. This ensures they don't feel like a cog in a wheel, but rather an integral piece of the end result. When working with consultants or staff, it is best to focus on clarity of results, not hours.

The facilitator asked us what our business promised. Hmmm, great question. I noted that my studio, Tranquil Space, promised a lifestyle-focused holistic escape from life and tools to bring tranquility into everyday life. We don't sell yoga, we sell an experience. I then was left to define what exceptional customer service looked like in a yoga studio. How can we best deliver in a unique, extraordinary way?

The notion of a brand promise also spoke to me. How do our customers feel about us? How can we ensure that we engage emotionally with our clients? We encourage the setting of an intention at the beginning of class, deliver a consistent yoga experience with hands-on assists, spray lavender-scented aromatherapy during relaxation, and offer tea and cookies after class. Asking staff how we can continue to offer this experience better than anyone else was also a great idea. Since they are the eyes and ears of the day-to-day experience, they always have a lot to share.

My Director of Operations came with me and we struggled with writing the "New Co" Strategic Objective. This is how the business will look when it is complete. We enjoyed the big picture thinking process and are still refining it. Thinking of the studios as well-functioning machines minus the current headaches is a fun, liberating, and scary process.

The pre-Leadership Intensive Seminar packet was a helpful tool to get into the mindset before arriving. I did the homework with another couple who joined us for the workshop and we found the process to be rewarding. I loved addressing what I do and don't want in my life and filling out the Personal Objectives worksheet that focused on 6-month, 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year goals.

Putting it into Practice

Kimberly Wilson

I continue to struggle taking time to work on my business rather than in my business - despite being in business for nine years. I am preparing for a team retreat where I will stress the results of everyone's role and the brand promise that we stand for at Tranquil Space. While writing this wrap-up of my experience at the E-Myth Leadership Intensive, I reviewed my 6-month goals written just a month ago and found that I am moving in the direction of them all and a few are already completed. To put the notion of working on my business into action this week, I plan to peruse my "ideas" folder to lay out some innovative marketing ideas and projects that will help keep Tranquil Space doing what it does best - serving up tranquility to stressed out Washingtonians in an inspirational way!

Kimberly Wilson is a teacher, designer, author, activist, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Tranquil Space Yoga, designs TranquiliT Luxe Lifestyle Wear to offer comfy eco-conscious clothing, and penned Hip Tranquil Chick to share how to lead a mindfully extravagant life. Visit her at kimberlywilson.com.


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