Q How do I work with outside consultants for administration, marketing and customer relations without losing my personal style and voice? How can I train them to know my business enough to deal directly with a customer without me having to review everything?
ANNIE BANANNIE; WWW. BALLOONSTORYTELLER.COM
A Having worked on both sides of this situation, I can assure you this is a two-way street. In the oncoming lane, your contractors need to bring sufficient skills to emulate the voice and brand of the business within the confines of the role each plays. In your lane, the focus must be on the work in the business that only you can perform, but that includes providing the tools and training to others you hire to deal with customers.
Completely capturing your "personal style" in administrative and customer service people will be challenging. In your case, having visited your website, you need to bear in mind that few people would expect that the receptionist at your business will be as engaging as your work. The more important message being sent is that demand for your talent and services requires a support staff. While the intimacy you once had in every aspect of a client interaction goes away, that doesn't mean you need to micromanage their tasks. Remember, your talent and expertise still close the deal.
That being said, your marketing people absolutely must be able to capture the essence of your personality and voice, as they are central to your unique selling proposition. Your success here will depend as much on choosing consultants that can prove their ability to capture other complex brand elements and ultimately translate them into compelling marketing materials. Once you choose a marketing resource, immerse them in your world as much as possible to assure they understand both who you are and how your offering resonates with customers.
MICHAEL C. PORTER,
DIRECTOR, MASTER OF
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS