I have vivid memories ingrained in my mind from grade school of my favorite teachers AND my not-so-favorite teachers. My favorite teachers were kind, patient, funny, and organized. My not-so-favorite teachers were less patient and played favorites.
My favorite teachers understood that some rules were dumb and made to be broken. My not-so-favorite teachers were more strict and enforced every rule as if each of us were equals. I’m guessing you had a similar situation – there were some kids who goofed off and some who didn’t. There are some who needed more structure, and some who thrived with far less.
In my eyes, as long as we were all learning, and not burning down the girl’s bathroom (Kevin) what the hell did it matter if I wore my shoes or not? Or if I took the bathroom pass or not? Or if I quietly got up in the middle of a lesson to get a drink of water. I sat in the back of the room. I wasn’t disturbing anyone… but I digress.
Making people feel comfortable is a big part of a teacher’s job, a part that often gets overlooked. It’s not easy making each individual feel like they have potential, that they CAN do whatever the task is that they are being asked to do.
Think like a teacher
Kind of like a small business owner looking to pick up more customers. It’s your job to communicate with prospective customers in a way that motivates them; a way that inspires them to be the best version of themselves.
Can you stop eating a bag of chips each night before bed? Of course! It won’t be easy, but we’ll work on it together.
Can you fit into that dress? Sure! it might take a little work, but you totally got this!
Can you run that marathon? Can you banish the negative thoughts holding you back? Can you show up each day and make a tiny change toward becoming the person you want to be?
Reframe your message
As a small business owner, you have a message to share with the world. Sometimes that message might seem like it is as simple as, “buy my stuff!” But how often does that really work?
With every spoken word, written sentence, or image on a website, you are communicating something about your business and about your customers. You are communicating your business beliefs, culture, tone, formality, and so much more. Sounds like branding doesn’t it?
That’s because it is! Marketing and branding are simply, teaching others about your business in a way that makes them pay attention.
- You teach your customers about your classes, your services, and your products.
- You teach your customers how to react to your store, your studio, or your office.
- You make them feel comfortable and welcome.
- You make them feel motivated to change, improve, be better… or not.
Sometimes you use a certain style of music or art to set the environment. Perhaps you wear different clothing or a uniform when you work. Occasionally you’ll find incense or essential oils. But every choice you make teaches your prospective and current customers how to react to you and your business.
Take a nod from your favorite grade school teachers – make your ideal customers feel welcome and comfortable in your space. Remember that some people learn by seeing, others by hearing, and far more by doing.
And remember that when people feel comfortable when they feel empowered to be better – when they know, like and trust you – they come back again and again and again.