THE BLOG
10/31/2016 01:09 pm ET Updated Nov 01, 2017

Spooky Tales from A Small Business Owner!

Fall in Chicago means shorter, colder and more festive days. As a business owner we feel the buzz of holidays around the corner and planning stresses for the next calendar year. Halloween for me marks the official launch of the holiday season and we love it at our company. So, to pay homage to the great holiday of Halloween, here are a list of some spooky tales which hopefully by reading, you can avoid the same fright we did!

Things Got Spooky When...

Technology became the hot thing. In our industry, language services, remote video and machine translation became a big deal in the last few years. We discussed it amongst our team, and while it is important to remain relevant, we felt it best to stick to our core and do what we do best. Our differentiator is in our interpreter staff, our quality of work and customer service. We knew that would speak for itself. That decision has paid off with clients coming back to us time and again. I encourage everyone to not get swept up in trends, but take a thoughtful approach and don't be afraid to stick to what makes you great.

Bottom line rather than true partnerships became the norm. We work with many healthcare systems and other industries and companies who have budget constraints. A shift in our industry began in that cost became a deciding factor in choosing vendors, rather than partnership values. It is an ongoing battle we fight, but once again, we know at our core, what we do is very special. We have differentiators that ultimately enhance that bottom line. Communicating what makes you different and how that benefits a customer/client relationship goes a long way to overcoming those "cost" conversations. We may not be the cheapest, but we are the best.

We had to tell a client they were wrong. It happens. The customer isn't always right. We were faced with a situation where we knew the client was asking for something that ultimately wouldn't work out well for them. Risking the business on our end, we knew it was in their best interest for us to refuse (with explanation of course). In the end, the honesty was appreciated, the project was recalibrated and everyone was happy. Honesty is the best policy.

I said no for the first time. It sounds simple, but it is in my nature to say yes, to everything. As a business owner with many obligations someone is always asking for something. I had to learn the skill of saying no. It was definitely scary at first, but once I was able to do it, it was empowering! And we, as business owners, aren't obligated to work with everyone. Sit with that for a moment. If there isn't a client fit or they are asking you to lower prices to a point where you are devalued, say no. You'll be glad you did!

This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.