Essential Business?

essential businessMay 13, 2020

Are you an essential business?

No, I don’t mean the pandemic definition of “essential,” like a grocery store or hospital.

In this case, services providers, what I mean by “essential” is whether you are so integral to your client’s business that they intuitively rely on you.

The word “essential” is a root word of “essence.” If you check your dictionary, “essence” is derived from the Latin word “essentia.” “Esse” in Latin is “be.” Just like the English “to be,” it is the very existence of a being or thing. In philosophy, the “essence” of something is “a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.”

Think about your clients and ask yourself, do you represent something so essential to their business that they wouldn’t exist? Big statement there, right? At some level, all of us are replaceable. More realistically, but just as bracing, would it make a big difference to your clients if you suddenly disappeared? Would they be what they are without you? Would their very essence change?

Typically, when I ask services providers this question, they immediately go to that “thing,” whether it’s tax advice or legal services or marketing services, that they provide.

Yes, that service itself is important. We all know that filing accurate tax returns on time is important. That’s a given. Beyond that, thought, do your clients rely on you as a reliable problem solver, advisor, connector, and resource for their businesses?

I recently had a client ask me about his sales and marketing functions and some general questions about compensation in that area. This is NOT my specific area of expertise and not what this client has hired me for.

When we finished the conversation, he said to me, “just needed to get your thoughts on this before I make a final decision.”

No, the question did not go to my subject matter expertise, but this client, thankfully for me, looks to me as a resource for questions like this and more.

Now I know what some of you are excitedly thinking:  “it’s scope creep!” This thought pops in your head because you charge by the clock, and you’re worried about whether you should turn on the meter in these cases.

One of your problems is that you’re charging by the hour, and that’s got your thinking clouded, but I’ll leave that one alone at this point.

Beyond the question of how you charge, wouldn’t you rather worry about scope creep than not getting the call at all?

Do your clients make statements like “I sure am glad you’re here” or “thanks for what you do for me?” Are you providing value—value the client recognizes, not what you think—that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of the service you provide?

Are you an essential business?


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.

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