All that I am not


This is probably an obvious and maybe overused, word or statement. However, in business I think sometimes people are reluctant to wholly embrace it.

Whilst writing content to form part of our Making Space Work website, I have been clear and honest. I did stop and consider whether that was the best idea when launching a new venture. Surely I should be including only positive statements about what the business will offer, how it can help and what difference it can make? Yes. I have all of those things detailed without doubt. Yet I think it is appropriate to be clear on what I am not and what I am not able to offer.

When I compare this approach to when we first started Spotless Interiors, it is a little different. I think then there was an element of desperation, a desire to say ‘YES, we can do it all, we will provide whatever cleaning/de-cluttering service you require’. Almost a panic as to needing whatever bit of work was on offer, to build the business, increase turnover, get the name out there.

Now, we are a little more honest and selective. There is a more contained radius within which our team work. We do not travel long distances for small jobs. Our commercial cleaning service (Spotless Commercial) does not accommodate large commercial buildings. Instead we focus on those businesses with small to medium sized premises. We have a more flexible approach to commercial cleaning that may suit these smaller businesses. We are comfortable with saying – “We are sorry we cannot provide that for you but let us help you find someone who can”.

Recently I was asked to quote for an established client. They had previously enlisted our de-cluttering service but now needed help with the design, organisation and planning of their new home. They had been impressed my with work and approach previously and so had asked if I could meet with them to discuss this new proposition.

I met with them and we discussed what they were looking for. I knew I could help them to look at the layout of their home and how they might want to decorate it. Yet I wanted to be clear on my own limitations. I found myself first, after listening to them, saying ‘ I need to let you know that I am not a fully qualified Interior Designer and I do not hold myself out to be one’. I then waited for the ‘Oh – okay thanks for coming anyway’. What I got was ‘We don’t want an Interior Designer – we want you’.

It transpires that they had appreciated the practical, honest and real approach I had displayed when I had worked with them before. They felt the ideas and suggestions I had made could realistically be incorporated into a busy family home and they in fact had been. I now had an understanding of their taste and needs. They liked my attitude and wanted me to work with them to bring their home to life. My interest in design, in organising spaces and items and appreciation of colour and homes was all they needed.

We agreed I would work on one room and then if they felt it needed more input from an experienced and qualified Interior Designer, I would put them in touch with them. And that is how we will proceed.

I do not regret being honest. Even if they had thanked me for my time and then decided not to use my services. I will continue to be honest. The reality is that what I offer will be exactly what some people want and need. For some it will not. Whilst I will push myself and seek to learn more and expand the business as time goes on, I will be true to the extent of my knowledge and expertise and let the client decide.

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