Tailor your unique services to make the client feel as if they are wrapped in a one-of-a-kind creation.
I’ve been visiting the United Kingdom and have noticed that businesses are slinging around the word “bespoke” the way American entrepreneurs have embraced “curated” and “artisanal.” The word originally referred specifically to custom-made clothing, such as suits. Now, all over London are bespoke contractors, bespoke dry cleaners, even bespoke counseling, which seems a bit redundant if you ask me.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about how to create a bespoke consulting or freelance business. Obviously, we have to customize our offerings, but here’s how to tailor your unique services to make the client feel as if they are wrapped in a one-of-a-kind creation.
Size up the client. Schedule an intake meeting and don’t be afraid to be thorough. Assess the client’s needs, as well as company culture. Pin down the tangibles, such as a deadline schedule and budget, and intangibles, like work style and personality. Is your client laissez-faire or a highly structured person who appreciates weekly check-ins? Drive home the point that while you already have systems and basic templates in place, you are are ready and able to address this client’s specific needs and style.
Measure twice, cut once. Armed with this information, design a plan for the client. Put together a schedule, complete with deliverables, deadlines and details from your initial meeting. Include all of the stakeholders and consider adding sections that call attention to your customization. For example, if your client is swamped but has a limited budget, make sure you list out all of the targeted services you are going to deliver within a set number of hours. The more advance intel you acquire, the more likely you’ll develop a strategy that’s on point from the beginning.
Show off their — and your — best assets. Bespoke tailors know how to flatter someone’s unique figure. What tools do you bring to the table that will enhance your client’s business? Make sure your special skills are highlighted, while also noting the things in which your client excels. If she is extremely organized, let her know that she is making your life easier and consequently, you will be able to work more efficiently. If he is extremely communicative and has a great personality, tell him that you are particularly excited to work with him.
Make alterations. Be fluid and course correct throughout the project. Your initial plan may need to be tweaked along the way to accommodate the size and shape of the project, as well as the client’s taste and preferences. If frequent check-ins seem unnecessary as you gain a busy client’s trust, for example, change up the plan and space out your communications. If the project exceeds the original scope, be sure to adjust your budget. Remember that quality customization that fits like a glove is worth every penny.