My business requires touching…before you get the wrong idea I mean it can’t exist only online. I have to have face to face contact with products, suppliers and, most importantly, clients both for my health but also for the health of my business. I think this is true for many businesses, but like many I’m guilty of often get bogged down online. I don’t forget that websites and social media are tools to make real world connections, but sometime I spend an unproductive amount of time obsessing over them. The 30 day challenge is my way of forcing action rather than obsessing.
Choosing products is a prime example of something that I can’t do online. It requires touching. There is no way of deciding online if I love a product. Does the cover feel right to the touch? What is the standard of the finish? What kind of paper captures the feel of the session? Do I feel happy asking my clients to pay the price for the product? I had a great day yesterday having a look (and feel) of some new ideas from Kaleidoscope-Framing, my favourite being the signature option, which takes photography back to works of art. I also loved the quality of finish on the Jorgensen Albums from SWPM. They are going to be great additions to my existing products from Loxley Colour.
Suppliers are another area where real people make all the difference. Don’t get me wrong online printing is great for convenience and I love Moo for both ease and quality, but for bigger investments and for branding I want to talk to a real person, which sometimes slows me down but in the end I’m always happier with the outcome. Personal touches are always very welcome. Glasgow Print are a prime example of a beautiful product. However, what really impressed me was the hand written note in the sample pack they sent through. The more I interact with businesses like these the more I know what kind of business I want to be and what type of client experience I want to build.
Clients and connections also get touched…usually shaking hands, but for professional profile pictures it’s usually a bit more…what can I say I hate rucked fabric. I try and meet all prospective clients for a coffee or a chat before I take on their project. This is because it’s not just about the price being right, expectations have to be set managed. All of my most successful projects have been part of a team effort. In my experience most people communicate their ideas, so much better in person than over email, phone etc. Though some claim the opposite I find it rarely to be true, if you know how to ask the right questions communication is always better face to face. The same is true for business connections. How can you recommend someone you have never met of worked with? You’re basically handing over your credibility to someone you’ve never met, so while LinkedIn is great to keep in touch and make connections it’s never going to supersede coffee for me.
In conclusion, being online is a great tool but for me it’s never going to replace human contact because in the end people by from people.