When you are working with clients – do they consider you a business partner? Are you so critical to their success that they would have a difficult time finding an alternative person or solution? If not – you may be a tool. If you are a tool like a screwdriver or hammer – very easy to replace with another one from almost any store. Nothing unique or special – just a generic tool. Let’s discuss how you can self-diagnose.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1)    What is the value that I uniquely bring the relationship – Do you understand your client’s business or challenges– maybe even better than they do? Do you add value for to their top and/or bottom line? Do you have a unique solution or a unique way of solving a problem? If not – you may be a tool!

2)    Does my client feel and see me through the same value lenses – Do you have an accurate self-reflection of your value?  One easy way to tell is if are you among the first people they call when they have a challenge – even if outside the scope of what you normally proved?  If not – you may be a tool!

3)    How can I be replaced – If the answer is very easily – I provided no unique services, advise, or products – than you are a tool!

Think through

Become comfortable asking yourself the three questions above. Be direct and ask your clients what they see as the value you bring to them. Listen and ask for candor. If you are not adding unique value and feel like a business partner or trusted advisor to them – you are in danger of being replaced. Go the extra mile for your customers. Learn about them and help solve their challenges.

Hammers and screwdrivers get rusty. Keep yourself sharp and don’t be a tool! Small Business, Big Lessons™


Small Business

About the Author:

Gregory Woloszczuk is an entrepreneur and experienced tech executive that helps small business owners grow their top and bottom line. Gregory believes in straight talk and helping others see things they need to see but may not want to with a focus on taking responsibly for one’s own business. He and his wife, Maureen, started GMW Carolina in 2006.