Late last week I attended a presentation put on by a SCORE Mentor from our Dayton Chapter. His name is John Talty and he is a forward thinking individual with a very strong background of marketing with NEC. There were many facets to his presentation but one significant take-away for me as a mentor/counselor is that as we develop a relationship with a new client, we need to ensure that we make sure the client’s front and back office are covered.
All too often we dash past this as we look into our own skill-set and scramble to help the client. I began to realize that front/back offce coverage is crucial. Regardless of a company’s size, it needs to have its front office and back-office covered. We often meet clients with a strong sales and marketing background (front office) who do a lousy job with accounting, manufacturing, vendor development and many other back office functions. We need to help them get both “offices” covered.
We ourselves as mentors and counselors as we look back at our experience, we see that we were best at front office or back office functions. Knowing this, we need to consider adding our opposite or complement to the next meeting so we can help the client develop the skills that s/he needs to build or grow a successful business.
There needs to be a balance, a great carpenter or cabinet maker (back office) who lacks marketing, sales, advertising skills needs either to develop those skills within himself or find someone to help him.
My wife and I run a small home based business (www.amjo.net) and I’m the front office person with limited skills in the back-office and my wife provides the balance as she runs our back-office, processes orders, sends them through to our vendors. I keep hacking away, selling, advertising, working with customers, creating and maintaining websites, search for new vendors etc. I believe we have a good balance between which has helped us be successful over the years.
Many times as we meet a new client, we see a great builder, architect, fabricator, carpenter, cleaner or photographer who simply cannot promote themselves or their business well. I leave it to you to consider the back-office/front-office discussion and perhaps add some comments below to help explore this supposition.