Is your business a vitamin or a pill? This was one of the most profound questions my business coach ever asked me. Not only was the analogy a creative one, but it helped me focus my marketing strategy and tactics. Once you decide which one your business is, it will help you narrow down your marketing strategy as well.
Well….my law firm is a VITAMIN, meaning that business owners should engage my services on a daily basis to keep them “IN business and OUT of Court. My firm is a vitamin because we offer preventive legal and business services designed to keep our clients operating their business versus being in court (which is a pill!). We do this through educational seminars and meetings, proper documentation and set up, negotiating business deals for our clients and making sure our clients are legally compliant with federal or state agencies. There are many Georgia law firms that practice litigation and I would classify their firms as PILLS, who are there to alleviate the headache of a lawsuit after you’ve gotten sick (or not taken your vitamins). Vitamins (used to prevent ailments) vs. Pills (brought in to alleviate ailments once they start). Get it? Which one are you?
If you are a VITAMIN (business consultant, financial planner, transactional attorney, etc.), then you have some advantages:
- Your clients are usually happier and less stressed. You are not there to solve a stressful problem that needs immediate attention so your clients tend to be happier.
- You can sell yourself as “insurance” in the non-literal sense of the word. Think about it. We purchase insurance “just in case” or to “prevent paying high costs out of pocket”. Well—if you’re a vitamin, that’s you!
- You tend to love your job. Why? Because there is personal and professional satisfaction in knowing that you are preventing a disaster from happening.
If you are a VITAMIN, there are some disadvantages:
- It’s hard to sell. It’s hard to sell the “what if” to business owners, especially if they are cash strapped and in the beginning stages of their business. It takes you a longer time to seal the deal than pills.
- You are less experienced about what to when there is trouble. I have the added advantage fortunately of being a litigator before I started my transactional law firm so I know what it means to be in trouble and what to do. But many vitamin companies have never been on the “other side” and that makes a daunting task when clients do get in trouble.
- It can get boring. There are no deadlines to meet, no fires to put out, no super stressful environments and personalities to encounter so the job can get mundane and boring at times.
If you are a PILL (litigation attorney, debt collector, disaster clean up service, etc.), there are some advantages:
- It’s an easy sell. When people are sick or in trouble, it’s an easy sell to say “You have a problem. I have the solution.” The marketing is easier to convey and easier to convince prospects to say “yes” than if you were a vitamin.
- There is never a dull day. When there is a problem to be solved with a deadline looming, there are many things that could go terribly right or terribly wrong. This makes for an exciting lifestyle.
- Faster payment. When there is something that MUST be handled, the speed at which checks clear is amazing. But that’s because of the urgency that is needed from a pill business.
If you are a PILL, obviously there are some disadvantages:
- High stress. Clients want things done NOW and in a certain way at a certain time on their own terms.
- You’re seen as the “necessary evil.” From a general perspective, you are seen as the person or business the client doesn’t pay or deal with but they must because of something they did or didn’t do. The relationship is more volatile than if you were a vitamin business.
- Customer feedback is immediate. This may be an advantage or not. But vitamin businesses sell “what ifs” that are hard to measure at the time of the service. But pill businesses either solve the problem or they don’t so the customer feedback is immediate.
So whether you are deciding what business to start or you are an existing business, embrace the advantages and disadvantages of being a PILL or VITAMIN and use those traits to formulate a SWOT analysis that can target your marketing strategy and tactics to produce clients that produce profit.