NxLevel: week 3

if you've ever visited blue13creative.com, or seen some of the messages on our soon-to-be released quantum t-shirts, you'd know that i'm into eastern philosophy. a rittle perspective does a body good. :)

a few enlightened jewels that i hold dear (i.e. compassion, moderation and humility) are pillars of taoist philosophy and my personal ideology. and as much as i dislike using such intangible principles with regards to industry, there are some tangible associations between a refined mindset and a successful creative enterprise.

this week at NxLevel, we explored the concept of a customer-driven philosophy and the importance of a positive customer experience. one infallible method for ensuring that customers have a pleasant experience is for business owners and leaders to create a sense of loyalty between company and client. like confucius say, "the scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith."

true, the theoretical scholar may be less motivated to make money than the proverbial starving artist turned entrepreneur, but the relation between the two is legitimate. we've seen what can happen when enterprise abandons a sense of customer appreciation (we're collectively looking at you, wall street). so one could argue that if a business, particularly one in the creative sector (assuming we're the ones accustomed to living without the precious gold and jade) were to make bottom lines less critical and focus more on creating loyal relationships, then increased sales and profits and happy times would manifest more readily.

in class we touched on the 80/20 rule: that which says 80 percent of your business will generate from 20 percent of your clients. the concept originates from an italian economist named vilfredo pareto who observed in 1906 that 80 percent of the land in italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. (he developed the idea after realizing that 20 percent of the pea pods in his garden yielded 80 percent of the peas, just in case you're in need of a trivia question.) modern theorists have expanded pareto's theory to more broadly represent that 80 percent of an event's effects come from 20 percent of its causes.

so the conclusion should be obvious: blue13 is destined for greatness because i'm so enlightened. no?
of course not. but what CAN be taken from this lesson is that sometimes spinning your wheels (and exhausting your resources) trying to accumulate more business for the sake of having more customers may actually be counter-productive. instead, concentrate your creative (and compassionate) efforts on being more meaningful and loyal to the customers you already have and let those alliances lead you to abundant business relationships that could prove more fruitful.

this week, we also had the pleasure of listening to cindy allen, a NxLevel alum and success story now running her own business called z's cleaning crew. not long ago, allen admittedly was facing divorce, unemployment and homelessness when she stumbled across the NxLevel course and her desire to rebuild a productive life.

when the real estate bubble popped, allen found herself dealing with foreclosure in affluent-neighborhood, CO and started handing out fliers reading, "help me save my home by having me clean yours," she said. the brutal honesty struck a chord with her once-neighbors turned potential clients and slowly she began to assemble a professional cleaning service specializing in readying homes for the market. allen says many of her clients are disabled and cannot perform the duties that she does for themselves. fully aware of the intrusive nature of an outside agent cleaning the inside of one's personal space, she individualizes her services for each client by cleaning on their terms, not hers.

allen has visions of expanding the business to include her catering pursuits as she's a creative type who also cooks (and writes and teaches art classes). she beams when discussing her work, proud of leaving someone's home in nicer condition than when she arrived. she leaves a bouquet of flowers and pleasant aromas in all of her clients' spaces and now she's leaving behind sample hors d'oeuvres and other edibles from her kitchen to promote the catering.

now that's building loyalty.

my contributions to class this week? clientsfromhell.net -- you can thank me later.



  1. I agree that taking that extra step or giving 110% of yourself is bound to yield success.
    Good luck to you and all the other business creatives in your class.

  2. I really loved session 3 discussion--had an ahhhh haaa moment realizing that my creative strength was not as important as finding, buildingand keeping customers. A good website for visual artists is artbusinessnews.com
    Enjoying the blog thanks mc.
    The Other mc


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