Picture the daily routine of a professional landscape artist. Each day she drives to the homes of her clients and sets to work, creating the most beautiful gardens. The trees, ponds and rocks are carefully positioned to achieve aesthetic effect. All her training and talent is used to endow client properties with a pleasing atmosphere.

When the day is done, you follow this landscaper home and enter the gate to her own garden. What do you expect to see? Untrimmed hedges, wilted flowers, dead spots in the grass? Chances are, you expect a garden even more immaculate than those of her clients. You expect that talent and training to be hard at work within the landscaper’s own walls.

The same principle holds true when a marketing firm works on its own branding, when an SEO company optimises its own website, or when a recruitment consultancy seeks a new team member. If anything, leveraging expertise is even more important when a company is doing for itself what it does for clients.

There are examples from any industry you care to mention (a dentist with a gleaming smile, an air conditioning manufacturer whose offices are always clean and cool). Beyond sales pitches, press releases and Facebook updates, applying your own expertise to your own business is the most immediate and meaningful advertisement you have.

So what’s the best approach?

Good results don’t come simply because the company in question is expert in their field. They come from stepping back, examining the whole process objectively, and working systematically. In other words, the company must take itself seriously as a client—and it can do this more effectively by keeping a few basic principles in mind.

1. Avoid Being the ‘Cobbler’s Children’

It’s a familiar old story. The cobbler is so busy making shoes for the villagers that his own children remain shoeless.

It’s a simple matter of carving out space and making your own company a priority. There may be a dozen clients with pressing needs, and it’s critical to make sure their “shoes” meet your standards of excellence. But your own shoes cannot be an afterthought, or something to occupy those last ten minutes of the day. If so, they’ll be neither functional nor stylish—and what does that say about your company?

2. Heed Your Own Advice

When performing a professional task for clients is a part of daily life, turning the mirror on one’s self can be tricky. It’s vital to understand not just what you do, but how you do it, and the standards that mirror success. Regardless of industry, be very aware of the need to apply the very same standards you use for delighting your client to delighting yourself.

3. Do Your Own Company’s Due Diligence

Just because you think your company is a leader in the industry, turn the mirror to that as well. Don’t just assume that your phenomenal instincts will simply guide you in the right direction. Don’t even think you don’t have to bother with all the legwork? Ignoring these steps can be the road to disaster!

When clients come to you for professional help of any kind, you apply the sum total of your expertise and experience to get results on their behalf. There’s no good reason to deviate from that approach when tackling your own needs. Taking the pressure off the client means putting it on yourself and doing due diligence in every single case. Cutting corners may look good in the short-term – you’re busy, after all – but eventually that corner-cutting may be visible to you, your employees, others in the industry, potential clients, and … candidates.

4. Make Work Culture a Priority

Business is moving in the direction of flexibility and long-term growth. The definition of what makes a company successful has rapidly expanded to include work culture and professional development for employees.

In the case of a recruitment firm seeking a new member for its own team, they’ll need to understand that CVs and work history aren’t everything. The work culture of a particular company, as well as the work cultures that have shaped various recruits, are critical parts of the equation. Such a firm must seek recruits who understand these principles – or at least show the highest potential for mastering them. If not, how will the new team member be able to navigate recruitment challenges on behalf of the firm’s clients?

Understand your company’s core values and how it differentiates itself from competitors. Make sure your team members understand it too. This will make you a true “walking advertisement” of what you do best.

5. Be Creative

Every industry has its own demands, but companies across all industries share at least one thing in common. They want to be seen as creative, highly professional enterprises that are ready for business in the 21st century.

However your company exemplifies its own expertise, it must be done creatively. This might involve social networking campaigns, unusual networking techniques, or unique appearances at trade shows. It might involve new SEO techniques, free air conditioners for employees, or other measures to engage the company’s expertise internally.

In our case right now, of the not-so theoretical recruitment and HR consulting firm tasked with its own recruiting challenge, it might involve a social recruitment strategy to cast a wider net and attract more talent. Perhaps by creating a blog post around when recruiters recruit for themselves and directing our readers to the actual job posting HERE.

In the case of our mythical landscaper, she might keep that beautiful garden all to herself, and maybe a few close friends. But for most companies, doing for themselves what they do for others is all the more important for being visible and in our case, a vital step in walking our talk.

And speaking of talking, we’d welcome a conversation with you, or anyone you know, who is interested in working with us as we grow and develop our Melbourne team. Again, the details can be found HERE.

What do you find you do well for your clients, but not so well for yourself?

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