Asides writing, I also double as a finger-food chef, so when my friends from Int’l Sahar Clothing Company (an urban and eclectic fashion brand) called me up that fateful weekend to cater for the 500 guests they were expecting at their 6th year anniversary party, I was instantly taken.

Catering for the event was a remarkable success that’ll leave sizzling memories in the minds of many who attended. But it wasn’t without the glitches that usually dot typical big events.

In careful retrospect, I see how my outfits performance could have been a hundred percent lit, if we’d done somethings a little bit differently.

I was reminded of some lessons by stinging experience that weekend. You my friend, DO NOT necessarily have to go through that same caustic route.

I’m therefore sharing the following tips (for expert artisans, especially service providers) to keep in mind, in order to deliver impeccable performances.

1. Own your trade: Of course be a staunch expert at what you do. Do not delegate duties until you actually know the ropes yourself.

2. Know your customer need: What is the single necessary and sufficient condition for a business? No, its not your product, or the technology you use, or your business plan, a vision, or investors, or a strong team or competitive advantage. All those things are important for a company to have, but none of them is the right answer. The single necessary and sufficient condition that’ll keep you in business, is A PAYING CUSTOMER; someone that pays you for your products/service. Identify and pay attention to the needs of your paying customer.

3. Care about your customer: The smart entrepreneur does not merely take money in exchange for the product/service he’s offering, the smart entrepreneur is totally obsessed with the wants and needs of his customer. Look out for your customers prestige. Look out and give professional advice to your customer on his/her best options, and look out for their pockets too!

4. Know your customers customer: Knowing the very heart of your clients business and everything possible about the good, the bad, who benefits from what your customer is getting from you and how your product/service ripples down to them is crucial to delivering a stellar job.

5. Be intimate: By actively participating in your clients business development and growth, you create and maintain a cordial relationship with them, so that regardless of your glitches, you will always be in business and friendship with them for a long time (like my friends at Sahar).

6. Double check logistics: “Our delivery guy is sick”, “my car broke down at Lekki”, “there is traffic at Sabo” etc… Seriously? All these excuses does not make any sense to your client. You must deliver, on time! So have a plan A, B, C, to X, Y, Z.

7. Anticipate worst case scenarios: Even after you have everything on check. Ask yourself, “what could possibly go wrong?”. Its not being negative. Its being responsible. Work out potential issues you might encounter, and come up with solutions. This is important, whether you’re working alone or leading a team.

8. Be polite: It doesn’t matter who your paying customer is, or what they say to you. The fact that he/she complains too much or even insults you, doesn’t give you the audacity to give an equivalent reaction. In fact, too much verbal exchange or trying to explain may be considered argumentative on your part. So shut it. Remember the popular slogan “The customer is always right.”

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate to every artisan that; you will succeed if you know your market and continue honing your own personal skills.

Good luck!

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