Brian chats with Lauren Klafke, a small business owner all about supporting other business owners. Lauren’s firm, Willow Creek Financial Services, provides a space for business owners to ask questions and learn more about their financials.
On the episode, Lauren shares how Instagram Reels helps her build her business and conduct market research. She also opens up about how she implemented boundaries to grow her business on her own terms all while raising a newborn and overseeing a house renovation.
Your mission and your business’s mission don’t have to match.
Lauren defines a mission-driven business as a business that exists for a specific purpose. But the purpose of your business doesn’t have to be the same as your personal reason for running a company.
“What is your mission as the business owner? Is it to retire early? Is it to have more time with your family? Is it to serve everyone? Or is it all three?” Lauren said. “I just think about that.”
That definition is especially true for Lauren, who started her business as a way to spend more time with her husband and son. Before she took the entrepreneurial leap, she worked in the corporate world and realized her career path was incompatible with her ideal lifestyle.
“What powers me to continue to build my business is all the time I am going to have with my family,” Lauren said.
Adjust until your business works for you.
2020 was a rollercoaster year for Lauren. The pandemic kickstarted a year of full-speed business growth — at the same time she had a newborn and a house remodel. Suddenly, Lauren had to find ways to schedule calls around construction and newborn sleep times
“Something was always happening at the same time,” Lauren said. “First world problems, but it was really a struggle.”
In some ways, running a business would have been easier if she hadn’t been building her business from home. So Lauren made an adjustment — hiring a nanny — to give her the time and space to focus on her business. She then set work hours, so that she stops working with clients after the nanny leaves.
“It came to this point where I had to realize you have to set boundaries with your clients,” Lauren said. “You can’t always be available, or you’re gonna drive yourself crazy.”
Customer service is important.
Lauren describes herself as a straightforward, type-A person. But her straight-to-the-point answers don’t always go over smoothly with clients and prospective clients. Over time, she realized she had to work on her customer service skills.
“Customer service is such a huge, huge deal,” she said. “You could have the exact same services as somebody else and customer service would change anybody’s mind.”
Good customer service doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, Lauren said. Instead, it means optimizing how she talks to people on calls and consultations, how she sends emails, and how she engages with clients who text her at inopportune times.
“People want the coddling, and they want the hand holding,” Lauren said. “So I’ve had to develop that in a way that doesn’t seem condescending.”
Resources + Links
- Willow Creek Financial Services: website, LinkedIn
- Lauren’s Social Media: Instagram
- Brian’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast
Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.