1. Grow and Nurture Your Relationships. Invest in your network. Your professional network will serve you in many ways. It will provide referrals to your business, it will support you after a hard birth and together you will effect your community. Take intentional steps to grow your network by setting goals to meet new people each month, to attend community events or get involved in your local professional groups. Remember, your network can be vast so try to include people that don't just work with expecting families but may have expertise in an area that will help you grow your business.
2. Be a Professional That People Can Count On. Do what you say you will do with your clients and around colleagues. As a professional you need to have arrangements in place for backup, childcare and transportation. It is also up to you to keep your website or other marketing materials up to date and appropriate. Do not make claims that are not true and be honest in your transactions and communication.
3. Keep It Positive. You don't need to comment on other professionals in a negative way. Do not offer comments about other doulas in your area and focus on what you do, not what they may or may not do. You do you! It is also good to keep your conversations with clients upbeat. Do not share stories about previous births or stories about a fight with your spouse. Focus on the clients and how you can help them.
4. Be the BEST You Can Be. This one is easy. Provide amazing service! Not just when attending births but in all aspects of your business. Return messages in a timely manner. Arrive at appoints on time. Send clients messages about things that might matter to them. Keep your clients information to yourself and respect their privacy. Everything you do and say reflects your brand so be intentional about what you put out there. When clients and other professionals are delighted about their experience with you - they will tell others. So aim to delight.
5. Say Thank You! Thank you can never be said enough. Thank the nurses and other care providers you work with, the people in your network and anyone else that helps you out along the way. When your clients pay, let them know you received the money. You may find that a well timed "Thank You" will often get your further than spending money on marketing.
Want to learn more ways to establish solid business practices? Attend a BEST Doula training!