Tarah Keech, the founder of Tarah Keech Consulting, built a business and reputation on solid relationship development, client and team engagement and motivation over 15 years. With a background in communication theory and psychology training, she knows exactly how to help teams and contributors build strategic relationships.
In this interview, Tara shares how her entrepreneurial journey began and how her background in care-giving and psychology helped her deal with clients achieve winning results.
Learn more from Tara's insights on how to maintain excellent relationships with your customers/clients below. After you have absorbed her 'secret sauce' as a business owner, be sure to give her a shoutout on Twitter!
What ignited the spark in you to start a business? Where did the idea for Entrepreneurial Consulting come from?
A long, fun journey and a lightning bolt moment brought me to where I am now: teaching our Tarah Keech Consulting clients the methods and tools that deliver increased new client sales, deeper revenue streams, referral growth, retention strategy, attrition and crisis mitigation and optimized team engagement, motivation and productivity.
The long story...
A passion to serve Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers compelled me to study clinical psychology. I wanted to help them understand, cope and connect with each other even in the midst of their suffering, heartache and exhaustion. That led to working as a research project manager with inspiring, brilliant people in the hospice and palliative care field.
Then, in my late 20’s, tens of thousands of dollars in debt – it occurred to me that life is too short to be broke. So, in 2012 I leveraged my natural inclinations and past experiences as a project leader into a corporate career as a freelance consultant with several Fortune 50 clients. This first entrepreneurial experience, learning everything it takes to manage a book of business and an LLC and really doing it well helped me see – it’s totally doable.
I began to recognize others in my life, friends and family members with vision, drive and amazing talent get paralyzed with the fear of the unknown and overwhelm. I became an entrepreneurial evangelist, sharing everything I knew, encouraging and motivating them to get out there in small and big ways.
Momentum is contagious! The more I was able to share and coach them, the more their efforts snowballed and they were able to achieve their visions and in turn, inspire others.
For the past two years, I've been taking classes, researching, trial & error'ing this venture exploring opportunities to teach project management to entrepreneurs but it never felt like it was the fullness of my calling.
Then, I had a lightning bolt, ah-ha moment. I realized that everything I've ever loved about any of the work I've ever done (from caregiver research to coaching to Fortune 50 consulting) has been the psychology and communication relationship strategy: motivating, engaging and connecting with people and helping them do the same - thereby helping them live their lives with more joy, and with less stress, heartache and worry.
Now, my clients seek me out when they want a more productive and cohesive team, when they want to deepen their existing client relationships (and revenue streams), for easy-to-implement client and employee retention strategies, and for attrition mitigation.
As an entrepreneur, you are the leader of your businesses, of your clients, your communities and your family.
You achieving excellence in leadership and in business – thriving, joyful, abundant business – is the result of your communication and relationship management. That’s what I do – through workshops and seminars, strategic account consulting, and 1:1 executive coaching, I give my clients the skills, tools and answers they need to be master communicators, and masters of their business.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom. Time freedom, creative freedom, energetic freedom. Freedom to pursue my vision, my passion and my purpose.
Freedom to share my skills, experiences and gifts to make the lives of my clients easier – which in turn, helps my clients have more freedom, more fun, and less stress in their businesses and lives.
How do you generate new ideas for your Entrepreneurial Consulting to keep growing? Is there a secret that you have figured out over the years?
Listen and ask. Continually listen to what your clients and employees say. Both formally through feedback solicitation and more importantly through casual conversations as you develop those relationships.
Once you’re tuned in, the secret is sympathy and compassion. When you’re able to embody your client’s joys and sorrows, pain points and fears, develop your services to deliver the answers they want and need.
In your experience, what is the best way to build a successful customer base? Are there any mistakes that our readers can learn from?
Great communication creates the authentic relationships and referrals which are CRITICAL to a vibrant, thriving, growing client base.
Bad communication is the single biggest cost driver in the US and small businesses are especially vulnerable to this risk.
I've been in rooms where $40M+ deals were lost (where the products were an ideal solution for the client!) because the well-meaning leaders were abysmal communicators.
If you want to build a base of raving fans who are thrilled with the work you do, who are enthusiastic supporters of your work, and cannot wait to work with you more – then you need to create meaningful connections with them.
In order to truly connect with your clients, to create sales growth and retention stability, and to deliver the fullest, best impact of your product and services, you need a client communication and relationship strategy that gives you, your leaders and teams the answers and tools to build authentic, not-salesy, positive and sincere relationships. That’s what Tarah Keech Consulting delivers for our entrepreneur and corporate clients every day.
As a business owner, what is your greatest fear and how do you keep it under control or harness it?
Every ideal client that is lost, is because of a relationship gone bad. And - every relationship gone bad is because of bad communication.
In my business and as part of the client relationship growth strategies I develop for my clients, I create step by step relationship and communication roadmaps to ensure we maintain relevancy within our niches and for our current and target client base.
Because irrelevance is the greatest fear of any business owner, I head that off directly with easy to use, simple and sincere targeted relationship building and maintenance tactics. This allows my clients to keep our pulse (and offerings) on their clients’ real needs, attracting enthusiastic new clients and organically growing through referrals and recurring business.
What has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did it shape Entrepreneurial Consulting?
Feeling compelled to deliver the fullness of my purpose keeps me accountable for consistency. We get this one life. This one, precious opportunity. I want to live mine to the fullest and know that I held nothing back.
Over the past few years, I invested more in my own personal learning and development – business courses and coaching and I’ve seen a dramatic return on those investments.
I recommend when you feel like you may be stuck, plateaued or swirling – seek out support. The best athletes, politicians, leaders and change makers all have coaches. Your vision, your business and your purpose deserve it.
What do you feel is the major difference between you and other entrepreneurs? Is there something that has guided you along the way?
We are far more similar than we are different. Anyone willing to take the steps necessary to make their dream a reality, is a person of faith, passion and purpose. I love entrepreneurs and business leaders.
That’s my “why” – to see entrepreneurs and business leaders fully realizing their vision, working out their dream, and living their purpose. That’s the power of good communication. It’s my joy, my thrill, my honor and my purpose to help entrepreneurs and business leaders do their purpose with more joy, more ease, and less stress through good communication and authentic, compassionate relationships.
Have you faced any failures with consulting? How did you overcome it?
You know when you wonder what it’s all for? Is it impossible? Am I doing the right thing? Is this viable? Who would buy this anyway? What if I have to change everything? What if I do it wrong? ….
Those are powerful thoughts. And they’re the toll entrepreneurs pay in order do their dream.
Thinking those thoughts and weighing the risk of failure, is an indication of maturity and readiness to do your dream.
One of the best business coaches out there, Cyndie Speigel challenges entrepreneurs when we think these thoughts and are afraid to fail - to ask ourselves immediately, “So what?” So you do it and it fails. So what? So you spend all your savings and have to move back in with family? So what? So you have to start over and revise your service delivery model? So what? So you survive.
The single greatest failure in all of our lives is not trying.
My failures include not trying to freelance sooner. Not applying to speak sooner. Not writing my book sooner (coming out in January!).
The conventional failures I’ve racked up are far and wide but I failed because I tried – and the trying, is what I celebrate.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever gotten from another business owner? The worst?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to nail down my “why.” Especially when you’re just starting out.
When you have your “why” every single other decision – the how, the when, the what – become infinitely easier.
I recommend digging into Simon Sinek’s work, book and other resources on “Starting with Why.” Brace yourself. This is soul-charging, life changing work. If you haven’t already – do it. Now.
The worst advice is “Why don’t you wait and see…” Don’t wait. Research and take measured risks but do it. Start. Refine. Continue. Keep doing.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in Alabama who have a business idea but don’t know where to get started?
Start now. TODAY. Small steps are ok. Small steps are worthy.
Take out a piece of paper and list where you want to be. Describe it. For each item, list what that will take. For each of those items, list what they will take. You want the layers of what it will take. Get it down to discreet, actionable items. And then do one. And do another one. And keep going.
And if you’re ready to grow your business you can reach me at email@example.com. I will help you connect with your existing and ideal/target clients, motivate your teams, engage your stakeholders, retain your existing clients, or turn challenging political environments and bad attitudes into fruit-bearing relationships.
It will be my honor and joy to support you in living more of your dream, with more new sales, more recurring revenue, more retention and happier, more productive teams.