How to Set (And Stick To) Your Business Boundaries

By , Text Only Admin

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

TextOnly'Admin - Text Only Admin

It happens to all of us at some point or other … a client will ask us to do something different for them that it outside of our normal business practice.  And, in the interest of keeping our clients happy, we will accommodate.  The thing is, when you do make exceptions for one client, you’re not being fair to all of your other clients. So it’s really important that you have in place clear policies and processes, and that you have effectively communicated those policies to your clients. That way everyone is treated the same, and everyone knows where they stand.

The way this shows up in your business is that it can be anything from asking for a discount on a program, to running a program at a different time of day, to calling you on the weekend … or a dozen different ways that would take too long to mention here.  But you get the idea!

And how you handle these situations makes all the difference in the smooth running of your business.  Pushing of boundaries shows up in one of two areas:

  1. Time
  2. Money

Having come across just about every type of issue over the past 11 years, I have quickly created policies and processes that I adhere to when running my business.  So let me share some of those issues with you, and provide you with a few solutions.

Pushing Time Boundaries: Just recently I was speaking with a client who scheduled our call because she said she had time management issues.  She couldn’t seem to manage her day effectively in order to get things done.  Her work day was very haphazard, projects were slipping through the cracks, and she felt she was working in constant reactive mode.  Sound familiar?

When we dug a little deeper and I asked her specifically what was going on, it turned out she didn’t have time management issues at all; she simply didn’t have any clear policies/guidelines in place for communicating with clients and getting projects completed. She had a time boundaries issue.

So, what was happening was that clients were calling and/or emailing her at all times of the day (including evenings), which meant she kept getting constant interruptions in her work flow.  She, in turn, responded instantly to the client, so the expectation from the client was that she was available whenever they needed her.  Just a few simple changes to setting boundaries around her business day made all the difference.

i.  Provide clear guidelines to your clients on how you want to schedule and handle client calls.   What’s your procedure for scheduling calls? How much notice do you require? How often can clients schedule calls?

ii. Specify exactly how project requests are to be made to you, and anticipated turnaround time.

Pushing Money Boundaries: This presents itself in all kinds of way, from potential clients trying to get a discount on your fees, to asking for an extension to a special pricing plan you have in place, to having a credit card payment declined … and anything in-between.  Again, you need to be really clear on what your policies are, and stick to them.

i. Create a Sales Policy page that you put up on your website.  And for every product/program you sell via your website, add a link to your Sales Page Policy.  Your Sales Policy is simply a statement which lets your clients and customers know what they can expect from you and how you handle your sales processes.  How your sales policy is structured is entirely up to you; it’s your business and you’re the business owner, but once you’ve decided what those policies are you need to be strong in your implementation.  Having a central page that clearly lays out your sales policies will make the implementation of them far easier (for you) and smoother, and will ensure that you’re being fair to ALL of your clients.

ii. A very graceful and professional way of handling requests for discounted fees, is to have a lower-priced service/package that you can offer instead.  Or, another option is take away a component of the package so that it better fits your client’s budget.

Deciding in advance what your specific boundaries are, and having clear guidelines and processes for handling requests will make your business run much more smoothly.  And clients LOVE boundaries too!

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