Strong Business Boundaries Are a Necessity, Not an Option

Strong Business Boundaries Are a Necessity, Not an Option

Have you ever had a week where the shit hits the fan? Where nothing in your business is jiving?

Your project deadlines aren’t being met. Most of your potential client conversations were canceled or no-showed.

Your current clients are driving you nuts. Demanding more and more from you.

Some of your clients aren’t paying their bills on time. And others out of fear are trying to wiggle their way out of their agreements.

And, of course, all of a sudden no one is responding to your communication.

I know how you’re feeling. It sucks.

Go on. I’ll give you a minute. Throw yourself a pity party.

Are you done yet?

Because the hard, cold truth is…the only person you have to blame for this is you.

“But? I didn’t cancel those calls. I’m not the one paying late or trying to….”

Maybe not.

But there is a reason this is happening…

You are having boundary issues.

[Tweet “Boundary issues are the #1 reason shit hits the fan in your biz. New post by @kimberlyriggins.”]

Yup. I’m going there.

And I’m talking as much to myself as I am to you.

If shit in your business is feeling meh…then it’s time to evaluate your boundaries and company policies.

Remember, this is your business. You get to set the rules.

You get to teach your people (clients, potential customers) how to treat you.

Let’s dig in and see what is not working.

You are feeling drained because…

 

Your clients are having unreasonable expectations.

They are requiring more time from you than you agreed to, expecting you to do things for them that were not in the scope of your agreement.

Hmmm. Yep. Been here.

I know. You want to help your clients. You want to support them. But you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

And the best place to start is to know what you will and will not accept or tolerate.

Here’s a simple example: If you only offer email support Monday-Friday from 10-4, then you have no business answering their emails or sending them emails over the weekend.

Make sense?

Once you’re clear on your client boundaries, state them in your copy, in your agreements, and during your conversations.

[Tweet “Smart Biz Tip: State your boundaries and policies in your copy, agreements and during conversations.”]

Calls on your calendar are showing up late or not at all.

I can’t tell you how often this used to happen to me. My solution was simple.

For free consults, strategy or discovery sessions: A no show without any explanation does not get a rescheduled session. Period. (Don’t waste your time.)

For late calls: They have a 10-minute window and they receive whatever time is left in their allotted session.

Unpaid invoices or late payments.

There is nothing worse than chasing someone for money.

To alleviate the headache, implement a no service policy, a late fee or have a skipped payment procedure in place.

It could mean your client doesn’t get the goods until payment is rendered, a late fee is assessed after a certain number of days late, or they are taken off your schedule or removed from your program until payments are made.

I know. This may sound harsh, but this is business.

The only exception I will make here is if my clients are communicating with me. If I know why their payments are late, I can work with them by readjusting their payment date or changing their payment plan. I get that cash flow has its ups and downs. I am not immune to it and if I can help, I will.

Obviously proceed at your discretion.

Clients are wanting to drop out of your program or disputing their agreement.

Let’s be honest…do you really want to work with someone who doesn’t want to honor their commitments…not just to you but to themselves?

Assuming you’re tremendous at what you do, these are not your ideal clients.

Move on.

But do yourself a favor and have them follow proper protocol. If your procedures include a cancelation fee, charge one. If there is no refund, be sure to highlight that in your agreement.

At the end of the day, it’s your job to walk your talk. If you create a policy, follow it.

Clients are not responding to your communication.

You can’t control other people’s behavior. You can’t force someone to show up, take action, send a payment or honor their commitments.

Decide how many times you are willing to reach out. And what will happen if you do not hear from them.

[Tweet “New Post: @kimberlyriggins believes the key to a successful business is creating strong boundaries and policies.”]

I get it.

There is nothing sexy about talking about policies and boundaries. It often makes entrepreneurs uncomfortable but at the end of the day this is your business. And you need to start treating it as such.

Not only will you find better clients. You’ll be much happier which will make you a much better coach, designer, insert title here.

And above all else, learn to appreciate those trying moments. They are prime learning opportunities. And reminders that your boundaries, expectations, and policies are not just meant to be set and forgotten but re-evaluated from time to time.

It’s time to talk back. What boundary do you need to set? Let me hear about it in the comments below.

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