Have you ever found yourself answering calls or emails from clients on the weekends? Or chasing down overdue invoices that should have been paid weeks ago? Or realising that what started as a small project has turned into a never-ending nightmare of scope creep? If so, you’re not alone. These are common issues that many service-based businesses face. But the good news is that you can take proactive steps to avoid these problems by setting clear boundaries with your clients.
Boundaries in business are essential for maintaining a healthy and productive relationship with your clients. When you set boundaries, you communicate your expectations and establish guidelines for how you want to work together. By doing so, you can avoid common issues that can arise when expectations are unclear.
Boundaries in business was the topic for one of my group coaching program workshops recently. Weekend calls, overdue invoices and creep scope were the biggest culprits. But here’s the thing. We educate those around us how to treat us. And if we don’t proactively tell clients how we work and our expectations, they make their own assumptions and play by their rules. There’s actually 5 areas of boundaries that you need to be aware of – with clients, with family and friends, with yourself, with strategic partnerships and with your team. Today we’re just focusing on clients.
If you’re working with you’re ideal clients, they don’t generally want to break the rules or be seen as taking advantage.
Here are some intentional ways to communicate your boundaries in an assertive yet friendly manner:
- Welcome Video: When onboarding new clients, consider sending a welcome video that explains how you work and what clients can expect from you. This is an opportunity to set the tone for your relationship and ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start.
- Welcome Pack: Consider creating a welcome pack or handbook in Canva that outlines your business policies, procedures, and expectations. This can be a helpful resource for clients to refer to throughout your work together.
- Simple Welcome Email: Sometimes, a simple email is all it takes to communicate your boundaries. Consider sending a friendly message that explains how you work and what clients can expect from you. This can be a great way to establish expectations without coming across as too formal or rigid.
Eradicate payment issues with the following ideas:
- Talk About a Plan: When you first start working with a client, be upfront about your payment terms and talk about a plan that will work for both of you. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start and that there are no surprises down the road.
- Be Clear on Payment Terms: Don’t be afraid to be clear about your payment terms. Whether it’s payment upon completion of a project or payment in installments, make sure your clients know when and how they are expected to pay.
- Follow Up on Bounced Subscriptions: If a client’s payment bounces, follow up with them promptly. Don’t let overdue invoices pile up – address payment issues as soon as they arise.
- Take a Deposit or Payment Upfront: Consider taking a deposit or payment upfront to ensure that you are compensated for your work. This can also help weed out clients who may not be serious about working with you.
Don’t let creep scope become an issue with these ideas:
- Clearly State the Agreed Scope: When you first start working with a client, clearly state in writing what the agreed scope of the project is. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings down the road.
- Include a Discovery and Troubleshooting Phase: If there are unknowns that are hard to put a time to, include a discovery and troubleshooting phase of the project. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that unexpected issues are addressed.
- Have One Point of Contact: Make sure that you have one point of contact for each project so that you don’t have different people asking you to do different things. This can help avoid confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Plan Regular Check-In Periods: Plan regular check-in
Boundaries in business is just one of the many areas covered in my group program – Beyond the Hourly Rate®️. This program is designed to help small service businesses and solopreneurs turn their knowledge and skills into a profitable business with minimal overwhelm. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established business with gaps in your foundations, this program can help you take your business to the next level.
Setting boundaries with clients is essential for any small business owner. By proactively communicating your expectations, you can avoid being overwhelmed and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Use the tips and strategies outlined in this blog to establish clear boundaries with your clients and take your business to the next level. Remember, you have the power to educate those around you on how to treat you.
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