It's an exciting journey when you're a business owner. Yet, with great power comes great responsibility, and one of your most powerful tools for success is setting boundaries and implementing sound business policies.
In service-based businesses, boundaries and policies aren't just arbitrary rules; they're your guiding stars. They empower you to run your business efficiently, protect your well-being, and cultivate a thriving client base.
And often, we let things slide because we love our work so much. But this then leads to more stress due to extra tasks, tighter deadlines and sometimes not getting paid on time.
This blog discusses why setting boundaries for your business is essential for your business to succeed.
Honour your Payment Policies
Getting paid on time is a cornerstone of any successful business. Setting clear payment policies ensures you receive timely compensation for your valuable services.
But what happens when payments are overdue?
Then, it's time to embrace a policy we use: "Work Held for Outstanding Payments."
This is when you inform your clients that your services will be suspended until payments are settled.
To communicate this policy clearly, make sure to: -
Include it on invoices as a footnote.
Have it on your website on your terms and conditions, policy and or conditions of service page.
Make sure this is discussed before starting any work, and if you have a contract that outlines your duties, remuneration and payment frequency, make sure to add this policy here, too, for both parties to sign.
If you find the time comes when dealing with overdue payments, approach the conversation professionally and empathetically, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect in your business relationship. This policy ensures you're paid on time and encourages clients to honour their commitments promptly.
The Art of Saying No
Clients may request additional tasks outside your agreed-upon duties or job title. We see it all the time.
You get hired to be a Web Designer - but also end up doing their email marketing, creating their logo, and writing all the copy.
You get hired to do Administration - but manage their social media.
While your eagerness to please is admirable, it's important to maintain focus and uphold the boundaries you've set. Saying no can be liberating and empowering.
If you find yourself in this situation, politely but firmly explain that these tasks are beyond the scope of your current agreement. Redirect your clients to the original contract or terms of service to reinforce your boundaries.
If you can do the extra tasks they are asking for - let them know you're available to discuss their needs and mention the cost for these additional services.
By doing so, you'll be able to focus on your core services, ensuring that your expertise shines through in every project.
Guard Your Well-Being and Preventing Burnout
Your dedication to your business is commendable but remember the importance of work-life balance.
Burnout is a genuine concern and can jeopardize your business and health.
Stick to your work hours and boundaries with unwavering determination.
Create a daily routine for personal time, self-care, and leisure.
Communicate your work hours clearly to your clients and respect them yourself.
Let your clients know when you'll be out of the office for extended periods - and make sure to turn on your email 'Out of Office' reply.
Check or respond to your emails only during working hours.
There may be times when you work longer hours. For example, you know you will be away for a week or 2, so do some extra hours to ensure your work is organized and complete for your clients.
If you do so, let clients know why you are working some longer hours temporarily and what this means. For example, you might do some administration work outside your usual hours or respond to emails - but you're not available to take calls or attend meetings. The work outside of your regular hours is purely task related.
When you maintain this discipline, you'll find renewed energy and enthusiasm in your work, ultimately boosting productivity and creativity.
Walking Away with Confidence
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, certain clients continuously ignore your boundaries and policies.
Don't pay invoices on time.
When you try to implement your policies and boundaries, put the blame back on you.
Constantly call, text and email you outside of your business hours, expecting a response.
Always ask you to do tasks beyond your agreed duties and functions.
This can be detrimental not only to your business but also to your mental well-being. In such cases, it's time to summon your inner strength and walk away. Politely terminate contracts with those who persistently disregard your boundaries.
Remember that you deserve clients who respect your professionalism and policies. The courage to let go of such clients will free you to work with those who appreciate and value your services, creating a more positive and productive work environment.
Setting boundaries and implementing business policies is essential in a successful service-based business. These practices protect your business's financial health and focus, nurture your well-being, and cultivate a respectful client base.
Having confidence in enforcing these boundaries will elevate your business to new heights, allowing you to enjoy your work and continue making a meaningful impact.
If you're finding it difficult to implement your business policies and boundaries, feel free to book a consultation with me for support.