Have you just recently started a small business? Have you been in business for quite some time and still do not have your business boundaries in place? Business boundaries will allow you to communicate your expectations with your clients upfront. Setting boundaries for your business is essential, and those boundaries need to be established in the beginning stages of starting your business.
Even Steve Jobs agrees:
“People think focus means saying ‘yes’ to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Are you guilty of answering emails and checking messages outside of your established business hours? Or, do you pop in on your social media business platforms to check messages? I see those hands (mine included). It took me time to realize that it is essential to have those business days and hours set and stick to them religiously as a flying-solo business owner.
As female entrepreneurs, it is our instinct to want to do all the things. Guilt sets in when we do not answer that email or message promptly, regardless if it’s out of your business hours. Remember why you started your business in the first place. Reflect on those reasons and understand them. You left the hustle and bustle of a forty-hour workweek to cut down on stress and anxiety. Don’t let guilt take over. Set your business working hours and what days you will work each week and stick to them. It is crucial for your well-being that your time be respected.
Establish clear objectives and what the client can expect from you. Outline the expectations and communicate them openly to the client. For example, maybe you only answer emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon, allowing you to work on meaningful projects and client orders during the day. Make this clear in the beginning. It is also essential to establish the scope of work with your client. Do not complete additional favors outside of that established scope of work.
Do you say “no” to opportunities that do not fit your business objectives? Or, are you a person who says “yes” because it’s easier to complete the request than it is to say no to the client? If you have a problem saying no, it could be time to sit back and evaluate your business priorities. As a professional, your time is precious. You have to set boundaries and be realistic with your time. And realize that it is okay to say no if you do not have time. Or if the job is not something that your business offers.
Setting these boundaries from day one will create a smooth workflow for you as well as your client. Do not feel you have to accept every opportunity placed before you just because you are a new business owner. Clearly communicate office hours, turnaround times, and the full scope of work. And realize, it’s okay to say no if time does not permit or it is out of the scope of work that your business performs. Remember, as a business owner, your time is valuable.
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