Are You a Proficient Business Owner?

I’m not talking about being masterfully skilled at the thing you are in business to do.

I’m talking about being ALSO masterfully skilled at running a business.

Because you can be as masterfully skilled in administrative support as all get out and still not serve your clients well if you don’t know how to manage and run your business well.

More business, trust and credibility has been lost not because someone couldn’t do the work or didn’t have the skills, but because they failed in other areas of business: customer service, workload management and communication.

Having policies and systems that help you manage and put order to things in your business is smart. Letting clients run your business and dictate certain fundamental management policies is not.

You have to run your business and institute protocols in a way that works for you first so that you can in turn take fabulous care of your clients.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you Danielle! What perfect timing for this confirmation! I’m already having an issue with my first “clients” because they are friends as well as former co-workers from my Executive Assistant role. They are used to both “pulling the friend card” to elicit favors and with seeing me working crazy hours to meet unrealistic demands.

    Even though my business is not officially up and running, a friend who is also starting her own security firm (and wants to be my first retained client), asked if I could do her letterhead and business cards. She expressed desperately needing them for a meeting that would occur in several weeks. The letterhead was previously created and only needed a revision and I was going to brand the design elements I’d already created into the business card. Since the project was not too time intensive, I agreed and asked for the specifics to be sent. The person acting as my client’s executive assistant (another friend) waited until the night before this important meeting CLOSE TO MIDNIGHT to send the required information. She then asked if I could quickly revise the letterhead and forward it to her so that it could be used for the next morning’s meeting! I did not.

    What I did forward was a “thank you” email for receipt of the requested project details along with an attached invoice. The invoice included the services requested, the total cost for design services rendered (I prefer to price according to project type, not by hours). I also provided an estimated time of one week for turnaround before receipt of proofs – far longer than I actual need but I took into consideration that I am working on my own business startup. I also wanted to train my friend to understand that she will not be my only client and that other deadlines will not be dropped to accomodate her needs.

    In the notes section, it detailed my standard payment policy: a) deposit of half payment required before work begins; b) balance due upon approval of proof; c) any request for quicker turnarounds than the estimate provided would incur a 25% rush fee; and d) fees cover design services only – all production expenses (printing, shipping, taxes, etc) are fully incurred by client. I had my mother, a contracting officer, look over the invoice and she stated it was complete and comprehensive.

    I was SO proud of myself! I am usually one to allow others to dictate their needs to me and try to accomodate, even at my own detriment. I also have always offered my services without compensation to support others in their goals. But I knew that as a BUSINESS OWNER I needed to have a different mindset in order to be successful, to enjoy the process, and to provide the highest quality support to my future clientele. I could not fall back into this pattern or I would be no better off than I was as a highly stressed, burned out employee or constantly put upon “friend with a talent”.

    It felt great to set the parameters of what would work best for me and my goals for a change. And I immediately thought, “Wow…Danielle is really rubbing off on me!”

  2. Naomi Taylor says:

    This question is one that all business owners should grasp with great consideration. If one cannot effectively manage her/his own business, then attempting to manage the business affairs of others will certainly prove to be disastrous in the long run.

    “Minding your own business” first will prove to be a successful business practice for all.

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