Developing Boundaries with Clients
Boundaries are essential to a healthy relationship with any client. Sometimes business owners allow problematic client behaviors to continue for fear of upsetting, or even losing, the client. This sets a precedent that can lead to bigger problems down the road.
As the business owner, it is up to you to decide which boundaries are important to you. Identify comfortable physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limits before starting out with clients. Remember that you must put the boundaries in place and maintain them in order for your clients to follow suit.
And for when you do start, here are 6 ways to set and preserve your boundaries.
#1 Respect your own time.
In all aspects of life, if you don’t respect your own time it will be challenging to get someone else to respect your time. Working long hours or late hours can be options in your business for extreme situations but it should not be the norm. Clients should not be able to take advantage of you to suit their schedules. Establish early on what your work times are and stick to them all the time even if it’s hard for you to do.
#2 Communicate effectively.
Communication is the cornerstone of all relationships. Without good communication, it will be hard to be an effective business owner. However, as the business owner, you need to know how to communicate using several styles. Some clients will have similar communication styles to yours, and some will not. Learning the difference and setting the appropriate expectations early on is important. That might mean texting a little more with someone who is not an emailing type of client. Of course, you must dictate the boundary so if this doesn’t work for you then you should consider not working with the client because your communication style might not match.
#3 Stay in control.
If you are losing control of the relationship with your client, be assertive. Even when clients are unaware that they are stepping over set boundaries, they need a firm reminder. We suggest having a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for your business and using that to communicate with your clients when they start working with you. This allows you to refer to the SOPs you shared with them at the onset.
#4 Say no and mean it.
This can be a troublesome expertise to exercise and conquer, however, it is basic when training a client, and throughout everyday life. Disapprove of exercises that occupy a lot of time or vitality. Disapprove of discussions that are improperly close to home.
#5 Set client expectations early and consistently.
In your email, for example, make a signature or footer that identifies working times and how soon clients might expect a response from you. Keep the client informed and hold your ground. You can also build this into your discovery/initial call with clients stating specifically how you communicate such as “My business communication is primarily via email, it’s the most efficient way for me to communicate and if I’m not available my team can also respond to emails.” This sets the tone that you operate on emails for multiple reasons so should that not be comfortable to a potential client they can choose not to work with you which is good when you struggle with creating boundaries.
#6 Be done with guilt.
Never feel guilty about the boundaries you set or the decisions you make. A client who doesn’t like your boundaries may use manipulation or guilt to change them, and those clients may be better served by a different business.
Defining limits with your clients should never be viewed as a terrible thing in any relationship. Your demonstrable skill sets you up as a pioneer, and a relationship dependent on shared regard breeds trust and sets your client up for a more noteworthy experience working with you.
The most effective method to Set Boundaries with Clients - is an amazing piece of our Personal Groundwork when you work with us.
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