Today is simply an honest conversation from business owner to business owner. How we run our businesses, and the processes we create to onboard and off-board our clients is extremely unique to us. But, finding efficiencies and sharing resources has never compromised that right? Today I am going to clue you in on something I relentlessly coach my clients on. Through owning a law firm, and working with clients from the start to finish, I always coach them to utilize the elements within their contracts, to help set clear expectations during each step of the customer lifecycle.
I want to encourage you to use your contracts in your business more than just the last step of the onboarding process, then never reiterated again. You can find additional value on how you can use contracts as an outline for setting clear expectations with your clients.
I have a list of Must-Have Disclaimers in the shop because I believe they can be used everywhere. Disclaimers can be used in your marketing, on-boarding, and throughout your whole business. They don’t always have to feel formal, in fact, they can be woven into the fabric of your interactions. Disclaimers are simply the context, setting expectations and grounding your client to expect where your relationship will go, and where they need to show up.
2. The Materials You Need
If you are a service provider, make sure that you are including in your contract, the materials you need to get started. Put the ownership and responsibility on the client to get those to you in a certain amount of time, and make sure their delay does not become your rush. They need to know that you are going to have a period of time to go through those materials and create the magic that you are responsible for creating. Give yourself clear timelines, and reiterate that through the whole contract process.
3. Important Deadlines
Clarifying important deadlines from the very start is just as important as the materials that you need. Your contract should mirror the way you want to work and the flow of those deadlines, including important milestones. Those should be mentioned, and can also be reiterated throughout the process. Keeping your clients in pace with where the project is heading, so everybody is on the same page.
Setting boundaries through identifying what forms of communication and what your hours are, are really important in the contract. You can pull these out and include them in the verbiage on your website, into conversations leading up to your services, and again in your email. Not everyone will read every point of your contract, and if they do, they may not recall all of the points that are so important, so remind them when it is time.
Sneak Peek…we are going to be recording a whole podcast dedicated to boundaries, stay tuned!
5. How customers can respect your intellectual property limitations
This is a business by business, industry by industry conversation, but know that you just need to remind your clients what the rules are, and how they can use your content that you create for them. When they publish it on Instagram or their website, it will depend on your business and the nature of the services. Making sure your clients know what giving you credit looks like is important. Especially looking at my online course providers, and coaches, you are creating beautiful content for them either online in your course, or in your coaching program. Giving your users the boundaries for how they can use your content. They have a license to use the content within the boundaries that you set, and do not rely on them to read that in your contract and remember it. Finding a casual way to reiterate it throughout the process will be pivotal to setting clear expectations.
I shared a few examples of reminders you can include in your process from the beginning in the episode, simply scroll to the top and listen.
Since we are on the subject of agreements and how they can serve your business, I want to share with you the newest addition to the contract shop, the Independent Contractor Agreement! This agreement advocates for both business owners who are looking to hire an independent contractor, or the independent contractor themselves looking to begin work with clear expectations. You are both entrepreneurs that should advocate for your business, and starting off from a clear place is the best place to start so you can have peace of mind and focus on the task at hand.
If you have any questions on whether this contract template is for you, head over to our private Facebook community!