Who’s the Boss? No, I’m not asking for Tony Danza, star of the 1980’s sitcom. When I ask a small business owner “Who’s the boss?”, he or she should always answer, “Me!”
Unfortunately that’s not always what happens…
As a small business owner myself, I understand the importance of having clients and/or customers. These are the people who keep the cash coming in so the bills can continue going out. The income they generate allows us to pay our own contractors and other small business expenses. But who said that gives them 100% stake in our business?
Since when did taking on a new client give them the right to answer affirmatively when the question, “Who’s the boss?” is asked?
I don’t know about you, however I don’t remember turning over that right.
Owning and operating a small business is labor intensive. Depending on how large your team is, the majority of the responsibility falls on your shoulders. Even if your team is a well-oiled machine with awesome operational systems that allow you to sit on the sidelines and watch the money pour in, YOU, as the small business owner, are still the boss.
Not your clients…
Not your customers…
Not the managers who may (or may not) run your business…
So who decides the hours you work? Who decides when you’re available for client or customer phone calls? Who’s declaring your deadlines?
Is it you? Or if not you, do you have input on any of the answers?
Yes, I am writing this article, however some days I look at my inbox and wonder, “How the hell did that happen?” I see appointments scheduled by people who aren’t using my online scheduler and I know don’t have access to my calendar. I see expected completion dates shared with my client’s clients for work I didn’t even know I had coming in (and hadn’t planned for).
Suddenly I’m left feeling like an employee again, and wonder to myself, “Who’s the Boss?” I thought it was me?!?
What do you do when you now longer feel like the boss? Here are a few suggestions for reigning the control back in:
- Control the Calendar: Send a reminder to your clients that YOU ALONE control your calendar. If you have an online scheduler like Appointy or Time Trade, make sure they have the link and let them know that with the exception of expressed verbal consent by you, no appointments should be scheduled unless using that link.
- Eliminate Emergencies: Hey, we all have emergencies. But if you didn’t cause them you shouldn’t be expected to fix them rather than attend your child’s little league soccer game. Unless you have an explicit emergency clause in your contract, let your clients know what your official operating hours are, that you may or may not be available for emergency work for a premium.
- Turn-Around Time: Did you promise to turn around all (assigned) work within 24-hours? I don’t remember promising a 24-hour turn around for Sutton Creative Studios. Let your clients know that project work is to be discussed, not assigned, and in that discussion you will state when you can have the project completed.
We’re not in grade school anymore, folks. Small business owners aren’t children, and shouldn’t be treated like children either. When asked “Who’s the Boss?”, make sure you can answer with confidence – “Me!”
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.