Boundaries are a big game changer in business. When you know what you are prepared to do, and importantly what you are not prepared to put up with, you start to feel confident to put those rules and regulations out there for your clients (current and potential) to view and consider. It’s when this starts to occur that you start wearing your “big person pants” in business and you have fully engaged your “inner business guardian”.
The start-up years (generally 3 years but for some it can be 10 and that’s another article for some other time) are tough and usually come with a big focus on driving sales, in whatever form they come.
You feel you have to be everything to everybody.
You feel you have to reply to every message and notification that pings on Facebook or email.
You have bills coming out of your ears and yet you find it difficult to ask for money or to be paid on time.
You wear so many hats in your new business. You are the marketer, the bookkeeper, the chief worrier, the do-er, the maker, the debt collector, and the negotiator… just to name a few!
You realise you need to set some boundaries and expectations to better manage your time and money, but it’s become too difficult to implement and you wish you did it at the start. We’ve all been there!
Start-ups struggle to define boundaries in their business because they have no idea they have an inner guardian. Nor do they know how to engage the voice that reminds them to be clear on their needs and priorities and make decisions that support their purpose and actually work for them.
Make boundaries that actually work for YOU!
As a start, you can find a service for just about everything – there is always someone out there who will be able to create that logo, build that website, run your Facebook ads, manage your SEO, do your bookkeeping – but there is no one out there to advocate or negotiate for you.
The single and arguably the most significant oversight in a start-up’s business development toolkit are self-advocacy skills.
Self-advocacy is the ability to work out what your business needs at a given time and then make smart choices about who you need to work with, and what you need to do to meet those needs.
To successfully set boundaries in start up when you have so many demands on your time, attention and money, it is critical to have an awareness of your inner guardian and to be aware of your ability to self-advocate.
Working with a lawyer to develop your business terms and conditions or client agreements actually shows you where your self-advocacy strengths lie, and where you might need more development or support. It helps you map out what you expect from clients and what they can expect from you. Creating legals for your business is a great tool to have to help you outline your processes, payment expectations, and consequences when the boundaries are exceeded.
Finding it hard to set boundaries as a start-up is not uncommon. Sharpening your self-advocacy skills and engaging your inner business guardian in your daily business interactions is a great way to establish boundaries that work for you and support you in your beautiful business.
For more information about learning self-advocacy skills to negotiate for yourself or your business, contact me here.
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.