Wow, 2021 is at our door! After the shenanigans of 2020, a little bit of planning now will go a long way towards a steadier, productive and profitable 2021.
Many planning checklists will come your way and checklists are great. Except most business planning checklists leave out a KEY requirement for business success and sustainability.
What are you planning? Or what are your goals in 2021 for your business?
- Running a signature online or in-person event, or a series of events?
- Launching new coaching, therapy or consulting service?
- Pivoting into selling via a new online shop?
- Creating an affiliate program?
- Constructing a new website?
- Collaborations with others to grow your business or ease the load on you?
The key to kicking goals is in planning and troubleshooting, so you deal upfront with the opportunities and challenges in business that will inevitably arise #BecauseHuman!
What goes into preparation and troubleshooting, you ask? Here’s business planning checklists you can use!
- People – who are the key people who are going to help you achieve your goals? Solo businesses rely on freelance service providers to get things done. Let’s face it. To get things done and to serve our clients, we need support. Do you have contractor agreements in place with your website designer, branding specialist, social media manager, bookkeeper, online business manager? You only need one well-drafted contract or agreement that can be used across all your contractors. Your contractors may have their own Client Agreements. It always pays to ask your contractor for their Service Agreement or Client Contract. If they don’t have one, then bust yours out. If your contractor has their agreement, don’t be shy about getting it reviewed by a small business lawyer that understands what you do and how you do it so you can negotiate terms that suit you.
- Offerings – are you ready with what you are going to offer in your service (or shop)? A lot more strategy goes into creating offers that sell than you might think. Planning and testing your service for saleability and refining your messaging and niche means that your Service Agreement can be more specific and effective in educating your clients. The outcome is that you make sure you get paid, and your client relationship runs smoothly.
- Profit – believe it not, you need to plan for profit and part of that planning means having clear and customised Service Agreements that protect your profit. This means gaining agreement from your clients and customers on how your sales process is going to roll, how refund requests are managed, a crystal clear understanding of your obligations to consumers and ensuring that clients and customers understand their responsibilities when doing business with you. Your Service Agreements and contracts are the key platforms for negotiating challenges in the client relationship, so your profit is not at risk.
- Performance – are you fulfilling the promises you are making on your sales page? It is this disconnect between your perceived promise, and your delivered value that results in unhappy clients. Your Service Agreement is critical in managing client expectations that may exceed the outcomes you are promising to deliver on your sales page. The Service Agreement is where you specify the services or outcomes you are delivering, how you will deliver those outcomes, what is not included in the expected outcomes and importantly what the client’s responsibilities and obligations are in ensuring that the service can be delivered as promised.
- Process – the key to flying solo in business is to have processes that make your business easy to run. Relationships are not easy at the best of times. Business relationships with clients and customers are even more challenging in the absence of Service Agreements and contracts. You have no fallback or platform for negotiation. You are forced to deal with the issues on the go, with no line in the sand to protect your interests, to prevent compromises that are not necessary, to guard against operating from a position of weakness. A well-drafted Service Agreement or contract saves you time and pain that comes from having to deal with every issue on a personal level rather than referring to an agreed set of written terms. Service agreements empower you and your business.
- Profile – are you holding yourself out to be a go-to person, a market leader, or a leading service provider in your field whether it be in coaching, or consulting or as a therapist. Your contracts are part of your credibility. Having a Service Agreement places you in the professional space – you know what you are doing, you do it well, you consider your clients and your service important enough to have a Service Agreement in place that is transparent, fair and creates and confirms a professional relationship between you and those that you serve.
Add business legals to your business planning checklists for business success in 2021, and you will have covered ALL your bases.
If you’re confused, then check out my free checklists here to get you started.
If you’re still stuck, don’t panic! Just contact me for a free 10 minute chat, and we can figure out what legals you need.
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.