“What??” you say, “How does a contract help me find a great client? Connect the dots, please.”
Certainly we will connect the dots. To get there, let’s start here…
I was chatting with another local entrepreneur last week and the topic of client contracts came up.
He had a potential client pushing him on one of the contract items regarding scope of work and she wanted him to change his policy for her. That sent up some big red flags for him and ultimately made him turn down the client.
This example shows how useful a contract can be for our businesses, ESPECIALLY as small business owners. If we don’t have our policies in place, go through them with our clients and then make them sign, saying that they have read and agree to all our policies, we put ourselves and our businesses at risk, both legally and financially. Probably emotionally too.
The other great thing about having a contract is that it will help you pre-qualify your clients. Let’s say you’ve been working with a potential client and everything is great, but once you get to the contract stage, you may find you have very different understandings about either the client’s expectations or your what you can deliver.
The contract serves as a great opportunity to talk and get clear about what the client wants and what you do.
If you can’t come to an agreement, then you can either choose to change course or you can release that potential client and stay your course.
And, at the end of the contract conversation, you’ll have weeded out the not-so-great clients with the really great clients who love what you do. They’ll respect you more since you’ve set boundaries and shown yourself to be a true professional. Of course there are many, many ways to be sure you’re attracting great clients, but this part of the process is often overlooked.
How many of you have some kind of client agreement or contract that you require clients to read and sign prior to starting work? I’d love to hear your feedback with this. Anything you think is really important to include? Are you a lawyer that helps someone create these contracts?
I’d love to hear from you! Shoot a note to CoworkEvergreen@gmail.com