January 27, 2014 News-Events Boundaries, there’s a word that you may not use very often. That’s about to change. In fact, I see you using it a lot into the future. Not as a word but rather as a term, one of considerable importance to you and your business. Let’s first consider what a Boundary represents; a limit, a demarcation or a border. In some fashion, where something stops and/or where something starts. Why do Boundaries get set? If they are personal boundaries, they are there to protect yourself and your values, or they can be there to make others conscious of their behavior (as in “hey, you can’t speak to me like that”). If they are societal, they are there to create a civil existence and environment. If they are for a business arrangement such as a purchase agreement, they are there to be clear about the limits of the deal; what it includes for the price and, therefore or also, what it does not include. Just as it is with personal boundaries, establishing boundaries in business arrangements achieves knowing and understanding what the limits are for all parties involved. This, in turn, lends itself to building healthy relationships. Taking a stand for healthy relationships, with your employees and with your customers is, and will always be, a driving focus to your business. For boundaries to be set and utilized effectively you must clearly name your limits. Then, you must enforce or uphold them firmly. Having boundaries that you clearly communicate and uphold accomplishes so much, including being free of fear and other stress causing emotions, thus allowing you to get more of what you want and less of what you don’t. You are in a much better position to take care of your customers, maximizing their positive experience while also protecting your business interests, when you are clear about the boundaries. You don’t have to overcompensate due to your lack of clarity about what to give a customer. You can eliminate any fears you might have of repercussion from a customer that is not happy when you are sure you’ve met the terms of what you’ve promised. You will have the capacity to do more of the work you are contracted to perform when you are spending less of your day on time-consuming “freebies” that you may get caught up in when the boundaries are not clearly understood. I am talking about knowing, not guessing what is the right thing to do in the myriad of situations you face. In the absence of knowing you are left with appeasing people by erring on the side of doing everything that someone dictates to you which results in eroding profits while expending resources and effort. Make no mistake; you will still be the company that gives customers everything they should get. But you can only do that if you know and uphold your boundaries. Without that, you are using your time and energy doing many things that are not factored into your pricing or part of your promises. Make sure that your entire company has a solid understanding about the boundaries around each of your offerings in the short term and into the future. It can sometimes be difficult to balance upholding boundaries while making sure that customers are happy. That is where the expectation setting and the clarity of your business arrangements come into play.