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Running a Home Business: Managing Client Concerns

 

When running a home business, it is important to cultivate an ability to handle client concerns. "Concerns" is usually another way of saying, "expectations." Knowing what your client expects of you and how to best address those expectations is a key ingredient to home-business success.

Documentation

Have a solid contract between you and your employer before the undertaking of any projects. Agreeing upon specific requirements, deadlines and fees in black and white will help keep discord from developing.  Not only is it a valuable form of pre-planning, but it will help both parties remember what their original goals were.

This is important, as often projects become more complicated as they progress. If worse comes to worse, it will also be your insurance policy. A signed contract is often the final word in a courtroom.

Help Them Understand the Process

If a client understands the process, you go through to accomplish your shared goals, and they may be less likely to give you unreasonable demands or shift the specifics of the project. Keep your client informed of your progression. Give them a approximate time-table of each particular, and a summary of actions to be taken. Providing a step-by-step checklist in the beginning of your affiliation will help keep them on the same track as you.

Set Limits and Be Flexible

Since you are a freelancer, you are usually able to provide a flexibility and personal service that larger companies can't. This is often why a client has chosen you. They want an employer they can call in off hours, and one they can negotiate with directly if problems occur. Give them the face to face connection they want.

Personal association usually can only improve the quality of a business relationship. It is up to you to decide how much you are willing to compromise for your client. Although as a freelancer your special strength is your ability to give personal attention, don't be afraid to set boundaries. You know your limits, so make sure even the neediest of clients know them too.

If All Else Fails

If all else fails, you may have to cut the client loose. If your business relationship with your client has stopped being  productive or profitable for you, do not assume you are under an obligation to continue the association. Make sure there is a clause in your initial contract that allows severance. This also applies if the client has proven to be especially difficult to work with, continually creating obstacles to your goals or having unrealistic expectations of your time and service. If severance becomes necessary, remember to execute it with kindness and dignity. A hard and fast rule of business is never to burn bridges.

When forging a relationship with a new client in your home-based business, it is important to remember communication. Agreed-upon goals and open dialog help you understand your client's concerns.

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