For those of you who are time poor, going through feast and famine cycles in your business or have a just-want-to-work mentality you should know that the golden rule in business is to Paper Your Deals!
I recently read Good Self, Bad Self which is a book written by Judy Smith. Judy is a Washington ''fixer'' who solves the problems of Washington's elite before they get into the media.
In Good Self, Bad Self Judy talks about balanced ambition. When someone has an imbalance in their ambition they purely focus on short term goals. The here and now is what is most important, and they have a mentality that the future will take care of itself. These kind of people are stuck in the current of life: current fears, current situations and challenges. It's almost as if they don't even feel there will be a tomorrow.
For example, you have 10 days to pay creditors you owe, or maybe you just need the money for something in the short term. A client contacts you and says they are ready to proceed with your service, and you are so full of enthusiasm and unbalanced ambition that you take the money and start doing the work.
Everything goes smoothly until the client voices their first concern. You may feel that you have the best clients on earth, but trust me, sooner or later as in any relationship you will come to a stalemate. The client disputes the invoices, or how you conducted the services -- the list of issues a client can come up with is endless!
But because you didn't paper your deal and outline the responsibilities, you and your client you now enter into an emotional email battle which is all pointless because there is no contract. In order to resolve things you speak to friends and colleagues and they tell you the best thing to do is to get a lawyer. You reluctantly agree, knowing in the back of your mind that this is not going to be cheap.
And you're right, it's not cheap, and the lawyer sitting across the table from you tells you that if you had only come to them first you would have saved a lot of time and money. And not to mention that because you have been so emotionally strung lately you haven't be able to work on other projects -- so not only are you now having to pay out legal fees, you're also putting your house, business and relationships at risk because your ambition was unbalanced.
So at this point you may ask what is balanced ambition, Soph? Well according to Judy Smith, balanced ambition is when you focus on short terms goals with a long term view.
Having balanced ambition encourages you to ask questions like ''Is taking on this client now in line with my long term business strategy?'' Asking these kind of questions allows you to become more aware to the pitfalls that come with running a business.
I urge you to spend some time today and audit your business. Are you working with any clients without contracts in place? Are you working with any clients that don't support your long term business strategy? Don't be swept away by the immediate gratification of the short term because if you do, in the long term you will lose. In the words of my mother, ''Short cuts are always long cuts.''