More pickles than I can count

Have you ever found yourself torn between a reluctant ‘yes’ standing our ground with a potential relationship-straining ‘no’?

Who said running a business was easy?

Thankfully, I’ve found a two-word phrase that has gotten me out of more pickles than I can count;

Company Policy.

Now, you may be thinking, “Policies? Isn’t that for some corporation?”. But hear me out… Company policies — no matter the size of your agency — have two huge advantages you might not be considering:

  1. They establish boundaries. Telling a client ‘no’ is hard — especially for people-pleasers. But policies? They act as your buffer, prevent you from becoming a ‘Yes Man’ and easing the sting of a denied request. They allow you to professionally and tactfully decline requests without it being personal.
  2. They eliminate decision fatigue. As business owners, our days are filled with countless decisions. Each ‘yes’ or ‘no’ we wrestle with chips away at our focus, energy, and productivity. Policies streamline these decisions, and save your mental energy for things that really matter.

If I’ve convinced you that policies are important, then your next question is probably “How?”. Like with most things, I’ve found the simple approach the best:

  1. Identify the situations that cause you stress. List the situations that cause you the most stress. Late payments, last-minute changes, clients texting you on the weekend — all of these great starting points.
  2. Envision the idea outcome. For each situation, visualize the ideal outcome. What process would make things smoother? What outcome would instantly relieve your anxiety?
  3. Turn those outcomes into your policies. Convert these ideal scenarios into your company policies. Keep them clear, concise, and leave no room for imagination.

Here’s an example of how I convey a policy to my client:

“My company policy prevents me from purchasing domains for clients. This ensures you always remain the rightful owner of your online presence. If you’d like, I can provide you with a list of our recommended vendors along with instructions on how to purchase the domain on your own”.

Notice the shift? No disappointment, no added responsibility. Just a professional response that honors both your time and your client’s request.

You don’t have to write the entire company policy manual in a day, either. Just take the extra few minutes to tackle your next decision by crafting a policy instead of a one-off response.

Future-you is gonna love it.

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