Boundaries – we all need them, yet for small business owners, it’s hard to achieve. Setting boundaries is essential for your business to thrive and for you to remain healthy (physically and mentally). Without boundaries, it’s easy to overwork yourself, have clients walk over you, and ultimately burn yourself out.
Creating boundaries can seem like you’re selfish or standoff to your customers. However, boundaries are a healthy part of operating a business and keeping your sanity. The hard part is finding which boundaries are appropriate and how to uphold them professionally.
The following four tips from reviews for Global Resources will help you set boundaries and keep them in place.
Be Clear About Your Boundaries
Lack of clarity is a common reason why many may not understand your boundaries or respect them. It’s easy to blur a line when it’s not clearly defined. Avoid this from happening by being clear about your boundaries right from the start.
An example would be your weekends. If you’re a Monday to Friday business, you likely want your Saturdays and Sundays free for personal and family time. Your boundaries would be that all emails, texts, social media messages, or even phone calls won’t be replied to until Monday morning. Having this boundary allows you to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Consistently Uphold Your Boundaries
When you set a boundary, you need to uphold it. Another reason why boundaries may become blurred and not respected is when you down respect them yourself. Suppose you tell the public that you won’t respond to messages over the weekend and will reply Monday morning, yet Saturday afternoon, you’re shooting out emails to everyone. Why should your employees or clients feel any different?
Consistently upholding your boundaries shows that you’re serious about them and that you need it. As tempting as it may be to cross your boundary and reply to that email (unless it’s urgent and requires your immediate attention), follow what you set and wait until Monday morning.
Explain Your Reasons
Some customers and clients don’t respect boundaries simply because they don’t understand why they are there. If you assume that everyone will understand and appreciate it once you set a boundary, you’re setting yourself up for frustration.
Once you set a boundary, explain why it’s there. There is usually a legitimate reason why you have the boundary that shouldn’t be a concern or offensive to the client. It could be you need the family time or time to take care of your mental health, your capacity with your workload, or that the boundary is there to keep things fair amongst other clients.
Be prepared to have boundaries that require a bit of flexibility. If you receive an email Saturday morning of an emergency at the office, is it a smart decision for you to wait until Monday, or would waiting be detrimental to your business? Being flexible is a case to case basis.
If you’re required to cross your boundary due to unforeseen circumstances, you can simply explain that you’re upholding your boundary next time and that it’s important it’s respected.
Don’t let setting boundaries as a business owner intimidate you. They are essential to have for your health and wellbeing. You can’t do everything, every minute of the day. Clearly laying out boundaries and explaining why they’re there will help clients and customers understand and respect them.