Treat Your Website as a Contract … A contract with you!

This is something I have been saying quite a bit lately and today thought I would clarify exactly what it is that I mean.

Being an entrepreneur also offers challenges that aren’t often faced when working for others, challenges that can benefit us greatly or lead us to ruin. One of the best ways I have found to ensure that I am enjoying the benefits while avoiding the ruin is to treat my website like a contract I have with myself.

Like any good contract there are things we build into our website that offer structure and guidance. And this structure and guidance isn’t just for our customers. It is also an incredible resource for us as business owners.  One that will keep us focused on our goals and doing what makes the most sense in our business. A resource that will prevent us from making decisions on the fly that could hurt us in the long run.

Your Website Contract

Your website shows the world what you do, how you do it and when you are available. It describes how you deliver your products and services.  And it may also define the value of those products and services. If you are not delivering what you have promised within the pages of your website, your business is going to suffer.

You already know this, but what happens when you start delivering more than you have defined within your website? What happens when you are available more than you planned to be? Or are giving discounts you didn’t plan for? Pretty soon you run out or resources and you find that much more difficult to deliver what you originally promised your website visitors. So let’s take a look at how we can avoid these issues.

What you do and how you do it

As an entrepreneur we often fall into one of two traps when it comes to delivering our products and services. We either over deliver or we over promise, and often times one leads to the other! We start off over giving and  giving and giving, hoping to offer enough value to be memorable. It doesn’t take long for us to exhaust our resources such as time, money and products. Pretty soon we just don’t have that much to offer any more, and we find ourselves struggling to just provide what we promised in the beginning. This is when we run the risk of over promising, or as some would say, under delivering.

Build your contract by…

Look at your product and services listing on your website as non-negotiable. What you have listed is exactly what you have to provide. Nothing more and nothing less. Of course you can build in some fun bonuses your customer may not be expecting. That is all part of the “how” you are going to deliver. But these need to be defined as well and long before they are given.

By doing this you no longer have to feel obligated to give more than what is defined, keeping you from over delivering. You also have a clear vision of exactly what needs to be done to make sure you deliver in the best possible, keeping you from over promising.

When you are available

As an entrepreneur we often fall into one of two traps when it comes to our availability. We either make ourselves always available, or we become a little to flexible with time off. This all comes from being always connected.

Because we are always connected through our phones we feel as if we have to be available via email and social media platforms 24/7. And if we have a physical location we often feel obligated to open the door to potential customers outside of business hours just because we are there.

This leads to overwhelming exhaustion and it sets an expectation with our customers that we truly are always available. Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, we switch gears and begin taking time off, only to slide into the trap of being too flexible with our time. Now we find ourselves behind on work and missing deadlines.

Build your contract by…

Post you business hours on your website, letting everyone know (including you) when you are available. Look at your business hours, as your customer support hours, and keep your administrative hours all to yourself!

Take care not to over schedule yourself and make sure you are giving yourself well deserved time off. You can go even further by making your administrative time and time off non-negotiable as well. I personally document these time blocks on my calendar so I always have the time I need for all things important.

The value you provide

This is a really BIG topic that deserves its own conversation, and on Friday we are going to be talking about this in much more detail on Facebook Live. But for the purposes of this article let’s agree that you already understand the importance of setting a fair price for the products and services you have to offer, and have defined your prices.

As entrepreneurs we tend to believe that our pricing is flexible and that we can offer up discounts for any number of reasons.  Here are a few I have fallen into myself…

  • I really want to make the sale so go lower than normal
  • It’s a friend or family member
  • I believe they “really need” what I have to offer and want to make it easier for them
  • I am pressured by the customer to offer a discount

While you may not want to list your prices publicly on your website, (again tune in Friday for more on that!) it is still a fabulous ideal to have these defined and readily available.

Build your contract by…

Define your prices, discount policy and the discounts you are willing to offer in writing. If you don’t want to offer any discounts, that is okay, but still take the time to state this in writing.

Refer to this document before you give anyone a price or a quote. Make sure it is easily accessible and do not deviate from this plan without serious thought, consideration and number crunching.

When you do this you are making a commitment to yourself to get paid the fair price you have determined. You also aren’t diminishing your own value by giving your products and services away for next to nothing or worse… for free!

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