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5 Cut n’ Paste Scripts for Dealing with Awkward Business Situations

5 Cut n’ Paste Scripts for Dealing with Awkward Business Situations

Have you ever found yourself wondering what to do when a client disappears mid-project or stops paying your invoices?

Self-employment can be fulfilling and lots of fun for sure, but it’s also a bit of a minefield, especially when you’re starting out.

Here are five scripts to help you navigate your way through some common awkward business situations without losing friends, money or your sanity.

1. A potential client you want to work with goes dark on you

Do you:

a)    Email to say you’re just following up and could they please let you know a.s.a.p.

b)    Email to say you’re following up on your previous follow up.

c)     Say you’re all booked up and they missed out. Too bad.

Or d) Email them and say:

Hi {potential client}

I understand you probably haven’t gotten around to thinking about our phone conversation just yet. But I wanted to check in and see if maybe you’re leaning towards a yay or a nay? No pressure either way.

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I would love to work with you and I’m really hoping we can tee up our calendars to make this happen. I believe that together, we can rock this event/launch/project. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m behind you one hundred per cent and wish you all the best.

Respectfully yours,

2. A friend, acquaintance or client has added you to their email list without your consent.

Do you:

a) Unsubscribe immediately. How dare they?

b) File them as junk. They deserve it.

c) Stay subscribed–you don’t want to offend them.

Or d) Unsubscribe (your time and your inbox is sacred), but also send them a nice note along these lines:

Hi there,

Thank you for sending me your newsletter. I loved what you wrote about {insert topic}. Unfortunately I did have to unsubscribe due to the pressure my inbox is under these days. You can rest assured it’s not a reflection of the amazing work you’re doing.

I look forward to catching with what you’re up to on {your blog/Twitter/Facebook}.

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Your friend,

3. A long-standing client is not paying your invoices on time.

Do you:

a) Threaten them with legal action. The nerve.

b) Keep following up with them. Surely they will crack and pay eventually.

c) Let them pay you on their schedule. You’re grateful for the work.

Or d) Email them and say:

Dear client,

You know I LOVE working with you guys and I want our relationship to continue.

However we do need to have a chat about our invoice situation. My contract stipulates payment within 30 days, and as you may or may not be aware, the last couple of payments took more than 90.

I know you have priorities when it comes to your cash flow and as a small business owner I can totally sympathize. But I also have a mortgage to pay and several humans to feed. And my bank manager won’t listen to my 90 day invoice story (believe me I’ve tried!).

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Do call me if we need to chat about this.

I remain your friend and colleague,

4. You have a hot lead, but he balks at paying your fee at the last minute. You really want to work with him.

Do you:

a) Offer them a one-time only discount.

b) Say your fees are negotiable.

c) Tell them your fees are set in stone and they can get over it if they don’t like ‘em.

Or d) Suggest a compromise

Dear {potential client},

You know I’d love to come on board and help with this project. I have so many great ideas and I’m chomping at the bit to get started. I understand where you’re coming from about my fees. We all have budgets. But I work hard to make sure my clients get the results they want, which is why my fees are set at that level.

So how about we reconfigure the schedule of work until we get closer to your budget? Perhaps there is some way, for example, you could have {name task} taken care of in-house?

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I’ll wait to hear from you.

Best,

5. You’ve signed up a new client. But they’ve started making unreasonable demands on your time. They’ve already phoned you five times and it’s Saturday, for heaven’s sake.

Do you:

a) Tell them to go jump in a lake and stop bothering you.

b) Ignore the calls. They can call on Monday if they really want to talk to you.

c) Agree to everything they want. The customer is always right.

Or d) appeal to their higher sensibilities and say:

I know you’re really enthusiastic about this project (me too by the way). But Saturday is the only day I get to spend with my family. So we’re going to have to pick this up again on Monday.

I know that as a family man/woman yourself, you’ll understand. Besides, my wife/husband/significant other will kill me if I don’t stop working weekends all the time!

Let me know in the comments if these templates work for you!

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Published on March 25, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More Resources About Ever-Growing

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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