You just signed up your first “platinum” client and you’re both excited to get to work. The first month is a breeze and you’re thinking, “Why don’t I have more woman entrepreneur clients just like this one?” when your assistant notifies you that your super-star client’s credit card just bounced.
“Uh-oh,” you think. “Was it just me who thought we were doing so well?” You’re uncomfortable, you begin to doubt yourself or your abilities and on top of all the emotional upheaval, you’re now wondering how you’re going to handle this sticky money situation.
Sticky money situations in business include bounced payments, late payments, requests for refunds, program cancellations and postponements, changes in a client’s circumstances and even disappearing clients.
How you handle these situations impacts more than your cash flow. Depending on the choices you make, you can strengthen your connection to your soul’s values, increase your integrity, raise your confidence as a woman entrepreneur and yes, even salvage your client relationship plus get you paid.
Here are six quick tips that I’ve learned as a business coach to gracefully and authentically handle sticky money situations in business:
Business Coaching Tip #1: Understand
Understand that your feelings of anger, betrayal, resentment or self-doubt are simply a smoke-screen for what’s really going on below the surface. Your client’s actions aren’t personal and have nothing to do with you. Once you stop taking it personally you’ll see you have several options for handling the situation.
Business Coaching Tip #2: Compassion
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes just for a moment. If you were her, how would you be feeling? You don’t have to condone her behavior but if you can momentarily see the situation from her eyes, you’ll gain the upper hand and can negotiate a solution like a successful entrepreneur.
Business Coaching Tip #3: Perspective
Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?” Often, just asking yourself this question helps put the situation into perspective. Sure, not being paid is a drag, but in the grand scheme of things, will it make a difference for you long term?
Business Coaching Tip #4: Truth
When you speak to your client about the situation don’t mince words, don’t try to make it better for them or defend yourself. Simply state the facts, then pause and let them respond.
For example, earlier this year a business coaching client’s credit card bounced two months in a row. I simply said to her, “This is the second month your payment has bounced, what’s going on?” That opening gave her the opportunity to explain the problems she was having in her personal life and the chance for her and me to make alternate arrangements.
Tip #5: Boundaries
When it comes to sticky money situations the woman entrepreneur often sidesteps making direct requests. You have every right to straight-forwardly request: “I need you to honor our agreement and make sure I receive payment in full by Friday. How do you plan to make that happen? And for goodness sakes, no successful entrepreneur continues to deliver services on a promise when what she is owed is a payment!
Tip #6: Forgive
Forgive yourself! Successful entrepreneurs consider encounters with sticky money situations as opportunities to clean up money values and boundaries. Learning isn’t always free and my experience as a business coach has been that the expensive lessons are the ones that stick!
While no one relishes sticky money situations, you now have a simple system for addressing them quickly and confidently. A “money and soul” based business means you respond first to the integrity of your own soul, and then respond with integrity to the situation at hand. Remember this and you can’t go wrong, no matter how sticky the situation!