A good friend of mine asked me for a specific request. Her exact words were “talk about getting ‘taken’ by companies that promise to steer so much business your way . . . for a hefty price.” The funny thing is I have a lot to say, but she probably would not like it. In fact, many people probably would not like what I have to say. Mostly because I strongly believe that as a business owner, you are responsible for your business. So I am going to give my politically correct response and my politically incorrect response and you can choose which to love or hate!
Unfulfilled promises equals breach of contract.
That is what we all like to think. My best advice for handling what you perceive to be a breach of contract is to read the contract. Regardless of the state you are in, written contracts trump anything said verbally. If you have a written contract then you need to know and understand everything that is there. If you purchased a service off the web many times you had to click “agree” before you purchase. That agreement is a contract and there should be a complete written statement of whatever it is you are agreeing to. You should print that agreement and read it.
If it is incomprehensible gobbledygook then get an attorney to help you go through it. The question you have to answer is “has the provider failed to do what was promised in the contract?” It doesn’t matter what you were told over the phone and in person, if it is not in the contract it does not exist. Many time services that promise to send clients are more of a referral service. They may directly send clients or passively send clients. But there is no guarantee of increasing your conversion rate. In other words increase in people does not necessarily result in the increase of profits. Which leads me to my politically incorrect response.
There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I say this from first-hand experience and knowledge, many small business owners are always looking for a quick fix. Low equity and high expenses mean that we are always searching for the next sale and the next dollar to keep the business afloat. With that fact in the back of our minds at all times, we always seem to seek the quick fix. I remember struggling to name one of my seminars and I researched some popular seminars. They were all something to the effect of “how to build a six figure business,” or “how to triple your income in a year.” Those titles tell me something (it should tell you something too), everyone wants to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The truth is there are no quick fixes. There are time saving strategies. There are tried and true methods. There are lessons learned from mistakes made. But the time and work that needs to be invested to increase your customer base remains the same. If I named my course “How to become a six figure business in five years” no one would come! No one wants the truth. So we search and search for promises of how to increase our business without the work and then become disappointed because the promises went unfulfilled.
No one should be willing to work harder for your business than you.
I hit a point in my entrepreneurship journey where I really did not want to do it anymore. I fell out of love with my business. I was ready to get a job and work a 9-5. I was tired of the hassle, the stress and endless merry-go-round of client chasing. I stayed in the business because I really had no choice. I stopped most of my marketing efforts, yellow book advertising and updating my website. I only had one way of earning new business referrals.
One day as I was lamenting to a friend about my frustrations and she was lamenting about hers. I was discussing all of the mistakes I made and how I should have done things differently. She asked me if I was going to make any changes now. I really did not have an answer for her. Later I had to ask myself, do you really want to make this work? Are you willing to do what is necessary to increase your business?
Someday I will tell you what my answer to myself was. For now, I will say that people tell you want you want to hear. Not what you need to hear. If I told you what you needed to hear, would you still want to do business with me?
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.