When it comes to running your business, the people you surround yourself with, and the help and assistance you receive from them, play such important roles in your success. For example, your business coach, your marketing/PR consultant, …your designer 😉
But, choosing an awesome, friendly, and/or dependable service provider (like a writer or coach) is only part of the equation to get the best outcome…the rest is on YOU!
So, how do you make the best of your relationship, ensure that your project goes smoothly, and the end result is what you wanted + more?
The following tips are derived from my own experience in my design practice – but, these tips are equally applicable to any service provider relationship – be it with your business coach, your copywriter or even your social media manager.
For the most effective + happy relationship:
1. Commit to the project 100%. You can’t push the magic “Start” button, and then disappear for a week or more, any more than your service provider could do the same (with the exception of rare circumstances, like a family tragedy). If you’re not there to clarify instructions, provide important documents, or other details, your [writer/designer/coach] will have a hard time doing the job you hired him/her for.
2. Know your brand (that’s the heart & soul of your biz), as well as your short- and long-term goals and dreams, and make sure to share those deets with your service provider. This will ensure that the end result, be it copy for your website or an ambitious 3-month marketing plan, is geared towards your unique situation and the goals you want to reach.
3. Show info/samples of what you want. Such as: Websites you like to your web designer; a list of key words you want to use to your copywriter; samples of your writing/language style for your social media manager to imitate – the key is to show, rather than explain, what you want.
4. Gather the goods/supplies, beforehand. This way, you have them at the ready, once your service-person is to the point of needing them. Things like photos, web copy, spreadsheets, instructions, list of problems to be fixed, and so on.
5. Communicate well, and in a timely fashion. This goes back to #1 above; if it takes you longer than a week to respond to e-mail, or two weeks pass before you finally send the files he/she needed, you can bet it’s going to take a lot longer for him/her to finish your project. (Not to mention, when either party is hard to reach/unresponsive, that’s a great way to sour an otherwise healthy relationship).
6. Be respectful – pure and simple. The best relationships (and results too) happen when both client and provider have a healthy respect for each other’s time, effort, resources, and business.
7. Designate a special place on your computer to store the finished files (and back it up! CrashPlan is awesome). Whether it be your logo, your new website copy, your killer marketing plan, or something else…you’ve invested your hard-earned dollars on it, so store those files in a safe + easily accessible location. Most service providers (myself included) DO keep clients’ files archived for at least a year afterwards, but don’t depend on that! If your copywriter is on vacation, or your web designer vanished without a trace, or your coach only archives calls for one month after, you’re up a creek…unless, you have your own backup handy.
REMEMBER: Friendship is a two-way street, and so are professional working relationships. (Tweet that!) Certainly there is a distinction between the role of the service provider and the role of the client, and what each must bring to the table, but “working together” is how the best outcome is reached!
YOU + ME. More smart ideas & biz tips:
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!