It’s the first day of winter, and I’m sitting in a cafe with a client…
Beware of Charlatans in Life and Business
I am so sick of charlatans trying to scam Small Business owners.
Working with a range of clients I’ve become more aware of this over time. We all need to make a living but seriously don’t drag out the process to make a few extra dollars. Be succinct in your service, tell people up front what you are doing for them, how much it will cost and then have a signed agreement with timelines.
Then if you say you are going to do something, please do it. Eventually, people will see through you, and any trust you have built may be lost. It’s really not that hard if you know and are confident in your product or service.
If you are unsure with what you are doing, get yourself a coach or mentor (someone with a good track record) don’t do the wrong thing by the people you are serving.
What the hell is she talking about?
As a personal trainer, I also become my clients’ confidante in business and personal life. Some problems are significant especially when experiencing the highs and lows of business, but some problems just shouldn’t occur. These are the ones I’m going to share and the ones that make my blood boil.
Note that I have no intention of breaking the confidentiality of clients nor will I provide the name of the provider of any of the services.
Case 1 – Sally:
- Sally has been in business for four years and together with her husband they have been doing their own bookkeeping with a tax accountant completing their quarterly and end of year lodgments. This accountancy practice has a team of interns (unpaid) who then purportedly check every single entry that Sally has made and questioning back and forward. The questions were mostly irrelevant however all this time is recorded and included in client charges.
The invoice received was for $6,000 for a business with a revenue of $700,000. What’s worse is when Sally changed accountants it was found that claims that could have been applied had not been made and some claims made were not correct. The invoice from the new accountant who also had to correct past errors was one-third of what they had been paying.
Case 2 – Louise:
- Louise is writing a non-fiction book. She had mapped out the plan and was very clear of the direction and has been very driven in her writing. Towards the completion of her writing, Louise decided it was time to find an editor and publisher. At her first meeting, she felt very comfortable with the publisher so decided to proceed with him.
After asking her to send over the first several chapters she received an invoice for a critique. The first few chapters came back with suggestions for sentence flow and grammatical changes. Which she thought was fine as her understanding was this was part of the editing process. But through further conversation, she found that following the critique came the book appraisal. Only then would the editing process begin. Now, this could have been her misunderstanding in the initial conversation as to their process, but nothing is in writing, and it appears her naivety in this space is costing her dearly.
Case 3 – Mark:
- Mark put petrol into the fuel tank instead of diesel in his company car. On the advice of the dealership, the car was towed to their service mechanics, and whatever was done there cost $11,000.
A few months later a friend of the business owner did the same thing with her car. She phoned her service department and was quoted a similar price. Thinking this was ludicrous she drove her car to the local mechanic who cleaned out the fuel system. It cost her a one-eighth of the original quote. That equates to a saving of $9,625.
I know many may be thinking, why didn’t each of these people gather more quotes first, ask more questions or ask for details in writing?
The fact is not everyone knows what to ask, maybe they’re too shy, there are all sorts of reasons. In the first two cases these ladies have been caused considerable stress, and in all three cases, each has had a negative financial impact.
1. Ask for a detailed quote that is in writing and which explains the high-level process; what the service includes and does that provide the outcome you are seeking?
2. Ensure the quote is for the entire process and ask if there are any extras that may arise.
3. Take the time to think before agreeing to proceed; research the service provider and be comfortable that they are right for you.
4. It’s good practice to obtain three quotes before making your final decision.
Plus here are my tips for you:
- Lose your fear and get comfortable with who you are.
- Stay polite but be powerful.
- Eliminate the ‘what ifs’ in your life; instead think ‘what if I don’t’.
Keep doing what you’re doing, fall down, get up, fall down, get up … Succeed!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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