3 Steps Every Business Owner Needs to Take to Set Better Boundaries

Failing to set your boundaries as a business owner can cost you a lot of time and money. In this article, we’ll discuss a three-step plan for setting better boundaries for yourself. 

Before stumbling into Well-Oiled Operations™ (WOO),  Megan was having a hard time navigating her new role as a business owner. 

All her life, she’d been working as a manager, so she knew her way around systems, processes, and organizations. 

But she quickly realized that running a business was a different beast altogether. Suddenly, she had to deal with HR matters like onboarding and having difficult conversations with staff. 

On top of that, it was the first time she’s ever worked with women. She described the experience as ‘awkward,’ because she felt like she had to be friends with everyone. She’d buy greeting cards for the ladies, and then she’d question if it was even appropriate to give it to them. 

So, the first thing Megan and I worked on was a leadership structure. One that allowed her to show up authentically as the leader and visionary she wanted to be… while still setting appropriate boundaries as a business owner. 

To this day, Megan considers setting these boundaries as her biggest win in WOO. 

And I completely agree with her. 

Boundaries are very important in the life and career of a business owner. See, failing to set boundaries doesn’t just cost you time but it also costs you good money. Because as the visionary of your organization, your time literally translates to money. 

Having insufficient boundaries as a business owner translates to issues like:

  • Overspending on a payroll
  • Clients not paying for all the extras you keep throwing in
  • People taking advantage of you at every turn 

Obviously, we don’t want any of these things to happen to you.

So, in this article, we’ll explore a three-step plan on how to set better boundaries as a business owner. 

The Three Steps

Here’s a hard pill to swallow:

As business owners, we like to blame other people when they take advantage of our time and kindness. We like to think some people are just rotten to the core. But in reality, people can’t take advantage of you… unless you let them. 

So, if you’re tired of getting walked on all over for being a genuinely nice person, know that it’s on you for not setting the right boundaries with people. 

But here’s the good news:

Since you’re the only one who can be blamed for not setting proper boundaries… you’re also in the best position to fix it! 

And here’s your three-step guide on how to do that:

 

Step #1 – Assess where you’re allowing bad boundaries to happen, and with whom

Problem-solving always starts with assessing the extent of the issue. So, if you feel like you’ve been way too accommodating to the people you work with, ask yourself:

Where am I allowing bad boundaries to happen? And with whom?

You could be allowing bad or intrusive attitudes from your clients, potential clients, and team members. 

So, write down the names of people who make working together feel a lot heavier by taking more than you’re actually willing to give.  

 

Step #2 – Define what you would like these relationships to look like

Let’s say you’ve listed down the people you want to have a better, healthier relationship with. You then need to define what you would like these relationships to look like.

How would you like them to treat you better? What do you think a fair relationship between you and these people would look like? And what past behavior or habit would you like them to avoid in the future while working with you?

Here’s an example:

Let’s say your clients and team members have come to expect that they can call you any time… and for any concern, urgent or otherwise. 

With this situation, you’re basically giving people permission to intrude on your non-working hours. Hours you’re supposed to be spending with family or resting. 

So, in the future, you might want to train people that the only time they can call your phone is for super urgent matters. Those that can’t wait until a certain time of the day when you check your email. That could be first thing in the morning or right before clocking out at 4pm.

Again, list down all these new boundaries you want to set with each person with whom you’ve allowed bad boundaries to happen. 

Once you’re done with that, you can move on to the final step of this plan…

 

Step #3 – Send an email, text, or call to announce the better boundaries you’re about to set 

A huge part of setting good boundaries is communicating what those boundaries are to the people concerned. 

But when you announce your new boundaries, do it through a mass email or a mass announcement. This way, no one would feel like they’re being singled out. 

Additionally, you want to blame things on yourself instead of bringing up anyone’s “bad habits.”

Your announcement could go something like this:

“Hey, everyone. I realize I’ve been really bad at time management. But I’m working on my productivity. So, moving forward, I’ll only be checking my email from 3-4pm every day. Any non-urgent concerns will be addressed during this time. For anything urgent that can’t wait until I check my email, here’s the office phone number you could call: xx-xxxx.”

Now, it might take a bit of time before people get accustomed to these new boundaries you’re setting, especially if you’ve allowed bad habits to form over a long period of time. 

But resetting the tone for these work relationships will be worth it in the end. 

Set Better Boundaries for Yourself

When you change your own behavior, you will magically change others’. And when you set better boundaries, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and money. 

So, whenever you’re ready to change the way you show up as a business leader, book a call with me at www.stacytuschl.com/call… And let’s work together on setting healthier boundaries for you.