In a perfect world, every vendor you hire delivers above and beyond their promised agreements, every partner gives willingly of their time and every relationship you create for your business is win-win. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and we certainly don’t live in a perfect business-related world.
You will undoubtedly have conflicts with vendors and partners and you will at some point have to end relationships. In these situations, no one leaves the room happy, but here are a few things you can do to ensure you retain your dignity through any challenging business relationship severing:
• Speak as though you stood in front of a crowd. It’s easy to get worked up and, frankly, mean on the phone with someone you feel is taking advantage of you financially or otherwise. Your anger won’t help the situation, so use this litmus test: Would you say what you’re saying if 100+ people were listening? If the answer is no, keep it under wraps.
• Prepare for the worst, protect yourself. We always want to hope for the best, but can’t always count on it. Before entering into an arrangement, prepare for the worst. Check with your bank about its policies if you at some point want to recall payment with what banks call a chargeback. Consider paying with PayPal, which protects its users from fraud and no delivery of goods or services. If you’re working with larger contracts, have an attorney look things over before you sign and be sure to include out clauses that protect you and your company.
• Have a clear referral policy. Word of mouth is everything in many businesses and often vendors will ask for recommendations or referrals before a project is complete. Keep a strong policy not to recommend or refer any vendor until a project is completed.
I hope none of you will have to go through the challenge of a negative end to a business relationship, but when you do, do it with grace, respect and dignity. The old saying goes, “Most relationships that end, end badly.” Do your best to avoid anger and tears that could result in that kind of terrible end to any relationship.
Marcy Twete is the founder/CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works," to be released in summer 2013.