Saturday, August 10, 2013

Always Get it in Writing

Sometimes people call you to offer you a special deal on a service or ask you to come to an event or provide you with instructions of what you have to do to complete a particular project.  While this personal phone call is a great tactic to get you to pay attention to what is being requested or demanded of you, it can also get you in trouble.

When you only receive a verbal communication, it can be challenged.  It is a good idea to protect your small business by getting the information in writing via email.  If someone gives you a deadline, ask for a written communication or create one yourself. One tactic is to reconfirm the information over email.  Start your communication by stating "as per phone conversation on such as such date . . . (restate the request made)."  This tactic is especially helpful if you are dealing with someone who is trying to threaten you or claim that you were negligent or insufficient in some way.

Another tactic, is to request a followup email of any invitations, meeting requests and informational requests so that you can better keep track of all your appointments.  Simply ask the person to send the information in writing as you are so busy that you don't want to forget.

As a given, all requests for payments should always be in writing via an invoice or order form before you cut a check. Get estimates in writing for costs of services and have a contract drawn up before work begins, so that you can be assured that the price won't unexpectedly increase.

Lastly, when and if you have to fire employees, it is a good idea to put any employee reprimands and warnings in writing to protect your business and provide a track record of why you had to get rid of a certain employee.

Getting things in writing can help you protect your small business by providing a chain of evidence for all your interactions and expenses so that you have a written account of all business transactions and what happened during each exchange ~ providing easy access to backup evidence against fraudulent charges, false accusations and any claims of wrongdoing.

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