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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru
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    Book reccomendations

    My business is growing and becoming bigger than I can handle myself. Yet its not so big that I could reliably put someone to work. One big problem are small requests (1 hour site modifications or edits) people expect to be done ASAP. They can make it difficult to finish large projects. I don't want to tell people I can't offer support for their site I built.

    At any rate, I'm looking for a book(s) that goes over best practices for business:
    Scheduling, hiring people, project flow, estimating, cash flow, etc..
    Nut and bolts stuff not conceptual leadership/business books.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    I'd recommend the E-Myth Revisited.

    As well as being an enjoyable read, the book talks about how one-person businesses can run into problems as they expand and how you can use systems, procedures and attitude to avoid these problems. The author also discusses what you need to do to ensure that you continue to enjoy working on your expanding business.

    Personally I found it very helpful and judging by the 225 five star ratings on Amazon, so did lots of other people.
    Fergal Crawley (Previous Username: Proudirish.com)
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  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    It looks like Fergal recommended a good book, but while you and I are waiting for it to be delivered, here are some things you can do:

    • Make sure your project agreements are specific as to the after-support and/or site maintenance you will provide as to payment, timeline, etc. Don't let your clients think they get a free ride through infinity. (Not that you do, but if your agreements don't specify, clients may assume)
    • When a past client approaches you for maintenance, review their project for yourself. Were they easy to work with? Would you want to do another project for them? If they were a pain in the past, simply decline the request. You don't have to provide support that you don't want to provide.
    • For clients that you do want to keep in your list, draft a letter that explains because of the overwhelming requests for maintenance and support, along with your project work, you have made a change in your business policy. Tell them what you will do for what price, when you can schedule it and how long it will take, just as you would on any project proposal. Believe it or not, your good clients will understand that "business is business" and all businesses go through policy changes, price increases, etc.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Here's a second vote for the E-Myth books, especially if you're interested in expanding beyond a one-person business or being able to sell the business (without it dying without you) at some point.

  5. #5
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    Hey thanks for the suggestions!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    ...If they were a pain in the past, simply decline the request....
    Or offer to do it for a high rate. That way you are still offering to support your work and if you get a support agreement the extra money should make it worth the hassle. Also lay down clear terms as to how you will do business, so if the client steps outside of that you can terminate the arrangement.
    Fergal Crawley (Previous Username: Proudirish.com)
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Shyflower suggests a great list of things to do immediately. I also agree with the the suggestions of reading E-Myth.

    The other things I would add to the last point shyflower suggested is that you have a 3 day minimum turn around policy. If it needs to be completed within those three days then charge a priority rate (Make sure the client agrees to this explicitly and preferably by email so you have a record) because you will need to stay after work to complete the task. Our priority rate is about 70% more than our normal hourly. This will then weed out the tasks that need to done immediately and those that can wait for a timeslot that is convenient for you.

    The other thing I would suggest is that you have this as an email template that you can quickly call up and send out to people when they request a change so that it has a standard wording that has been crafted by you to include all the necessary information, i.e. 3 day turn around, if priority then there is a rate increase etc.

    Again this is covering yourself for when the client forgets the conversation you had with them about the priority rate.

    Cheers,
    Colin
    Colin Burns
    http://www.cmsadvantage.com
    Founder & CEO, cmsadvantage
    The premier CMS for Web & Graphic Designers

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast simmo_13's Avatar
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    Another vote for E-Myth. I've just finished reading it - there's a great deal of wisdom inside.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict ChiefLee's Avatar
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    If you're going to be managing people, and want to do so effectively, I highly recommend "First, Break All The Rules".

    And for those who do want to read about higher level leadership kind of stuff, read "Good to Great". It's fantastic.
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