Episode 138

Episode 138: Unlock Profit Potential: The Impact of Business Boundaries on Your Bottom Line


What you’ll learn in this episode:

In today’s episode, I delve into the critical role of boundaries in business and their direct influence on profitability. I highlight five key areas where boundaries tend to be underestimated: time management, delineation of work roles, maintaining business focus, managing client interactions, and personal consumption habits. Throughout our discussion, I stress the significance of clarity, deliberate planning, and shifts in mindset to effectively establish and uphold boundaries, noticing their impact and influence on your cash flow and profitability.

Through the practice of setting and respecting boundaries, entrepreneurs can cultivate a more streamlined and productive operation, paving the way for expansion, enhanced earnings, and a more fulfilling work journey.

By the end of this episode, you will have insight into where you can tighten up your boundaries so you can start running a smoother, more enjoyable business, while also generating increased profits.

In this episode, you will learn to:

  • Why Boundaries are crucial for business growth and profitability.
  • Identifying the five areas where boundaries are often overlooked and how to tighten them up.
  • Why clarity, intentional planning, and mindset shifts are necessary to establish and maintain boundaries.
  • Why setting and honoring boundaries leads to a streamlined and efficient operation, increased revenue, and a more enjoyable work experience.

Mentioned in this episode:

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Jessica Miller [00:00]

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the It’s Your offer podcast. I am thrilled to be here with you this week to talk to you about a very important topic that has come up for business owners a lot lately. And this is something that actually is always under the surface as being an area that people tend to struggle with. But this week, it’s come up quite a bit. And I wanted to come on here and talk to you about this because it is an important part of having a thriving business that grows in an easy way and a business that creates ease and space for you and for your team and for your clients. And that is the topic of boundaries, boundaries in your business are so important for growth, they are important for streamlining your operations, they are important for your sanity. And they are one of the things that we often struggle with as business owners.

Jessica Miller [00:56]

They are also very importantly, affecting the cash flow that you have and the money that you are making in your business. And so today, I want to talk about how your boundaries are costing you money in your business, and how you really can unlock your profit potential by looking at your boundaries and understanding where they might be impacting your bottom line. Because again, if you want a business that can grow easily, that is thriving, that feels good, that allows you to maneuver through it in a way that is in alignment with what you want is bringing clients in easily is giving them what they need as far as their results, and is generating that consistent cash flow, you need to make sure that you know what your boundaries are and that they are locked in.

Jessica Miller [01:45]

So today, I’m going to walk through the five areas in your business where I believe that it is costing you money when you don’t have your boundaries dialed in. And I will tell you there is no shame if you’re listening to this, and you are doing any one of these things, because I know that I definitely have. And in some ways, I am still the reason this happens is because as we grow and change in our business, our boundaries shift and they require different things of us. So we have to go back and look at this over and over and over again. So I’ve seen myself, like I said, come up against this and continue to come up against this, as I grow as I change as an individual, as I evolve as a CEO of my company. And I am required to do different things and look at my time and my effort in a different way. So let’s jump into this. Number one, the first place that I see people losing money around their boundaries, essentially their boundaries, costing them and where there is an infinite upside for profit potential as it relates to their business is of course around their time.

Jessica Miller [02:55]

My first question to anyone around any of the things we’re going to talk about in this is first, do you know what your boundaries are? Do you know what they are? Do you understand the things you do and don’t want to be doing? Do you understand where you want to be, for example, protecting your time and not? Like? Are you clear in each one of these places that I’m going to talk about what your boundaries are in relation to them. So again, the first thing is around time. So the first question is like, Do you know what your boundaries are? Around your time? How you want to spend it, where you’re spending it? What it looks like? Do you have clarity around what a boundary related to your time actually looks like? A lot of times people don’t, they haven’t really thought that through in an intentional way. So the first thing you have to do is think about what are your boundaries around your time. Where I see this becoming very leaky and costing business owners a lot of money is in the following places – Number one: time. Around where they’re doing things like taking calls or interfacing with customers, or things that are draining their energy showing up for meetings. That’s one of the places where we don’t have clarity around how that’s going to happen, or what it’s going to look like you can just go awry. Another place is around their business hours. When are you working? And when are you not working? When did your day start? When does it end? What days are your days to be in the office? And what days aren’t really having clarity around those business hours? The other places around their calendar? Do you work five days a week? Do you work seven days a week? Do you work on Fridays? Or Mondays? What does that look like as far as your calendar? And where are the boundaries around that? Another place related to time are things like events and going to different places to try to grow your business or interact with other people. What are your boundaries around those type of activities? Do you do all of them? Do you have a certain criterion that you follow in order to make sure that They’re strategic for you. Do you have certain days of the week where you’re not available for that type of thing? So as it relates to time, that is an area where boundaries really cost business owners a lot of money and being very clear about what are the boundaries around your time? And where and how can you implement them? And are they leaking in some of these places that I just mentioned, as it relates to your time.

Jessica Miller [05:25]

The second place is around the work that you are doing in your business. As an established business owner, our role changes as we grow. And sometimes that shift, and really understanding where we have our role in our business often isn’t clear. And then on top of that, we don’t have boundaries around the role and the type of work we do within our organization. One of the things that really suffers around this, especially as we grow is that we hold on to these roles that used to be ours. And we’re not evolving into the role that we need to be for a business that’s growing. A place where this gets pinched is in that delegation, you hire people, you have experts that you work with, and yet you are not letting go, you don’t have clear boundaries around the work and your role in what you do within your organization. And therefore, you’re doing a lot of things that frankly, you shouldn’t be doing, you should be delegating to someone else, or somebody else should really be taking that baton and running with it. And it’s not you. One of the places that I found, I really struggled with this. And I think this is very normal for solopreneurs, or individual contributors who are growing into a bigger company or a different role, managerial roles, leadership roles to get over is I would have this mindset of this will just take me five minutes. Like, let me just book this calendar entry on the calendar, because I could do it, and it’ll just take me five minutes. Let me write this welcome email to this new client, because it’ll just take me five minutes. And over and over, I was bleeding through these boundaries around what my role was and what I was supposed to be doing within my business. And it would end up stealing so much time and energy from me, that it was affecting other areas of the business. And my coach always reminded me when you say yes to something, you say no to something else. And so when I was doing these, it just takes five minutes things, I wasn’t doing something else that could really grow the business. And it was requiring so much energy from me to do all of these things I wasn’t supposed to be doing on top of what it was that I needed to do and was supposed to be doing. So having those boundaries around your role and the work that you’re doing within your organization, and making sure that they are clear, and really opening yourself up to the profitability that comes from being in your role and doing your thing and not doing the job of other people. This really dovetails into a bigger concept from a business perspective around boundaries – what is your business focused on?

Jessica Miller [08:06]

What is the thing that you’re really good at? I always say, what is your lane as a business? And that relates to your offers, and it relates to the places in the market and in your business where you are growing? So in what ways are you sort of bumping out of the boundary around your lane, those guardrails that say, this is the type of business that you’re doing? These are the things that you focus on. And not going outside of that or breaking through those boundaries of starting to offer a service or do something that’s not really in your wheelhouse. And I know people don’t think of that as boundaries a lot of times, but it really is, it’s your way of saying this is what we lean into this is what we’re known for these, this is what our offer is for. And it’s not these other things. And you’re setting the boundary around that so that when people come to you, which they always will, asking for things that maybe are not your area of expertise, or they’re not that your sweet spot where you’re offering services or products around that, you have the courage and confidence to say no. Because you know what your boundaries around your lane and what you’re focused on is actually the thing that is going to increase your profitability. Versus going after these other things outside of those boundaries, outside of those guardrails with the idea that that’s actually going to bring you money and bring you cash and bring you profitability, but actually it’s the complete opposite. So having boundaries around your lane and the things that you’re focusing on, and knowing what those are and making sure that you’re staying within that lane.

Jessica Miller [09:46]

The fourth thing is what you let your clients do how you interact with them. Or another fancy word for this is scope creep. So there are certain boundaries that I have in my business that allow it to operate in a certain way that allow us to have systems and structures that ultimately allow the result that we provide for our clients to be the best that they can be. That very often is ingrained in the scope of work. It is defined by the scope of work that SOP. And it follows a very predictable pattern, because we have figured out for the work that we do in our offer with these type of people with this specific problem, in order to get this result or brand promise, this is where we need to stay with the type of work and how we do that work. It is very common, that things shift and they can creep, right, we’ve all probably been part of scope creep, whether we’re the one who’s causing this scope creep, or we’re, it’s our business, and people are looking for some sort of help outside of essentially the scope of our work, having boundaries around what you actually how you interact with your clients, and what you do with them. The scope of the work in which you work with them on all of those pieces are really important in keeping a streamlined, efficient and powerful business. It is okay to choose things outside of your scope, just like with any of the other things that we were talking about today, you know, maybe you’re taking a call outside of business hours, or you’re doing something that maybe you wouldn’t normally do. They’re not, quote unquote, within your boundaries. But the key is that you’re doing it very intentionally. And you’re making a really important data driven decision. When you are doing that, understanding how this fits into your business. What are the tradeoffs? What are the downstream effects of making those choices, and when it comes to scope, scope, creep, and really understanding where those boundaries are in your business, what you are going to be available for and not what are those circumstances where you might go outside of the scope and the type of work that you do or the in the ways that you work with your clients. It is really important, especially when it comes to systems, systems and processes. You know, an example that I got into my business, and this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I found that when I was doing this, often it wasn’t serving me is that I was communicating with my clients through all different channels. And one of the things that would happen is they would, for example, email me during my in my one of my email boxes, or they would send me a Slack message or they would DM me and Facebook, and it would become so problematic. And finally, we came to a place where we decided this is how we’re going to communicate with our clients in this particular channel in this way between these hours. And outside of that it’s actually not part of the work that we do or the scope that we do. This also happens a lot of times with this interplay and mix of personal life and business life. I’ve had clients, for example, texting me on my phone number, because maybe we chatted with each other at one point, or called each other. And now they’re sending me messages to my personal phone. For me, that is a boundary. It’s a boundary on a couple of levels. One, it’s just that separation of personal and business. But also, as I said earlier, things can just get lost in the shuffle when it’s not organized. And so that was one of those things where I really had to sort of rein it in and basically say, you know, communicating in this way, is really out of scope for my business. This also dovetails into other areas of you know a business and how you work with people and knowing where those boundaries are, what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, and essentially the behavior that you’re creating with your clients. And this goes all the way out to the way you let people treat you talk to you engage with you the dialogue, those soft skills, it’s really important that we set the stage and the boundaries in which we engage with people in order to keep that boundary really tight and kosher. And so understanding how are you interacting with your clients? Where’s the scope of what you do? How do you do that, which is really important. And that’s almost like two different things. I’m going to say that’s 4.1 and 4.2 of my list here, but you get what I’m saying it’s really important that the scope stays tight.

Jessica Miller [14:22]

And then last but not least, what you consume, setting boundaries around the things that you consume. And that really reaches into consumption of things like what are you putting your body, you know, food and exercise and what kind of things are you doing to protect yourself as your most important asset in your business, and the boundaries around your lifestyle and the way that you live in a very physical sense, but it’s also emotional. What kinds of things are you reading every day? What kind of things are you listening to? What kind of advice are you taking from other people? What kind of people’s cars company do you keep all of those things have a very, very profound effect on your business, the boundaries around that very much impact your profitability, they very much affect the amount of money and cashflow that you’re making. And so it’s important that we really look at what are we consuming? How are we consuming it and making sure that we have certain boundaries around what that looks like, I will give you an example of what I mean by this, I started to get into a period of time. And this was true, especially in the pandemic, where I would go and read the headlines read the news, I would be on all the email list about what is going on out there with COVID. And what’s happening in the world, I was on all the news feeds. On one side of me, I think that’s an important piece of being an informed citizen and making good choices. On the other hand, I think that type of information for me needed to be measured, and it needed to have its place in my day for consumption.

Jessica Miller [16:04]

When I was in a place where all I was doing was consuming these sorts of fear mongering headlines and freaking out about every single thing for 50% of my day, I was a basket case, I was a basket case. And it started affecting everything in my business. So am I still informed? Yes. But there was a very specific time in my day on my calendar, where I consume that kind of information. I am very, very deliberate about where I consume it from. And I always ask myself, now that I’ve consumed this information, what am I going to do with it, and I really interact in that way around the consumption that I allow into my space, it has changed my business tenfold, it really has. Because when it comes to setting boundaries, the things that really drives your ability to do this well, are, in my opinion, three things. Number one is clarity around what you want, as I alluded to in the beginning, number two, it’s a plan on how you’re going to implement and maintain those boundaries. So it’s doing it intentionally. And then the third thing are the thoughts that you have about you, your business and the results you are creating, and the impact you’re having with your business that allow you to show up as a person you need to be to maintain the boundaries that you have agreed to in your mind. And set your plan against in order to create that opportunity for the profit potential, the clients that you want the impact and the cash flow.

Jessica Miller [17:38]

As we’ve talked about many times on this podcast, business is an inside game, it is so important that your head is in the game, so that you can then create the emotions and the actions. And finally, the results that you actually want that are in line with the business of your dreams. I think it was James Clear that said this, although I might be misquoting him, but he said something like this, if it’s not an exact quote. But he basically said that every time you choose to lean into the things that you really want and choose the things that you really want and go in that direction, you are casting a vote for your future self. And in the process of doing that you’re casting a vote for the future life that you want, you’re choosing your dreams, all of that starts in your head. Because what you think about the life you want, the business you want things that you’re running things that you’re doing, allows you to take the action of setting those boundaries, and then creating what you want. But what we really need to do is to make sure that our head is in place with those things, otherwise, they won’t happen. Because as business owner, when we blow through our boundaries, what is actually happening is we are doing it with the thought that this choice that we make outside of the boundary is actually going to drive the positive result, we’re going to make more money doing this thing outside of the scope of what it is we usually do, we’re going to, we’re going to get more clients or make this client happy or drive the results by working on a Friday night or taking a call them when we don’t usually do that. But the truth is, it is the opposite.

Jessica Miller [17:38]

And when we have clarity around what we want, when we can see the plan that we’ve put in place that says hey, if we had these boundaries, this is exactly how we’re going to get step by step to where we want to go. So when we can see that plan, and then we can get our brain on board. We are brave enough and courageous enough to choose the thing that feels uncomfortable in that moment when we are deciding whether or not to impact you know, to go with our boundaries or go against them. And usually what’s happening in the moment where we decide to go against them is, frankly, it feels easier because holding the boundary and staying in that place when maybe somebody doesn’t agree with it or we think we’re going to make somebody unhappy Eat or there’s the risk that it may not go the way we want. That discomfort is actually harder than choosing the dream. It’s really like that discomfort of choosing the dream, I should say, is actually harder than breaking the boundary and taking the easier way out. So it’s in that space as entrepreneurs that we really need to stand up for ourselves, and really think about those boundaries and how they affect our profitability and our bottom line. Because the truth is, when we choose them, our business runs smoother, we grow faster, we make more money, we work with better people. And it’s a whole lot more fun. And it actually feels so much better in the long run.

Jessica Miller [17:38]

So just to recap, around these boundaries, here are the places where you can unlock your profit potential, and really see how the boundaries in your business impact your bottom line. These are the areas where I see that those boundaries are getting, like pinch the most. Number one, it’s with your time, where are you spending your time? What are your boundaries around your time, and people kind of breaking through those boundaries around their time and not honoring it to it’s the work that you’re doing within your business in your role. It’s breaking out of those boundaries and doing the things that maybe you shouldn’t be doing that maybe you hired somebody else to do, because you think it’s just going to take five minutes, or you’ve been doing it before. So that’s the role that you have. But really, it’s actually not helping you. Number three is when you’re going outside of your lane. This is true. From a business perspective, what are you known for? And where do you do your best work and staying in that lane? And it’s also true individually as a business owner? What is your lane? What is your area of expertise? Where should you stay and really have the boundaries around, this is what I do, or this is what we do as a business and not going outside of that. The fourth thing is how you interact with your clients, what you let them do, and then within the structure of the work that you do, being very careful about that scope creep. So in other words, this is really the behavioral thing in your business. So how do you let clients interact with you? Where do they do that? What kind of systems and SOPs Do you have around that, within the scope of the work that you do? Are you staying boundaries around that, so you’re not going off the reservation, and really slowing your growth down, slowing your team down and impacting your cash and your profits.

Jessica Miller [17:38]

And then last but not least, it’s boundaries around what you consume, both physically taking care of yourself physically, and having that you know, vitality of life and nourishing that asset, which is you and your body. But it’s also mentally making sure that you’re careful around the consumption of what you intake people that you hang around with things that you read, and listen to the type of advice that you consume. All of that stuff matters. Because business is an inside game. It’s a combination of an inside, outside game inside starting with you and what you care about, and the things that you desire in your dreams. And then the outside piece, which is the structure and the frameworks that allow you to move through your business in a way that supports ultimately the lifestyle that you want. And so it’s marrying those two things, boundaries are the key to making all of that happen. It is counterintuitive, but the more boundaries that you have, the more you constrain around those boundaries. The more you grow, the more you expand, the more you flourish. And really all the freedom and expansion that you want is right on the other side of you holding those boundaries that are clear, they are created in a plan that bring you to your goals. And then they are married with the thought and the identity that can support that plan to get you what you want. So really, you unlock that profit potential by knowing what your boundaries are and keeping those boundaries and understanding how they are affecting you, your team, your business and ultimately, your bottom line. Until next week, everyone I hope you have a beautiful week!