055: Use Boundaries to Unlock Max Scalability

August 04, 2023

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August 4, 2023
Read time: 3:10 minutes  

In this week's edition, I'm going to show you how to set better boundaries with clients.

Your ability to scale your firm lives or dies by your ability to set and maintain boundaries. And the most important boundaries are around communication. 

When healthy boundaries exist, you're able to create value for your clients and your firm. But when those boundaries are cast aside, it all falls apart. 

❌ Your work hours expand.
❌ Some clients get neglected.
❌ A new, expanded expectation is set.
❌ Frustration and resentment are close behind. 
❌ Your goals of scaling are immediately thwarted.

Unfortunately, most new firm owners don't know how to establish boundaries with clients. This means scalability is limited almost immediately out of the gate.

We know we need boundaries - but no one talks about how to do it!

I've goofed up boundaries more than once in my 7+ years of running a firm. It seems like communication boundaries are always the easiest to let slip - and they cause big problems.

Through those goof-ups, I've learned there are 4 key elements to setting boundaries. 

If you nail these, you'll avoid resentment and burnout and unlock scalability.

Element 1: Set The Stage Before The Sales Call

Your BEST client just teed up a killer referral for you. 

From the sound of things, this is potentially an ideal client.

Your client introduces you to the referral via email at 7:30 pm. 

Shiny new revenue awaits! 

If you're anything like me, your inclination is to immediately respond. We want to get that sales call scheduled ASAP. 

But that 7:31 pm response has planted a seed. The response signals to the potential new client that we are available after hours. And this is a dangerous precedent that can be hard to overcome. 

Wait until business hours the next day to respond. 

The referral isn't going anywhere that fast.
And it low-key signals that you're a professional that operates during working hours.

Element 2: Be REALLY Clear On The Sales Call

OK. We've done a great job of NOT blowing away our boundaries before the sales call. 

Now we've got to come out guns blazing and be super overt.

During the sales call, I explain exactly how and when they can communicate with their CFO.

✅ Via Slack
✅ During the monthly CFO call
✅ During bi-weekly check-in calls
✅ Emergency calls can be booked via Calendly

I also let them know that we will respond to (but not resolve) all communications within 1 business day.

Setting communications expectations right on the sales call removes 80% of future frustration. 

Work this into your sales call process.

Element 3: Reinforce During Onboarding

Take that same language from your sales call and work it into your onboarding process.

I like to do this in 2 ways: 

• Restate it via one of your first emails
• Restate it during the onboarding call itself.

It will feel redundant.
It isn't. 

Clients need to be reminded of what's ok and what isn't. 

Element 4: It's All About S.A.M.E.

A wise project manager once told me that boundaries hinge on S.A.M.E.


Setting expectations around comms starts as soon as a new lead comes into your ecosystem. It continues through the sales and onboarding process.

Then, it's up to you to manage those expectations as the relationship continues. 

Resist the temptation to answer emails after hours.
Resist the temptation to respond to text messages on weekends.

And if the client continues pushing those boundaries, it's completely ok (and necessary!) to reset those boundaries.

Don't avoid this discussion. 

Future you is counting on you!

Your coach,

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of nearly 150 fractional CFOs.

2. The CFO Academy - This is a 7 week deep dive into the exact playbooks that I use to run my firm, KFE Solutions.

3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out: 
→ The CFO Report on YouTube (if you love video)
→ The CFO Report on Apple Podcast (if you prefer audio)

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