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The Importance Of Options

January 21, 2020

signpost with two arrows options management alternative path promotion track grateful employee wiping his browblank vertical space, 16 pixels highI was cited in a post about how to Reduce Employee Turnover at Your Small Business, published last year by My Corporation.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

My tip was to offer alternative promotion tracks, and ran as follows:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“Sometimes employees mistakenly believe that to advance,
they need to go into management. Not everyone is suited to
be a manager — so be sure to offer alternative promotion tracks.”

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highSo am I a human resources consultant on the side? Hardly.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

But I did work for a couple of insurance companies before I decided to freelance full-time as an illustrator. I’ve seen a certain sad scenario play out more than once. It goes like this:

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highThere’s an analyst or programmer who can solve all sorts of technical problems. Their reward: they get promoted to management. They become supervisors. They have to manage people. And they hate it. They’re miserable, and so’s their team. They’d rather be solving technical problems.

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highA smart company avoids the above scenario by providing another option: an alternative promotional track; in the above case, it would probably equate to an enhanced job title at a higher pay grade.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

It’s a win-win: the employee’s happy and feels respected, and the company’s boosted the odds of retaining the employee.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Giving people options works to advantage. Instead of “take it or leave it” (a win-lose), you give people some wiggle room.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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That’s why, when someone asks me for a quote, I try to come up with at least three options. On my FAQ Page, I put it this way:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Depending on the job, I often use an approach called “three-tier pricing.” I say: we could do this, or this, or that, and supply three different prices. Sometimes I offer more options
if the job is open-ended. Everyone’s more comfortable when they have options.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

signpost with two arrows options one price fee options grateful client wiping his brow

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highSo the “provide options” tip for retaining employees is also good advice for freelancers who want to acquire and retain good clients.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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What were some of the other tips for reducing turnover and retaining employees at a small business?blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Hire the right people to begin with; mentor employees; show appreciation; build a company culture they’ll want to be part of; check in regularly to see if they’re struggling with something; give feedback; provide training to boost engagement.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

As I read thru the list, a light bulb popped on over my head: those were all tips I could use as a freelancer, even tho I’m a one-person shop.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

That’s because they apply equally well to attracting and retaining clients (as opposed to employees).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

To that end, I’d rephrase them as follows:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

1. Hire the right clients to begin with ➡️ say no to clients and jobs     that aren’t right for youblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

2. “Mentor” clients ➡️ educate them: explain your process, how     you work, what’s expectedblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

3. Show appreciation ➡️ thank them for their business, promote     their posts, send them news they can useblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

4. Have an attractive “freelancer culture” ➡️ be a true collaborator,     invest in your clients’ successblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

5. Be alert for any possible misunderstandings ➡️ once lost, it’s     hard to regain client trustblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

6. Provide feedback ➡️ always keep clients informed about your     progressblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

7. Provide “training” ➡️ show your clients what’s possible by     contributing ideas

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Charles McNair Pulitzer Prize nominated author Land O' Goshen storyteller creative communicator

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