When you fail to Write Down Critical Information, it could cost you a lot of time and money, besides causing frustration for everyone involved. By Gary Shotton #000056
Hello, I’m Gary Shotton, and today we’re going to talk about a subject that seems kind of simple. But, I’m going to go into depth in a new way that I think you would appreciate and the subject is “write it down”. Like, write it down. I’m going to give you some examples of mistakes I made by not writing it down, and why it could cost you money if you don’t write some things down. I want to just encourage you to change habits. This is just one of those habits. It’s not something I consciously think about, I’m not accusing everybody of being dishonest. It’s just a habit, I write stuff down. I’ve many times used the slogan, or a little the people laughed when I said, “You know I’m an honest guy, I’ll do what I said, but I just can’t remember what I said.” and a year later six months later and variably somebody will say, “Hey, you said you would do this.” Well the context has changed. The situation has changed. I can’t remember what I said. I’m in trouble. I got a friend that used to be a friend, not so friendly anymore. So, I’m just encouraging you to create a habit of writing it down. Now, let me give you some examples. Way back in the early 80s, I started my first ownership of a business. It was a moving and storage company, and at first we just went out and moved people. You need to move a washer dryer to a new house, we would drive up, say it’s fifty dollars, finish the job they pay us fifty dollars, we’re done. Everybody’s happy, but as we grew as a company people started seeing that they could take advantage of us. So we didn’t become a lawyer, we didn’t try to be a lawyer. We just wrote, and I looked at some other contracts, but I wrote it myself in a way that made a lot of sense. I wrote ourselves a contract and in that contract, I wasn’t trying to trick anyone. I wrote it down in a contract, just a part of a page, and I said that we as the owner, as a company, had the right to collect payment prior to completion of the job. Well normally, you’d complete the job, you do the tally, you’d figure up the bill and then you would ask somebody to pay you the eight hundred and fifty four dollars, but at that point, you’re at a disadvantage. They’ve got all of your furniture, and you’re standing there somewhat at their mercy that they would actually honor what you had agreed to. On several occasions, not very often, we would have something happen and the person, the customer we’re moving, obviously became a little concerned or maybe upset. They would start making casual comments about how they were dissatisfied, and that they may not pay us in full. They’ll just take it off the bill. Well, I trained our lead people to say, hey, if that ever happens you got to call me, you got to talk to me, and I would come out and exercise the right to collect payment, full payment prior to completion of the job. Now, the customer may not be happy at that moment, but I needed my money. So, I would stop the job, but I would say sir or ma’am, we need to go ahead and collect the $855 as agreed. They said, “Well, you’re not done, finished.” I said “No, but you said some things that indicate that you may not pay us. So, I need to exercise my option because we wrote it down, and you signed it that I’m going to collect full payment prior to completion of the job.” There would be a little scuffle here, a little you know verbal scuffle scuffle. They may threaten to call their attorney. They may call their attorney, but we’ll just wait, because I wrote it down. Then we’d finish the job. I have the money, in cash, in my hands. Now, we’re even. We can negotiate some of the things that need to be settled if there’s a misunderstanding. We did not take people at disadvantage of that, but I needed my money. Let’s give it another example. It was back when I had commissioned sales people. You know, commissioned sales people are great people. They need to be like the thoroughbred horse racing breed that goes out there, just diving into it, going for it. In general, I’m not being derogatory, but in general, they’re not typically good at writing down things in general. So, I made a habit of doing a one-page agreement, and we would sign at the bottom of the agreement. Just the general parameters about how we’re doing business, how they’re getting paid, when they would get paid, what the commission would be. Well, if we had a sliding scale on a commission, I mean all kinds of details, but very short. And then, I made a habit of just stating at the bottom, saying you know in my own words, I would say something to the fact that there’s a lot of unknowns that could pop up in the process of doing business, but I am agreeing to the intent of the document. We just signed, maybe not every single detail, and we would sign it. We would discuss it. They would keep a copy. By the way, if you do sign something or you have somebody else sign it, you need to keep a copy. Why would you sign something without keeping a copy of it? Just say it’s my habit to have a copy of everything I sign. That’s a habit. It’s something written down, and you’ll find that that will eliminate a lot of problems at the end. You know while I’m in the middle of this, I’m going to encourage you to consider sharing this video and other videos on our website. You know, we’re doing this free to you. Anyone that’s doing this as a speaker has not been paid. I cover the overhead. I’m not complaining. The only thing I could ask you to do in return is use this material and share it. If you would do that, I’d appreciate it. Now another example, partnerships. I happen to have the luxury and beauty of teaching on how to write a business plan at a local library. We had a standing seminar once a month for ten years. That’s 120 plus times we did that because we did it every month. We did a few more times, probably 150 times I did a seminar with another friend on how to write a business plan, and many times in the middle of the seminar we would see a couple people come in. Maybe two ladies or two men in, and it was pretty obvious by the way they’re talking, they’re probably going into business as partners, and I made a point to talk about partnership. It’s another whole video about that. Just the risk of partnerships, but one of the things I said is “If you’re going into business with someone that’s a friend, I suggest you write down maybe twice what you would write down if they weren’t relatives or friends.” Oh, what do you mean? Don’t you trust? We’re buddies. We played sports together. We’ve been buddies for years. That’s the point. You better write it down so that you have a clear understanding of who’s responsible for what, what the other person is responsible for, who’s going to pay for what. What are you going to do if it doesn’t go well? Who’s not going to get paid? I mean there’s a ton of things. Think ahead. Partnerships could work out, but many of them don’t many times, because people have not written down simple things. One page can normally get it done. I’m not talking about an attorney reviewing it. I’m not talking about 18-page document. Simple, write it down. Last one. Many times we’re talking on the phone in this business, and we come to an agreement with someone verbally on a condition of something they want done, and we say “Yeah that’ll be great,” and you know what I normally as a habit say at the end of that discussion? I say something to the fact say “Would you mind if I follow up with an email to summarize what we’ve just discussed?” They say “Oh no, that’s fine!” Oh you see what I’m doing. I’m not tricking them. I’m clarifying that. A lot of verbal discussion doesn’t mean much later on. If I follow it up and say “Hey ,today we talked about this subject, and in general, we covered these parameters.” and at the little closing statement, you would say “Hey, if you saw it differently, would you please let me know it immediately? Because we want to remain friends. Not only a supplier to you or a customer to you, we want to remain friends, so we write it down.” So, I hope you understand that. We’re not accusing people of being dishonest. We’re just trying to do good business, and again, if you would share this I’d appreciate it. This is our marketing plan, and the total theme that we’re working on is Inspiring Better Business. We want you to do better business, profitable business, and thank you for being a part of this.
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