Re: Contracting: Developing and maintaining business relationships

Subject: Re: Contracting: Developing and maintaining business relationships
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:05:23 -0800

Kathleen Padova wrote:

> I notice that I am much more confident and take more risks in my
> full-time job; and more cautious taking a hard stance with clients when
> insisting on meeting project deadlines, status reports, etc. This will
> not lead to a successful career as a contractor.

Indeed it won't. What you're fundamentally doing is looking at the output of
your work more as a craft or the result of a problem-solving session rather
than as part of a business transaction. When you go into a contracting
situation, you take as a given that you do good work and that the client is
going to get value for his/her money. In a captive situation, you have to also
maintain the 'fit' of the department in which you're working and any company
politics related to that. You sound as if you've found the rules for a 'fit'
in your regular job and ways to take risks without causing political problems.
But the business side of contracting requires that you hold the client to an
agreement, or negotiate new terms, in addition to delivering value for
payment. Sometimes that can be touchy.

> Have you found that taking a general business or management class helped
> you develop and maintain business relationships? Somehow I avoided ever
> stepping foot in the business school in college and I know I will need
> more business know-how if I ever want to run my own.

One of the better teachers I ever had in the business of contracting was
another technical writer who never finished college and never took a business
course. But he wrote near-foolproof contracts and let me use one of them as a
template. I wound up making LOTS of modifications - we all do - but as he
pointed out, the whole purpose of doing this stuff was to get paid. And as
Tina Turner says, we can do this nicely, or we can do this the hard way.

I got an MBA under difficult circumstances (I was a single mother of two,
living in expen$ive Palo Alto, holding down a full-time job and simultaneously
carrying a full-time graduate load). I didn't appreciate it at the time but
the best biz school course I took had to do with behavioral issues, where I
learned to recognize and appreciate process people vs. product people and how
their values and modes of working differ. I learned to approach them
differently, based on their values. I still wrote a defensible contract, but
how it was presented and how I interacted with the resource people was what got
influenced by that course.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems


From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=



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