by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

When A Business Relationship Goes Bad

I discussed how business relationships can be mutually beneficial – but in Chapter 2, Parker also discusses how to handling business disasters. Inevitably sooner or later an issue will arise.

According to Parker, when a disaster happens, the most important thing for both vendors (service providers) should be dealing with it professionally in front of the client to present a unified front.

You choose to team up and to recommend each other’s work – blaming your partner cheapens your own word. Instead, Parker says to discuss the issue privately, come up with a solution you can both agree on, then apologize to the client and work together to make everything right.

To me, this seems a bit idealistic. Chances are, if something is wrong or if the quality of the work isn’t up to par the person who provided that portion of the project is unlikely to just accept that their work is bad. In my mind, while Parker’s method should be tried first, this is part of the reason I believe in having a written contract between partners, even a less than legally binding one or in bidding on jobs separately.

In a written contract both parties can agree on a way to deal with any negative situation that arises – a method for conflict resolution – whether it’s seeking out a third party to mediate or agreeing to a kill fee. Bidding separately on the other hand, is both better and worse. In a case where you’ve recommended that person to a client and they hand in less than quality work, your word is cheapened (and you may not hear about it, unless the client chooses to tell you). However, you do not have to be part of resolving the issue and except for not taking your recommendation again, it should leave your personal reputation intact.

So far, I have only had to offer one recommendation – the author I am working with wanted me to do PR work and as an editor who has been on the receiving end quite a few times I truly dislike making phone calls and harassing press. So I gave him the name of a PR person I knew and told him I’d be happy to work with her – that I had worked with her before and felt that she would be able to do a good job on this project. Then I let her know he’d be in touch and let him contact her for an estimate.

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February 16, 2010 - Posted by | in practice | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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