Tuesday, June 14, 2005

'Reading, 'Riting, Pt. 2

In the first part we talked about why it's important to read a healthy variety of business publications, and some my personal favorites. By the way, what are your favorites?

I'm serious. Write in and tell me, but let's limit it to print magazines or blogs only so we don't get too much of a good thing. Anyway, in part 2 I want to talk about the writing you'll need to do (or pay someone to do) for your practice. Now, I know you'd rather be writing well-crafted mediation agreements, but for now let's hit the basics. You'll need to write three types of documents:

  • Ones that describe you & your business -Identity Materials

  • Ones that build your brand and sales- Marketing Materials

  • Ones that help your business operate- Operational Materials.

Which docs are the most fun to write? Of course, the marketing and identity stuff. It's juicy and creative. However, the operational documents are the backbone of a successful mediation practice.

Operational materials consist of the policies, forms, reports, contract boilerplate, record-keeping ,notices, etc. These are the documents that a business requires to run profitably at a lower level of risk with higher client satisfaction and sales. You'll be more organized and better prepared for life's ups and downs if you take the time to compose them at the start of your practice.

You'll need documents like:

  • A client intake sheet

  • A client completed form checklist

  • Process Explanation Forms

  • Fee Documents

  • Agreement to Mediate Forms

  • Confidentiality Statement

You get the idea. Over time you'll grow your own list and language which will change as your practice matures and you get tips from other practitioners. This list is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. Why not write in and suggest your very own 'must have documents'? That way, we'll all benefit.

In a hurry to start? Visit another great place (beside Mediation Mensch) where you can 'learn, build, grow'- Golden Media.

Natalie Armstrong, an ADR practitioner and marketer for over 10 years, founded Golden Media, a marketing firm devoted to ADR practices. Besides lots of informative articles and teleseminars, Golden features operational documents such as Cash Flow Worksheets as part of its membership package. I met Natalie a few years ago at an Association of Conflict Resolvers New England Chapter meeting- what a dynamo she is. Hopefully, Natalie will join the ranks of Trailblazers soon.

See what happens when I start talking? There are so many things to talk about-- I can't stop. Oy!

Ciao, Dina


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