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What’s Your ROR?


You’ve heard of ROI – return on your investment. It’s where you figure out if the amount of money you invest comes back to you at a greater return, whether that is a profit or cost savings. Technically your ROI could be negative, which means you lost money.

You may have heard of ROTI – return on your time invested. You look at where you are investing your time and determining whether or not it produces a return.

I have a new one to share: ROR – Return on Relationships.

This week I was thinking about a conversation I had with a client last month. She was lamenting all the time she spent working on an unpaid design project for someone.

This was not the first time she had agreed to do this type of project. And, while she thought the exposure would be good, it had not panned out exactly as she thought.

Yet she continued to say yes whenever this particular company came calling. Not only that, she was starting to feel stressed by the amount of work she was unable to get done, work that would actually bring money in the door.

The problem was that she did not want to “upset the apple cart” by telling this company no or discussing how the arrangement could be altered.

I am sure you can figure out her ROR was zero. Maybe it even dipped into the negative.

Yes, sometimes you take on projects because of the potential in the future. And, I know I have done that on a few occasions.

I remember the design project I took on for a local toy store. I was very proud of the jungle I created from fabric that would hang from the ceiling when people walked in the toy store. I didn’t get the job. I did, however, make a good connection with the interior designer. We built a relationship and she went on to who refer a couple of clients to me.

Today I offer a free “get-acquainted” call for potential coaching clients. They always leave with some actionable information. Some decided to work with me. Some decide it’s not the right time. Some even refer me to other potential clients. That’s a cost of doing business. and I look at that with a definite ROR.

At some point, though, you have to look at your business and ask whether or not is really the right approach. Your goal should be to create a win-win proposition, a cooperative environment that focuses on mutual benefits for all the parties. A real relationship, not a transaction. When that happens, everyone feels good. When it doesn’t …

How to improve your ROR

As you get opportunities, step back and consider if you will have an ROR. Be clear about the potential for your business should it pan out. Be just as clear about what it will cost you in time and money if the relationship doesn’t lead anywhere.

Take time to outline your expectations and then have a conversation about the opportunity. If you are clear about what what you can provide and what you expect in return, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Your goal is for both parties to “win.” If you go into any relationship with clear expectations, then that’s more likely to happen.

It’s your turn!

Do you have examples in your business or life with low or no ROR? What did you do to change that?


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One Response to “What’s Your ROR?”

  1. Laura Estes said:

    Teaching classes in quilt shops were problematic. Some paid a set price no matter the number of students, others paid a price per student, others canceled at last minute if too few signed up. 10 or 12 years ago, I set some prices and rules, cancellation policies, class size, travel expenses. Result: teaching less classes in shops, but increase in income from teaching classes. The contract conditions made sure the shop was committed to promoting and filling classes.

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