There’s nothing more thrilling than landing a new client. Getting their business is the culmination of all of your efforts over the course of a few months (and in many cases years). That being said, if you have been in business for some time then you know that all clients are not made equal. Some are fabulous and you just want to clone them. Yet others require a prayer and a bottle of wine to tolerate.
When I went into business a few years ago, I spent a lot of time envisioning heavenly days working with near-perfect clients. I never thought about what I would need to do if I encountered a client who wasn’t the right fit for my business. The latter scenario is something every business owner should anticipate and spend time thinking about.
It’s not all about the money…
It can be very easy to get caught up with lining your bank account when it is tied to deciding whether or not to retain your clients or leave them. Before you decide either way, here are some client considerations:
1. Is there synergy between your business and the client’s business?
It’s not enough to know you can execute the work. You could be working with this company for months and sometimes years. Like any healthy relationship there ought to be chemistry or something more than money that makes the collaboration worth it.
2. Are your clients clear on the scope of their needs?
Yes, it is your job to assist them with what they don’t know. However, time is a precious commodity in business and the last thing you can afford to do is to waste time trying to get clear on their expectations and goals. Goals can evolve over time, but constant revisions to the intended scope is a waste of time, efforts and energy for the business owner.
3. Do you constantly need to have the dreaded talk about payments with your client?
Assuming that you and your client have reached an agreement on terms of payment in the beginning, you should not have to constantly defend the worth of your services. If you continuously have to deal with being questioned about your rate and any justifications of work to that effect, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship
4. How about the know-it-all clients? Are you able to execute your duties as agreed upon?
Have you noticed that despite your client’s cries for help, they seem to have all the answers? If they are going to hire you, they will have to trust you to provide the services you are contracted for. If you reach a point where you are never right and they always know better than you, it may be time to move on.
5. Are you going insane?
I have heard stories from friends about losing sleep, calls at odd hours during the night, heart palpitations, vomiting etc. while working with certain clients. If you are going through any of the above it may be time to call it quits.
Working with a variety of clients has been one of my greatest joys and lessons in business. You don’t need a client to be perfect for the partnership to work. In fact, it is the imperfection that makes my work necessary as an owner of a consulting firm. Making sure that you have a potential exit strategy and expectations are clearly communicated in the beginning can save you a lot of angst.
Don’t be afraid to let go of a client. It took me sometime to understand that this is okay. The key is to always end on a respectful note. While this client partnership may not be ideal; you never know where your next referral may come from.
There is a right kind of client for us all. Sometimes, you have to have a clear vision with the clients you want to work with and actively pursue that demographic. Otherwise, you end up with money in your pocket, stress and feelings of drudgery because you are working with a company that is not in alignment with how you do business.
The choice is yours.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]