Starting the new year by advising small business owners to consider sacking a client may seem a little counterintuitive and perhaps even crazy.
MYOB recently identified attracting new clients as a key pressure point for SMEs, so surely you should be doing everything you can to keep the clients you already have, right?
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I love each and every one of my clients. However, sometimes business owners need to take a step back and ensure new and existing customers still fit within their business goals, visions, morals and beliefs.
Working with the wrong clients will not enhance your business. Instead, it will suck away time that you should be spending on the customers that do value you and your services.
Understand that sacking a client is not failure. It is a strategic business decision. It is not a personal decision; it is all about having the right business relationship.
Your clients are the future of your business. They represent your brand out in the marketplace and they are the ones generating your income and hopefully forming part of your sales funnel for new clients. Why would you want clients in that funnel who don’t believe in you or your business?
We all have our own set of beliefs, morals, values and visions. Like attracts like and having clients who are on the same page as you means you will be more likely to attract new clients who already have the same mentality.
Having the wrong clients with your business can potentially poison your brand, reputation and following.
The wrong clients also tend to take up the most of your time. While firing a client might mean a reduction in sales in the short-term, it will also free up your time to focus on finding and building relationships with your ideal clients.
That is by far a bigger win in my book.
Four top tips for firing clients:
– If you choose to tell a client they no longer fit with your company, do this in writing
– Give plenty of notice as to when the services will end
– Explain the situation and explain why they would be better off without you. You’re not telling them your services aren’t great. Rather, they aren’t at a point in their business where they are gaining true value from your services
– Refer them to someone else who can help them, so they aren’t left high and dry. By guiding them to someone who is the right fit, there are no hard feelings, the process is not stressful or messy and there is always potential for them to return when they are at the right stage in their business.
Stacey Price is the founder of small business financial advisory firm Healthy Business Finances.