Take a Quick Quiz
Do you love working with most of your clients, but have a few who cause undue stress? If so, you’re not alone. We often hear from business owners who love what they do, but struggle with one or two difficult clients. Sometimes, they’re slow to pay or difficult to work with – they demand more time and cause more emotional turmoil than they are worth. Others routinely fail to get needed work in when promised, forcing the business owner to put other work aside and rush to complete projects by the due date.
If you have even a few clients like this, it may be worth taking time out to step back and think about what is happening. You may need to “fire” some and make room for new and better clients you’ll enjoy.
To pinpoint areas where you could improve your odds of enjoying healthy, happy and less-stressful client relationships, take the Quick Quiz below.
1.Have you defined the types of people or companies you do and don’t want to work with?
2.Do you have a written ideal client profile?
3. Are you crystal clear about what clients may expect from your company and what you expect from them?
4.Do you have appropriate client agreements*, contracts or letters of understanding?
5. Are these clear, well-written and easy to understand?
6. Are your terms plainly printed on invoices, statements, proposals, etc.?
7. Are your invoices clear and easy to understand with a consistent format?
8. If you offer early payment incentives, is this information clearly stated on invoices?
If you answered no to any of the questions above, make plans now to shore up these areas.
If you have clients who demand a lot of time but generate little profit, ask yourself if in the past you’ve given in to unreasonable requests that might have encouraged them to think that you’re comfortable with these demands. Having and clearly stating boundaries around time and money form a solid foundation for healthy business relationships.
As a new business owner, it can be tempting to take on clients you know you probably shouldn’t accept. If you offer a first-class service or product, be selective about the clients you work with and lay a solid foundation for great client relationships. They will respect you for it and you will enjoy working with all of them.
*Before asking clients to sign your agreement, it’s wise to go over important points with them, answer any questions they might have and get their verbal agreement since some people may not carefully read through a document they sign.