At the very beginning, you may not choose your clients very carefully for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons may be because you are hungry for clients and you don’t have enough yet to make a profit in your business. However, as time goes on and you acquire more and more clients, you may feel different. At that point, you may be able to afford to do what you should have done previously. Fire a client.
Many clients are great; some are not
You will probably find that many of your clients are delightful to be around. They are cooperative, polite, interesting, etc. However, there are also those clients who are difficult to deal with and who fight you every step of the way when you are trying to do everything possible to make their business a raging success! Those are the clients who open your valve and drain all of your life fluids. Well, it probably isn’t that bad; however, they can be extremely difficult to work with and those differences between you make it extremely difficult for you to do your job properly and successfully.
If you have an especially difficult client, sometimes it is best to let him or her go and cut your losses.
It may be perfectly obvious to you that a particular client is not good for you or for your business; however, even though it may be relatively simple for you to identify those clients who are not good for your business, it may be much more difficult for you to figure out a way to separate from that particular client. So, how do you figure out if you should not be doing business with that particular person?
- The client makes unreasonable requests: This particular client may have no respect for the hours that you keep and when it is and is not appropriate to expect you to work on their account. That type of client will not have the proper boundaries in place. Another possibility here is the client who is always late doing everything and thus has the expectation that you will be ready, willing, and able to do whatever that person needs whenever that person needs it (including in the middle of the night, on weekends, etc).
It is important for you to remember here that the client who has outrageous expectations has learned to expect that because someone in the past was willing to meet those expectations. Unfortunately for you and your business, you have two possible options. You can either push back and train that client to have more reasonable expectations or you can sever the relationship.
- The client makes tremendous demands but expects that you won’t charge him or her: When it comes to your relationship with the client, you can expect a certain amount of price negotiations a lot of the time. However, you are in business to make money and nobody should ever expect that you are willing to work for free. That is unreasonable on the part of the client.
On the other hand, it is understandable that the client wants to feel that he or she is getting a good deal so if you can offer some sort of incentive to that person, he or she will walk away feeling satisfied and you will have kept your relationship in order. It really all depends on the demands and how reasonable they are (on the part of the client). If they aren’t reasonable and you see a pattern emerging, it may be time to consider ending the relationship.
- You are constantly running after your money: Having this situation is wrong on so many levels. If you have a client who is constantly late with payments, it can be destructive to your business. Of course, it is also really irritating! It will affect the amount of money that comes into your business and, of course, it will affect your ability to pay your bills for the business. To be fair, if your client is late paying you for your products and/or services, it may not be a case of that person being late intentionally. That person may simply be disorganized. The way to avoid that issue for your business is by ensuring that you have extra money in your business account in the event that you run into that situation. The last thing that you need or want is not to have enough money to stay in business. If that particular client pays late every time, you may wish to consider ending the relationship.
- You aren’t being heard by the client: There are few things in life that are more frustrating than not being heard. That applies to personal as well as professional situations. If you have a client who is either unwilling or unable to listen to what you are saying and to follow the advice that the client pays you for, you have a big issue to resolve. That will certainly cause a great deal of stress for you. In addition to your encountering difficulties in completing the work that you set out to finish, you will also start to resent the work and the client. If you are having a similar experience, you should express how you feel, finish the work that you are doing for that client, and then end the relationship.
When you first start out in business, you may think that only the client can fire you. However, just as it is with all relationships, that relationship is not one-sided. You both have the same rights. Those rights include a relationship that includes respect and value. There is often a delicate balance between the two people in the relationship. One thing that is for sure is that you both need to try to understand each other and if you can both manage that, your relationship should endure. It goes without saying that you are in business to succeed. However, if your client is impossible to deal with and you determine that you are better off not working with that person, you need to be strong enough to end the relationship. If it is not mutually beneficial, there is no point in continuing.