“What? Are you mad?” I hear you say. “Why on earth would I get rid of someone providing my business with income?” While it may seem counter-intuitive, the truth is not all clients are created equal. Luckily, there are some quick assessments you can do to determine whether they’re worth their salt.
Test #1 – Moths in their wallet
Even if the business is a start-up or an established business, check if there are moths in their wallet caused by inconsistent cash flow. While it is hard for many businesses to manage their cash flow in the beginning, how much risk are they expecting you to take on, i.e. waiting for them to pay?
Do they consistently ask you for discount or extensions on payment? Do they default on payment entirely, or you have to chase them for outstanding bills? While it’s more cost-effective to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones, determine the man hours and effort involved in getting them to pay you versus the income that they generate. What is the knock-on effect of their poor cash flow on yours?
Test #2 – They’re jealous, demanding bullies
If your client has unreasonable expectations, causes your team to be unduly stressed out, or demands undivided attention, this could be affecting the rest of your business. Is the time they’re taking up meaning less time spent on nurturing other existing clients or generating new ones?
Are their demands making your employees unhappy and demotivated – and pushing them towards leaving your company to avoid them? We’re not saying ditch all clients who aren’t sweetness and light – you’ll go out of business tomorrow – but weigh up the unseen cost the client is causing to your company by keeping them on.
Test #3 – They mine your success and point fingers
Some clients don’t seem to notice that a client/business relationship is a relationship that deserves respect from both parties. The attitude of “I give you money, so you must grovel at my feet,” is a recipe for misery and resentment.
When something goes well are they quick to snap it up as their own achievement, but when things go wrong – as they do from time to time – they’re quick to play the blame game and it lands squarely on you and your team? This can be very demoralising to your staff who may ask to be removed from the account, or may leave the job altogether.
While firing a client may hit the business in the short term, the long-term health of your business is at stake. What are the emotional and financial costs to your team? You may be surprised by the boost in productivity and morale in your own business when you giving bad clients the boot.