Sometimes the hardest things to do are the best decisions for our business (and our sanity) in the long run. One of the toughest things is firing a bad client because saying no to business seems counter-intuitive when you are trying to build a business.
Perhaps it’s some twisted loyalty to a longtime supporter, or maybe it’s the fear that you won’t be able to replace the bad client that’s holding you back. Whatever it is, if you want your business to grow, you need to get picky about which clients you work with and that means firing the bad ones.
What Makes a Bad Client So Bad?
There’s not a definitive checklist for determining which clients are bad clients. A bad client for you may be a dream client for someone else. The best way to decide if a client is a bad client is if that client doesn’t fit with your business (and lifestyle) goals.
For example, a bad client may be one who constantly needs last-minute projects done over the weekend when you consider that time to be sacred family-only time. That same client may be a dream client for a part-time entrepreneur who only wants to work on the weekends when a spouse is available to take over parenting duties.
The best way to know if a client is a bad client is by the signs and symptoms. If working with that client is stressful, requires additional time spent to ‘manage’ them, or if they are always asking you to bend your rules for them, chances are you have a bad client who needs to be let go.
Why Firing a Bad Client is the Best Decision
#1: Mental Drain – Call Display is an excellent tool for determining if you are working with a bad client. If seeing a call from that client fills you with dread and you need to contemplate whether or not to answer, that client is going to be a mental drain.
#2: Low Profitability – Bad clients tend to take up more customer service time and demand special treatment (aka lower pricing). That means that on top of everything else, bad clients are far less profitable.
#3: Barrier to Opportunity – How are you going to pursue working with your dream clients if you are constantly fighting fires ignited by your bad clients? Imagine if you reinvested that time in exploring new opportunities.
#4: Negative Loop – Working with bad clients starts a negative referral loop. Because you dread working with them, you tend to put their project to the bottom of the pile and skip the extra touches. That costs you in the form of lost referrals from a client who is satisfied, but not delighted with your service.
#5: Boundary Pushing – Let’s face it – it’s the bad clients who really make our lives as entrepreneurs just plain suck. Why? Because they have absolutely no respect for our boundaries and push the limits of our patience every chance they get!
If any of your clients fit the above description, it’s time to trust your gut instincts and let them go. Sometimes you can get tough with your boundaries and strictly enforce the rules to solve the problem, but if after trying that approach, the bad client still chooses to misbehave, it’s time to move on.