Why Small Business Owners Should Avoid the Trap of A Single Demanding Client
In a great blog post on the subject, Dave Schneider related the case of a business idea he had that went afoul because of the picky nature of his major client. Within this anecdote, there is a real lesson to be learned for small business owners, and that lesson is that, no matter how much they can potentially stand to gain from a client, if they are running their business into the ground trying to please them, then they should step back and compare the value the client has brought them to the negative value of their difficult nature.
Are you constantly going over your budget or time-frame in order to please your client? The profit that your client brings you is not actually profit if it is constantly being eaten into by extra hours and resources. There is a big difference between being nice to a major client by throwing in something extra from time to time in order to keep them satisfied and putting in extra work on every single project they give you because they are never satisfied.
Are they stopping you from working with other clients because of their demands? If the growth of your business is being stymied by the time it takes you to satisfy your one picky customer, you should think to yourself if it makes rational sense for you to continue bending over backwards. If in the time it takes you to work for them you could satisfy two or three other clients, then the money side of the argument for sticking with them may not hold water either.
Lastly, are they constantly asking you to change your product or processes to better suit them? If the product that you are offering is not lining up with the expectations and demands of your client and they are requesting that you modify it, then you should probably not be working with them, since what you offer and what they want are two different things. Simply because there is money to be made, that does not mean that the relationship has the potential to be profitable in the long term.
Photo Credit to Crosa on Flickr